(I know it should be “whom” but that sounds so stuffy.)
Ever heard someone pray–or prayed yourself–something like this: “Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you, Jesus, for dying for us and we ask you Heavenly Father, to help us, Lord–“?
Who are we supposed to be addressing our prayers to? Ever confused about that? I have been.
It was novel to first-century Jews to have Jesus modeling for them a prayer to G-d as Father: “Our Father who is in heaven–.” That’s Who Jesus prayed to. He always called Him Father.
Dying in agony he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He himself was God. He claimed to be YHWH, the “I AM” or Ever-Present One, the name-which-is-too-holy-to-pronounce, the name committed to Moses to reveal to the rest of the Jews as their deliverer.
But in going through death as one of us (and for us), he experienced our separation from the Father. At that moment he addressed his Father, who with the Holy Spirit shared deity with Jesus as one God–as God.
I don’t fully understand what I just wrote. But I know that Biblically, in the awesome mystery of the three-in-one Godhead, the Trinity, it’s true.
Jesus is God’s son and Jesus bought us with his own life so we could be God’s children, too, by faith in him. (Yet Jesus is also our Lord.) But first he modeled for us what life is meant to be like when it is flowing from our Father into our innermost being.
Jesus set up base camp among us, limiting himself to just the resources we have–nothing supernatural* up his sleeve, nothing in his hat that we don’t have available when we’re drawing sap (sustenance) from Him–to show us how being plugged into God as our Father works: “I do only what I see the Father doing. I say only what the Father teaches me to say.”
As God’s children, Jesus’ resources become our resources so that he could tell us with complete accuracy, “the works I do you will do.” His Father becomes our Father, His access to the Father is made available to us. He gives us his VISA and hands us the red phone. Pick it up anytime and tell Abba what’s on your heart. Ask Him for anything. Charge it to My account. Tell Him I sent you. You won’t have to depend on me (or any created being) to go to Him on your behalf. He loves you as much–exactly as much!–as I do. You can go to Him directly. My name will get you in.
This is my best guess as to what Jesus meant by John’s Gospel, chapters 14-17. I have put actual Scripture in quotes. The italicized bits are me, paraphrasing like crazy. Take them or leave them. Better than either, ponder them.
*with rare exceptions, like the Tranfiguration.
Matthew 6:9-13; Mark 15:34; Exodus 3:14; John 5:19; John 8:28; John 14:12; John chapters 14-17