June 04, 2024

The Person of the Son

Sinclair Ferguson
The Person of the Son

If we are to give our minds to reflecting on Christ with wonder and worship, we first need to fill our minds with the truth about Christ. Today, Sinclair Ferguson helps us focus on the divine personhood of the Son of God.


I’ve never heard anyone say they suffer from Christological attention deficit syndrome, but if you were listening yesterday, you’ll maybe share my suspicion that many of us who are Christians actually have it. We find it difficult to reflect on the Lord Jesus for even a few minutes at a time. And you know, I think if we were honest about it, we’d probably be willing to admit that one reason for this is that many of us don’t actually know enough about the Lord Jesus to sustain prolonged meditation. So, in minds that are often full of unconnected and disconnected pieces of information, and in a world of many voices, what we really need is for our minds to be better stocked with the knowledge of Christ, who He is and what He has done. And that process of stocking up knowledge and retaining it is always helped by having structures in our thinking, foundation stones we can build on.

I remember a lady telling me very sweetly, and meaning to encourage me, that she’d listened five times to a recording of a sermon I’d preached, and every time she said she learned something new. So, I thanked her for her encouragement, and I meant it. But I also thought to myself, “I think if she had known something like the Shorter Catechism, she probably could have taken all that in by listening perhaps only twice.” The problem was not that she wasn’t a keen Christian; it was that she didn’t really have what I think of as the Velcro strips of basic Christian doctrine. So, in a sense, there was nowhere for most of the message to stick.

So, here’s a first Velcro strip to help us grow in our ability to reflect on the Lord Jesus Christ: He’s a divine person. I think if we focus on that fact, we might be amazed at how, just like a pebble thrown into a pool, ripples of reflection might be created in our minds from Scripture. And before we know it, we begin to reflect on Him in wonder and worship.

Think, for example, about the dramatic way He’s introduced in the first chapter of the gospel of John: He is the Word. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that John doesn’t actually tell us who this Word is or doesn’t tell us that it’s Jesus until verse 17? But by the time he’s told us that, he’s given us enough to have plenty of food for thought to reflect and adore. Jesus was with God, face-to-face with God.

As Gregory of Nazianzus says very eloquently, the moment we think about the one person, we realize we’ve got to think about all three, and the moment we think about the three persons, we’re carried back in our minds to think of the one God. He says, “My sight is filled to the brim, yet the greater part of what I am thinking eludes me.” It’s endless, thinking about Jesus.

And it’s not just the beginning of John’s gospel; John’s gospel more or less ends with that wonderful confession of doubting Thomas, “My Lord and my God!” And in between John 1 and John 21, we learn what it means that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” and “of His fullness we have received grace upon grace.”

Christ is the divine Creator. Through Him all things were made. But He becomes flesh so that through Him we might be remade. Only the Creator can fix things. And the Creator is God the Son. But things need to be fixed from within, so He became flesh so that through Him, by the Spirit’s rebirth of us, we might be restored to the Father’s family and might again have fellowship with God as His children.

And you see, that prompts us to begin to leaf through John’s gospel in our minds, or perhaps to leaf through its pages with our fingers, to see chapter after chapter, this divine person, God’s Son, now incarnate, entering the broken life or the blind life or the confused life of a man or a woman—from the highborn and the rich like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, to the quintuple-husbanded woman at the well, or the beggar at the pool of Bethesda, or the anonymous blind man whose sight He restored, or His dear friend Lazarus whom He raised from the dead, or the beloved disciples with whom He was so amazingly patient.

And as those ripples begin to appear on the pool of our minds, we’re beginning to spend time in the presence of Jesus. We want to sing, “Who is He in yonder stall,” or “in deep distress, or “on yonder tree?” Yes indeed, we really do want to sing, “‘Tis the Lord, oh wondrous story; ‘tis the Lord, the King of glory.” And then we want to add, “At His feet we humbly fall, and crown Him, crown Him Lord of all.” We’ll see more of this tomorrow, and I hope therefore you’ll join me on Things Unseen.