In John's Gospel and his letter, the statement that the Father sent the Son is made several times. Two examples:

that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. (John 5:23 ESV)

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
(1 John 4:1)

While Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul have "him" or "God" who sent, I don't see where the specific identification of the one who sent Jesus as "the Father" is made. Is the specific identification of the Father as sending Jesus unique to John? And if so, is there some additional significance John intends?

  • If other Evangelists identify God as Father of Jesus, and if they also say that Jesus is sent by God (cf. for example Matthew 15:24) then what's a problem? What difference is there if I say "god-Zeus sent Athena to Odysseus", or "father sent Athena to Odysseus? It's all the same, for all know that god-Zeus is Athena's father. Commented May 10, 2020 at 5:47
  • @LevanGigineishvili Matthew 15:24 says nothing about the Father. God as Father is in the Pauline corpus and John, but not directly in Matthew, Mark, or Luke. Commented May 10, 2020 at 6:17
  • You say it well, "not directly", but perfectly clearly and absolutely unambiguously - indirectly. So, my first comment remains as put as initially. Even more, how can you say "not directly" when Jesus teaches Lord's Prayer "Our Father" in Matthew and Luke? Who He is referring to? Some other deity than God the Creator of heaven and earth, the one God of Israel? Commented May 10, 2020 at 8:01
  • p.s. Or does not He in Luke 2:49 directly call God His "Father"? Commented May 10, 2020 at 8:08
  • @LevanGigineishvili "Our Father" does not mean the same thing in the Jewish faith as in Christianity. "Our Father" in Judaism is an affirmation of Exodus 4:22, not an acknowledgement of rebirth (John 3) as children of God (John 1:12-13). So instructing a Jewish audience to pray "Our Father..." makes no additional affirmation about the status of Jesus to God or His Father. IOW Jesus could simply be a good Jewish teacher (or Rabbi). I suspect were it not for the claim Christian's make to that prayer, it would still be something a Jewish non-believer in Christ would continue to pray today. Commented May 10, 2020 at 16:54

1 Answer 1


Let me layout the occurrence of the verbs used to send "Christ":

ἀποστέλλω (apostelló)

  1. Christ sent by an unspecified authority (the Father implied??), Matt 10:40, 15:24, 21:37 (parable), Mark 9:37, 12:6, Luke 4:43, 9:48, 10:16, John 7:28
  2. Christ sent by the "Spirit of the Lord", Luke 4:18
  3. Christ sent by "God", John 3:17, 6:29, 8:42, Acts 3:20, 26, 1 John 4:9, 10
  4. Christ sent by "the Father", John 5:36, 38, 6:57, 10:36, 11:42, 17:3, 8, 18, 21, 23, 25, 20:21, 1 John 4:14.

πέμπω (pempó)

  1. Christ sent by an unspecified authority (the Father implied??), Luke 20:13 (parable), John 4:34, 5:24, 30, 6:38, 39, 7:16, 18, 28, 33, 8:26, 29, 9:4, 12:44, 45, 13:20, 15:21, 16:5
  2. Christ sent by the Spirit, --
  3. Christ sent by "God", Rom 8:3
  4. Christ sent by "the Father", John 5:23, 37, 44, 8:16, 18, 12:49, 14:24

Thus, we may deduce that, indeed, John is the only NT writer to explicitly specify "the Father" as the one who sent Jesus. All other writers simply say either "God", leave it implied, or, "the Spirit of God". John also uses most of these expressions as well.

Note that John also uses the idea of Jesus being sent more often that all other NT writers. Further the verbs ἀποστέλλω (apostelló) and πέμπω (pempó) appear to used almost interchangeably, sometimes in adjacent verses.

Interestingly, John 5:23 offers compelling evidence of the equality of Jesus and the Father: that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. Ellicot succinctly observes:

The purpose of the entire commission of judgment to the Son, a bestowment which illustrates the quickening results that he (who does the will of the Father) wills to effect, is now gathered to a lofty climax, abundantly vindicating the right he had claimed to call God his own Father. It is as follows, in order that all may honour the Son. Τιμῶσιν, not προσκυνῶσιν ("honour," not "worship"), is the word used; but seeing that the identical sentiment of reverence due to the Supreme Being, to the Father, is that which is here said to be due to the Son, and is here declared to be the reason why all judgment is entrusted to the issues of his will, - we are at a loss to know how loftier attributes could be ascribed to the Son.

I agree. Perhaps John was at pains to make things more explicit to counter the (then) rising tide various isms that deprecated the status of Jesus. John ensures that Jesus is not just God (John 1:1-3), but "the God" (ho theos), John 20:28; about which Ellicott observes:

My Lord and my God.--These words are preceded by "said unto him," and are followed by "because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed;" and the words "my Lord" can only be referred to Christ. (Comp. John 20:13.) The sentence cannot therefore, without violence to the context, be taken as an exclamation addressed to God, and is to be understood in the natural meaning of a confession by the Apostle that his Lord was also God.


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