A story is told of a father and son driving down a lonely road as a blinding snow storm begins to fall. Unable to see, the father pulls to the side of the road. There he sees off in the distance the lights of a farmhouse. The warm feeling of seeing the beacon of hope in the distance is overcome by the realization of the task to be accomplished, so he turns to his son and says, “there’s no use going on and we need to cross the field to the house lying just beyond the field and I’m afraid the snows getting deep and I can’t carry you…” The man’s young son takes his fathers hand and proclaims with a smile, “It will be okay daddy, if I can just walk in your footsteps, I’ll find my way.”
Step by step they make their way to the farmhouse finding help, and warmth within. As his son drank hot chocolate at the table of a stranger a prayer sprang from the heart of the father to his Heavenly Father. “Father I know many trials are still to come my son’s way and I pray that you will help me walk in your footsteps so he can find his way and never lose sight of the hope that is found only in you.
Of course, when we think of the Son in Christian circles, we think of the Son of God. Our minds take us to John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” But what does it mean to be the only Son of God? What, in their relationship, should we also find in our earthly one’s between a father and son?
We read in Scripture of a Son’s obedience and a Father’s love, the Son living in submission, the Father sharing His authority. Their example helps us to understand what the true love between a father and a son really means.
On earth, Jesus represented His Father in every way. From 1 John 5:20, “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” And from Hebrews 1:1-4, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”
When Jesus walked among us, He walked in the footsteps of His Father. He was born for a purpose and that purpose was to make true the promises of His Father made long before. At His Father’s bidding, He would come to be the long awaited Messiah. In love for His Father and for His Father’s creation, He would offer Himself up as the perfect sacrifice for sin.
Though 100% God, Jesus acquiesced to His Father, carrying on the work that His Father had been doing since the beginning of time. Even while proclaiming, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), He knew that Hi.s purpose was to serve at the behest of His Abba as a servant to those who would claim membership in His family.
Isaiah foretold of his coming hundreds of years before His birth saying, “For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). God’s only Son given to pay the ultimate price so that all believers might be called sons and daughters of the Most High.
Still today, the Son follows in His Father’s footsteps yet the Father is not superior to the Son because the one always represents the other in perfect unity. With the Holy Spirit they work in perfect Trinity, still serving their creation, still preparing for them a home.
What does it mean to be the only Son of God? It means to be 100% man but also 100% God as advocate for man with all the power of God. It means to represent the Father in such a way that there is no separation in thought, word or deed. To be the only Son of the Creator means to share in all things, to have power over all things and to be present in all things. To be the Son of God is to sit at the Father’s right hand. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Your only Son to be our Savior. Help us to give Him glory in all things and forgive us when we have claimed our own. Lead us to avenues of understanding for His namesake. Amen.