I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
I. WHENCE HE CAME. "I came out from the Father." This implies:
1. Unity or oneness of nature. It is not "I came from the presence of the Father," or "from a near point to him," but "I came out from him" - an expression which would be highly improper to be used by any one but by him who is equal and one with the Father, one in nature and essence. It is clearly the language of an equal, and not of an inferior.
2. Nearness of relationship. The human relationship which best expresses the relationship of the "eternal Word" to the Godhead is that of father and son, and this is used. It must not be carried too far, but we are grateful for it, as it sheds some light on Christ with regard to the Godhead; he stands in the most near and natural relationship to him, and this relationship is not outward, accidental, and transient, but inward, essential, and everlasting - the relationship of nature and essence.
3. The most intimate fellowship and acquaintance. The Divine nature is social. We like the idea of the unity of God, one supreme Being fulfilling the idea of perfect oneness; and we like also the idea of a Trinity which deprives mere unity of its dreariness, loneliness, anti monotony, and fills it with the joys and delights of society - the royal and Divine society of the Divine nature. "I came out from," etc. Their fellowship must be most intimate, inspiring, and pure, and their acquaintance perfect.
4. The warmest friendship. What must be the mutual friendship of the Father of love with the Son of his love? It must be the warmest, intensest, sweetest, and most delightful. The purest and most loving human friendships fade before this.
5. The most dignified and glorious position. "From the Father." The most glorious position in the universe. His position was equal with that of the eternal Father, his glory was as resplendent, his throne as majestic, his scepter as universal, and his throne as dignified.
6. A Divine procession. It is difficult, in human language, to describe the Divine movements, and to add anything in explanation to the simple statement of our Lord, which to him was quite plain. "I came out," etc. But there must be a special movement of the Divine nature on the part of the Son, a coming out from the Father, a partial but temporary separation, and a procession of him whose goings forth have been from of old.
II. WHITHER WE CAME. As we see the first movement of the eternal Son, we are inclined to ask whither will he go? Doubtless to one of the largest planets, in one of the most glorious systems in the universe. No; but he came into the world. He was in the world before, but now came to it, and came into it in a usual, natural way, by birth. This implies:
1. A great distance. From the Father into the world. The physical distance must be great, but the moral distance greater still. From the Divine to the human, from the sphere of Divine glory, purity, and life, to the sphere of shame, sin, sorrow, and death. The distance was infinite, and the journey was long.
2. A great change. There is a change of air, from the pure air of the Father's presence to the foul air of this world. A change of sceneries, of society, of associations, of relationships. The old ones were only partially left, but new ones were formed. A new nature was assumed; new conditions, circumstances, and employments under-token. The nature of the creature was assumed by the Creator, the nature of the sinner was assumed by Divine purity, and the nature of weakness was assumed by infinite power. The Son of God became the Son of man, the form of God was exchanged for the form of a servant, and the Lord of heaven became the tenant of this wretched, insignificant, and rebellious world. What a change! What a change from the throne to the manger, from the crown to the cross, from the society of the Father and angels to that of the rebellious children of the Fall, from the sweet music of heaven to the malignant execrations of earth!
3. A great mission. "Am come into the world." This suggests that he came as an Ambassador; and the very fact that he came from the Father into the world proves that he came upon a most important mission - a mission which deeply affected the very heart of the King, the honor of his throne, and the well-being of his subjects. His important mission was to effect reconciliation between earth and heaven; to condemn sin and save the sinner; to conquer forever the prince of this world and the powers of darkness, and create a new heaven and a new earth. His mission affected not merely this world, but the whole universe.
4. A great sacrifice. This was required to meet the demands of justice and law, and the need of the world. And his mission was a sacrifice from beginning to end; from the first movement, the coming out from the Father, the coming into the world, his life in it, and his departure from it through the ignominious death of the cross, - all this was an infinite sacrifice sufficient to answer the purposes of Divine love involved in the mission of the Son in the world.
5. A great fact. What is this? That the Son of God was incarnate in this world, and it includes all the great facts of his earthly history, which are summed up here in one, "Am come into the world." This is the greatest in this world's history - the fact of the greatest glory, interest, and consequences in all its annals. It has made this world a center of interest, meditation, and wonder for all the intelligent universe.
6. A great responsibility. If the Son of God was in this world, and for it lived and died in order to bring it into allegiance with heaven, in the face of such a condescension, expense, and sacrifice, its responsibility is infinite.
III. WHITHER HE WENT.
1. He left the world.
(1) His stay here was not intended to be long. When he came, he came only for a short time. He was a pilgrim in the land rather than a permanent resident. He came as an Ambassador, to perform a special work, and his hard work bespoke a short stay.
(2) He accomplished his work here. He came to the world, not to enjoy, but to work; not to rest, but to toil; not to live, but rather to die. He worked hard, and finished his work early; then he left - there was no more to do here. The world tried to send him away before his work was finished, but failed. Not before he cried, "It is finished!" he gave up the ghost.
(3) He had a work to do in another place - within the veil. He could not do that work here. He could not be idle. If there was no work here, he would go where it was. He was bound to time and special employments.
2. He went to the Father - to the same place as he came from.
(1) This was in the original plan. It was one of the conditions of his departure that he should soon return to the same place and to the same glory. The inhabitants could not be long happy without him. Heaven was not the same during his absence.
(2) His mission was fulfilled to the Father's entire satisfaction. Jesus was fully conscious of this, otherwise he would not speak with such confidence and delight of returning to his Father. This is the last thing a disloyal and inefficient ambassador will do. The sweet voice ever rang in his soul, "I have both glorified, and will glorify thee."
(3) His return was most natural and sweet to him, to the -Father, and to all. He was never so far and so long from home before, and his return was most gratifying to the Divine heart, and it fulfilled the Divine love. Never had a conquering hero such welcome on his return. Welcome was the language of all the happy family, and the sweet burden of every strain which streamed from harps of gold. It was specially delightful to him. After the hardships of his earthly campaign, home must be indeed sweet; but all the sufferings he forgot in the ecstasy of Divine welcome and the delight of triumph.
1. All the promises of Christ to faith will be fulfilled. He had promised it plainer revelations of the Father, and the text is the first installment. Christ's light is ever in proportion to the strength of the eye, and his revelations, in substance and language, suitable to the capacities of faith - now in proverbs, now in plainer language and with greater confidence, introducing to it deeper mysteries and brighter visions.
2. All the movements of Christ in connection with the great scheme of redemption were purely voluntary. Those indicated in these words were so. "I came out from the Father," etc. He had perfect control over all his movements, and they were invariably the results of his sovereign and free will.
3. When he went to the Father he took the cause of the world, especially that of his disciples, with him - in his nature, in his heart, and will never leave nor forget it.
4. When he left the world he left the best part of himself behind. He left the precious results of his life and death, his example, his pardoning love, his Spirit, his blessed gospel with all its rich contents.
5. As he went to the -Father, this indicates the direction we should go, and ever look for him. We know where he is. He left not his disciples in ignorance of his destination; he left his full address, and in its light we have a Father, and an Almighty Advocate with him. - B.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.