Wednesday, August 18, 2010

All Things from the Father

All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Matthew 11:27

My Father has given me all things” is a technical term for the transmission of doctrine, knowledge, and holy lore. It designates the mystery of revelation, and the first line means: “My Father has given me a full revelation.” …

The final line, “and any one to whom the son chooses to reveal him,” suggests: because only a son really knows his father, he alone is in a position to pass this knowledge on to others. Thus Jesus is explaining the communication of revelation with the aid of a comparison between father and son. …

It was customary for the son to learn his father’s craft. Many trades had their secret processes, which were carefully guarded, and into which the son was initiated by his father. In the same way, this metaphor of the pupil suggests, Jesus’ Father has initiated him into the revelation.

Jesus explains his theme exactly the same way in Matt. 11.27 par.: “My Father has given me all things” (line I) is developed by means of a father-son comparison (lines 2 and 3): “Only father and son really know one another.”

What Jesus wants to convey in the guise of an everyday simile is this: Just as a father talks to his son, just as he teaches him the letters of the Torah, just as he initiates him into the well-prepared secrets of his craft, just as he hides nothing from him and opens his heart to him as to no-one else, so God has granted me knowledge of himself.

The fourth line, “and any one to whom the son chooses to reveal him,” is the one that is stressed. It remains within the framework of everyday experience (because only a son really understands the intention and actions of his father, only he can make them understandable to others), and leaves the hearer to draw the consequences for Jesus’ claim for his mission.

(Jeremias, Joachim. 1971. New Testament Theology. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons., pgs 59-61)

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