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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Gospels

Chapter 82 - John 17:26 - The Declaration of the Father's Name Light & Truth: The Gospels by Bonar, Horatius




The Declaration Of The Father's Name.


"And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou host loved me may be in them, and I in them."

-John 17: 26.



     Here is (1.), the name; (2.) the Declarer of it; (3.) the end or object of this declaration.

     I. The name. It is the Father's name; the name of Godhead. The name of a thing expresses its qualities and characteristics. The name of a person of old did the same. So the name of God is that which reveals the mind, and heart, and character of God. The name of God is manifold, bringing out various aspects of Godhead. This name may be read on the works of God; this world He created; sun, moon, and stars. But the word contains the name more fully: "Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." But there are portions of the word in which the name is summed up, as in Exodus 34:6: "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious." And this especially was that which the Son of God came to declare. That name of grace shone out legibly and brightly in Him. He came in the Father's name, to reveal that name; to embody it in His person, so that every one who saw or heard Him, might see and hear the name. "God is love"; "God rich in mercy"; "God loved the world,"-these are fragments, or letters, or syllables of the great name.

     II. The Declarer of it. Man had often tried to utter the name of God, but had failed. He could not comprehend it, and he could not utter it, nor make it known. There was but stammering and distortion. Only He could utter it who came from the Father, and who knew Him, as only the Son could do. He came to earth as the revealer of the Father, and the Father's name. He knew that name well; and when He said, "Abba, Father," and "righteous Father," and "holy Father," and "our Father," He spoke as one who knew it; as one who was seeking to make others know it, and so to be partakers of His confidence and joy. But how, and when, and where did He declare it?  In every way, at every time, and in every place during his sojourn here. As every star, and leaf, and flower, and mountain, and stream are, in their province, declarers of the name of God, so (only much more) were each look, and word, and deed, and step of the Lord Jesus declarers of the Father's name. He declared it,

     (1.) By His birth. Bethlehem was the first place made to echo with the Father's name. The lowly birth, the stable, the manger, all said, "God is love."

     (2.) By his private life. His thirty years at Nazareth were all, though in ways unknown to us, declarers of the Father's names. These unrecorded years were not wholly silent nor inarticulate. They said, "God is love."

     (3.) His words. They are few in comparison with what might have been received. Yet they are enough to declare the name most fully. Each word He spoke is a revelation of the Father. It tells us something of the mind and heart of God, which otherwise we could not have known. It says to us, "God is love."

     (4.) His deeds. His life was one of miracles; and all of these illustrative of the Father's character; all of them utterances of the Father's name. Each of them spoke out articulately, and said, "God is love."

     (5.) His death and resurrection. His cross and grave, each of them in its own way, declared the Father's name." He who came to die, and to rise, did so because "God so loved the world." How clearly, how loudly, how fully, did the death and resurrection of the Son of God proclaim, "God is love."

     In all these ways He was the declarer of the Father's name; the revealer of His character; the embodiment, as well as the proclamation of His grace. And He not only says, "I have declared," but "I will declare"; as if all the future as well as all the past were to be one glorious declaration of the divine name. That declaration is not done. It is now going on in heaven. It will go on, on earth again when He returns to make all things new. Then God's name shall not only be revealed, but "hallowed"; and on the forehead of the redeemed is to be written in the ages to come, "their Father's name." Throughout the ages of the eternal kingdom, that name shall continue to be declared, on earth and in heaven. That name is what the creature needs to know; specially what man needs to know. In it are wrapped up the blessedness, the glory of the universe.

     III. The end and object of tills declaration. "That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." The declaration of the Father's name is for our sakes, that we through the knowledge of that name might have the fullness of the Father's love poured into us, and that Christ Himself might make his abode with us. It is not directly of the love of the Father to us that Christ here speaks, but the love of the Father to Himself, "the love wherewith thou hast loved me." Elsewhere He speaks of this love as one with, or commensurate with, His own to us: "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you." But here it is of the Father's love to the Son as poured into us through the knowledge of the divine name as given us by Christ, that He is speaking to us, so that the result of Christ's revelation of the Father's name, or rather of our believing that revelation, would be twofold.

     (1.) The Father's love to the Son would come in to us. What a love! In His case it was all merited; in ours, unmerited; but still, not the less is it true and boundless. It comes in and dwells in us. It is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Ghost; and thus we are filled with all the fullness of God.

     (2.) Christ Himself would come in to us. He would abide with us and fill us. Through the knowledge which He gives us of the Father's name, He himself comes in to us! How simple, how immediate, and how free. Believing Christ's revelation of the Father's name, we get all Christ Himself.