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I assume that each member of the Godhead loves each other member of the Godhead. God is, after all, love (1 John 4:8 and 16).

The Gospels are quite explicit regarding the love which God the Father has for God the Son. Jesus himself makes this very clear (John 3:35; and 5:20). Moreover, the voice coming out of heaven at Jesus' baptism addresses the Son as "My beloved Son" (Luke 3:22; Matthew 3:17; and Mark 1:11). (True enough, the voice from heaven is not linked specifically to the Father, but the word Beloved is clearly linked to the Son, not the Father or the Spirit.)

One could say quite accurately that Jesus proved his love for the Father in everything he did and said while he was on earth. On more than one occasion, Jesus made this devotion to his Father's will quite explicit:

"My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work" (John 4:34).

And

". . . he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him" (John 8:29 KJV).

Logically, then, one could also say that Jesus proved he loved the Father by doing His will and by obeying Him. In the same way the apostle James emphasized the role which works play in the faith/works duo, perhaps by analogy Jesus in his way of life emphasized the role which loving obedience played in the love/works duo.

In this regard, the apostle John, the "apostle of love" and "the disciple whom Jesus loved," said,

We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth" (1 John 3:17-18).

In other words, saying "I love you" to someone is much easier than demonstrating your love for the same person by performing a loving action such as feeding or clothing him, visiting him when he is on his sickbed, comforting him when he has recently lost a loved one through death, or forgiving him when he has sinned against you.

I have no doubt that Jesus loves his Father, but I am curious as to why that love is not stated as explicitly in the Gospels as is the love of the Father for his Son. I suppose a good answer to my question would draw from both Testaments and would be framed in terms which are consistent with the Father-Son relationship which is foreshadowed in the Tanakh (e.g., in Psalm 2) but revealed more fully in the New Covenant.

  • 3
    Why the Bible doesn't say something is akin to a reading the mind of God question, and hence off topic. But I think there's a good question in here. Maybe you could limit it to why John's gospel and letters present the trinitarian love as unidirectional? – curiousdannii Dec 17 '15 at 2:19
  • He laid His whole life down, even to the point of a terrible death, for love and obedience of His Father. – Geremia Dec 17 '15 at 4:13
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I believe that the answer to this is something related to the narrative's approach.

We can infer from what we know about the godhead, that the Son loves the Father, but the focus in the gospels narrative is not that, the focus is that the Father loves the Son, then, the Son loves us and the Son obey the Father. I'll try to examplify this with some text.

First: we know that the Son loves the Father because:

this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. (2 John 1:5)

Even Christ's obedience (that is found everywhere, like John 4:34, Philippians 2:8, Hebrews 5:8, Romans 5:9, etc, etc) testify his love for the Father. But, as i said, the scriture approaches this relation upside down, not from the Son to the Father, but from the Father to the Son. We read:

[...] the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. (John 15:9)

As you said, this is the main perspective, and the reason i see is: this is what we need to understand. I think this verse in John 15:9 shows us the emphasis of the Bible's narrative. The Father loves the son, the Son loves us. This thematic is stressed all over, for example:

For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. (John 5:20)

and

[...] just as Christ loved us [...] (Ephesians 5:2)


I know this alone isn't a sound argument, so let us check another examples:

Natural marriage

To be quick: husbands are often told to love their wives

Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.(Colossians 3:19)

and

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25)

But wives are always told not to love, but to respect and submit

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. (Colossians 3:18)

and

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord (Ephsians 5:22)

So, aren't wives suposed to love their husbands? Yes they are, but i think the Bible is silent on that matter because of the text's approch. I think what husbands need to aknowledge is love and wives is subjection.

Parents and children

The same issue we find into children -> parents realtion. "Children, obey your parents" is the instruction of Colossians 3:20 and Ephasians 6:1. Is not a message of love, is a message of obedience, which is, in fact, the most precise manifestation of love, as we saw in the beginning of this study. So, a son is suposed to love his father? Of course, but what he needs to aknowledge from scripture is not love towards his father, but obedience.

Likewise, Christ, the Son, is shown not loving the Father in a theoretical way, but showing his practical love in the form of obedience. This is what we need to aknowledge, because this is the main focus of God's inpired word, regarding the relation Son->Father: He obeys.

Old Testment

I was about to sleep when came to my mind a very insightful thought. The first mention of love in the Bible happens when God say to Abraham

Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love (Genesis 21:12)

This is an example of love in this direction: Abraham->Isaac. But the second mention of love is this

And Isaac [...] took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. (Genesis 24:67)

This is an example of love in this direction: Isaac->Rebekah.

If we take Abraham as a figure of God and Isaac as a figure of the Son and Rebekah as a figure fo the Church, we have this: God loved the Son. The Son loved the Church. You see? This is always the natural flow. The next mention of love in the Bible is when Isaac loves Esau in Genesis 25:28, and so forward.

With maybe some little exceptions, the love always take this flow into all the Scriptures. Father->Son->Wife (Thank you, making this research really opened my mind)

Conclusion

At this point, i think we can say that the lack of mentions about the love of the Son towards the Father is really supplied in the plenty of mentions of the Son's obedience. And secondly, i think this "silence" just follows the approach and thematic of the whole Bible argumentation flow about love: The Father loves the Son, the Son obeys the Father and the Son loves his Wife.

@paul-chernoch's answer reminded me of John 14:31, maybe the only mention on the love of the Son towards the Father, and guess what this passage says

I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

Again we see this realtion: i love, therefore, i obey. This is beautiful.

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John 14 (NIV) says this:

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

“Come now; let us leave."

It seems that it is the Holy Spirit's job to teach us that Jesus loves the Father. It is also the job of 'prince of this World', in that Jesus' willing sacrifice on the Cross is meant to be Christ's supreme statement of his love for the Father. Jesus does not toot his own horn, he does not serve as his own witness, but trusts the Holy Spirit to do that for him. In John 8, the idea that one could not act as one's own witness is important:

12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

13 The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”

14 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16 But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 17 In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. 18 I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”

Jesus preferred to allow his actions and the work of the Father and the Holy Spirit to witness for him.

  • +1 for John 14:31. Borrowed this passage from you, hope you doesn't mind. Good answer, though. – Filipe Merker Dec 17 '15 at 18:46
  • NP. I got it from that great theologian: Google. – Paul Chernoch Dec 17 '15 at 19:14
  • I was under the impression that the prince of this world that was coming was Satan, to manipulate Christ's death. Which, as he says he has no hold or control over Christ, he had to do by influencing people like Judas, and it was really what the Father wanted Jesus to do all along (the obedience part). – Joshua Dec 17 '15 at 20:39

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