Like Father like Son

  marcalexander . com“Like father, like son” is a phrase we’ve all probably heard or used at different times about different people. It’s a great little description of someone who models his dad. MacMillan’s Dictionary defines this phrase in the following way: used for saying that a man or boy has the same attitudes as his father or behaves in the same way.

When we refer to God the Father and God the Son, we may be able to use the same words to describe a more profound reality that is stated in the Nicene Creed: I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages.

We have meditated on the Name and titles of the Lord as well as the reality that Jesus existed as the divine Word of God before all time and all creation. We have seen that the pre-existence of Jesus is a truth of revelation which explains to us the depth of the unity of the Father and the Son. In the Nicene Creed, we also affirm that we believe in the pre- existence of the Word of God, Jesus, and that He is the true Son of God. In the Gospel of Matthew, the Evangelist presents a defining moment for St. Peter. The buzz surrounding Jesus was deafening. People were wondering who He was! What did His ministry mean? Where did the healing, the expulsion of demons, the forgiveness of sins come from? Did He have authority to do these things? Did this authority come from God, or from some other source? ! The Disciples, of course, heard all of the talk. St. Matthew tells us:

“When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."

Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.” (Matthew 16:13-17)

And Saint Paul, formerly named Saul when he was a persecutor of the Church, tells us of the revelation he received directly from God as to the nature of Jesus:

“…when (God), who from my mother's womb had set me apart and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult flesh and blood” (Galatians 1:15-16)

“Flesh and blood,” that is, human beings, did not reveal the nature of Jesus either to Saint Peter or to Saint Paul. They received this revelation directly from the One from Whom Jesus was sent, God the Father. Jesus is truly the Son of God. He is not a child of God as we are, made daughters and sons of God by baptism and the Holy Spirit. WE are the adopted ones. Jesus is the Son of God by His divine nature, which He shares with the Father, and He is Son of Man by His human nature, which He shares with His Mother, the Virgin Mary.

The beginning of the Gospel of John tells us of the pre-existence of Jesus, the Word of God, from all eternity:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5)

St. Paul echoes the revelation of Jesus identity with God the Father in the beautiful hymn he cites in the Letter to the Colossians:

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17)

St. Gregory of Nazianzen meditates on the pre- existence and the unity of Father and Son in his Sermon on The Marvel of the Incarnation:

“The very Son of God, older than the ages, the invisible, the incomprehensible, the incorporeal, the beginning of beginning, the light of light, the fountain of life and immortality, the image of the archetype, the immovable seal, the perfect likeness, the definition and word of the Father: he it is who comes to his own image and takes our nature for the good of our nature, and unites himself to an intelligent soul for the good of my soul, to purify like by like. He takes to himself all that is human, except for sin. He was conceived by the Virgin Mary, who had been first prepared in soul and body by the Spirit; his coming to birth had to be treated with honor, virginity had to receive new honor. He comes forth as God, in the human nature he has taken, one being, made of two contrary elements, flesh and spirit. Spirit gave divinity, flesh received it.”