“When Jesus had finished saying these things, he looked upward to heaven and said, ‘Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that your Son may glorify you’” (John 17:1, NET).
One of the first words from a baby’s mouth is “Daddy.” And, in a caring family, even before words, infants understand themselves as belonging and being loved as “Daddy’s little girl” or “my son.” At Christmas, we remember many titles of Jesus: Immanuel, Messiah, Son of David, Son of Mary, even Son of Joseph.
Yet of all the names of Jesus, none takes us into a deeper under- standing of Him than “Son of God,” or more plainly the “Son” who is together with the “Father.” The Gospel of John introduces Jesus Christ as “the Word,” who is eternal God. But, Jesus never speaks of Himself as “the Word.” Rather, some 35 times in John alone He speaks of Himself as the “Son,” often in direct communion with His Father. The Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father. The Father glorifies the Son and the Son glorifies the Father. And, Jesus sends us forth to baptize “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19)—the expression that shapes the primary Christian creeds in the centuries that follow.
The simplicity of God as “Father” and “Son” can conceal the astonishing depth of their relationship. Other divine names speak of God in relation to creation. But, knowing God as “Father” and “Son” brings us into the fellowship of the Holy Trinity itself. These most elementary, universal divine names serve as the bridge that allows us access into the innermost reality of God. Without God’s revelation as “Father” and “Son,” we would have no Trinity. Without the gracious invitation of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we would have no Christmas—no invitation to become, by faith, children of the living God.