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John 16:27-28 (ESV):

27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”

What did Jesus mean when he said "I came from God/the Father"? In what sense was he with God before and in what sense did he come?

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The NT is at pains to emphasize that Jesus was sent by the Father - see Matt 10:40, 15:24, 21:37, Mark 9:37, 12:6, Luke 4:18, 43, 9:48, 10:16, John 7:29, Acts 3:20, 26,

  • John 3:17 - For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
  • John 5:36 - "I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish--the very works that I am doing--testify that the Father has sent me. (see also V38)
  • John 6:29 - Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."
  • John 6:57 - Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
  • John 8:42 - Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on My own, but He sent Me.
  • John 10:36 - what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'?
  • John 11:41, 42 - So they took away the stone. Then Jesus lifted His eyes upward and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me, but I say this for the benefit of the people standing here, so they may believe that You sent Me.”
  • John 17:3 - Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. (See also V8, 18)
  • John 17:21 - that all of them may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I am in You. May they also be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
  • John 20:21 - Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."
  • 1 John 4:9 - This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

Jesus High Priestly prayer in John 17 makes it clear that Jesus was with God before Jesus was sent by the Father (John 17:3, 1:1) and Jesus intended to return to the Father (John 13:1) after the incarnation as described in Phil 2:5-11.

John 13:1, 3 - It was now just before the Passover Feast, and Jesus knew that His hour had come to leave this world and return to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the very end. ... Jesus knew that the Father had delivered all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was returning to God.

It is the Gospel of John, far more than the others, that emphasizes this point again and again. Jesus came from the Father, was sent by the Father and was returning to the Father. Thus, Jesus, during the incarnation is constantly portrayed as acting on the authority of the Father.

This whole idea is part of the "kenosis" of Jesus who "emptied Himself" and humbled Himself, etc, as per Phil 2:5-8 and became subject tot he Father and depended on the Father at all times during the incarnation.

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