Jesus the Christ of Nazareth, the Messiah, the Word, the Light, who is God incarnate as John 1:1-14, 14-9 and His name Emmanuel reveals: TRINITY The coexistence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the unity of the Godhead (divine nature or essence). The doctrine of the trinity means that within the being and activity of the one God there are three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Although the word trinity does not appear in the Bible, the "trinitarian formula" is mentioned in the Great Commission (Matt 28:19) and in the benediction of the apostle Paul's Second Epistle to the Corinthians (2 Cor 13:14). God revealed Himself as one to the Israelites: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!" (Deut 6:4). This was a significant religious truth because the surrounding nations worshiped many Gods and had fallen into idolatry, worshiping the creation rather than the true Creator (Rom 1:18-25). "But when the fullness of the time had come," Paul wrote (Gal 4:4), "God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law." In the New Testament God revealed that He is not only one but a family of persons-an eternal, inexhaustible, and dynamic triune family of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are one in will and purpose, love and righteousness. The relationship of Father and Son is prominent in the gospels because Jesus, the eternal Son who takes on human flesh, is most visible to us as He strikes a responsive chord through the Father-Son relationship. All the while the Holy Spirit is in the background, serving as our eyes of faith. The unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is portrayed by Jesus' trinitarian teaching (John 14-16). This truth is expressed in the total ministry of Jesus as recorded in all four gospels as well as in the rest of the New Testament. The triune family cooperates as one in bringing the lost person home again into a redeemed family of believers. The most distinctive characteristic of the persons of the triune family is their selfless love for one another. Each esteems and defers to the other in a way that makes the original family of the trinity a model for the Christian family of believers in the church. The Father gives all authority to the Son and bears witness to Him, as does Jesus to Himself (John 8:18). Yet the Son claims nothing for Himself; He gives all glory to the Father who has sent Him (John 12:49-50). The key to unlocking the mystery of the trinity is to observe how the persons of the triune family give themselves to one another in selfless love. They are always at one another's disposal. The Father serves the Son; the Son serves the Father; Father and Son defer to the Holy Spirit, who in turn, serves and defers to the Father and Son in a oneness that is eternally dynamic and inexhaustible. The mutual love of the triune persons spills over into the creation and is seen in their generous cooperation in saving the lost (John 14:15-17,25-26). Since God is the original family-in-unity, so Christians are urged by Jesus and the apostles to imitate the divine family in the believing fellowship, as Jesus taught so clearly when He washed the disciples' feet (John 13:14-15). The principal trait of the triune family is speaking the truth in love; this encourages a spirit of generosity among Christians as they reflect the divine family in calling the lost to come home. The trinity was at work in the incarnation of Jesus, the Son of the Most High, as He was conceived in the womb of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:30-35). At His baptism Jesus the Son received approval from the Father in the presence of the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:21-22), fulfilling two Old Testament prophetic passages (Ps 2:7; Isa 42:1). The trinity was also present in the temptation, as Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit for 40 days in the wilderness. The devil recognized Jesus as the Son of God (Luke 4:3), but he tried to destroy the faithful relationship of the divine family. In His preaching in the synagogue at Nazareth Jesus fulfilled Isa 61:1-2, claiming that "the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me" (Luke 4:18) and indicating that the triune family was at work in Him as the servant Son. At the transfiguration, the voice of the Father spoke again in approval of Jesus the Son to the innermost circle of disciples (Luke 9:35). Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and in the Father who had delivered all things to the Son (Luke 10:21-22). He claimed to be acting in the place of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit, who is the "finger" of God (Matt 12:28; Luke 11:20). Jesus' cleansing of the Temple was a claim of identification with the house of God His Father (Luke 19:45-46) that paralleled His concern for being in His Father's house at a much younger age (Luke 2:41-51). Jesus witnessed further to His authority as He sent forth the disciples, following His resurrection, with the words, "Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you" (Luke 24:49). He also told them to wait until they were empowered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5,8). Jesus claimed His Sonship not only from David but from David's Lord (Matt 22:42-45), indicating His deity. Following His resurrection, Jesus sent the disciples to baptize "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt 28:19). The fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy as spokesman for the Father and the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-8) occurred at Pentecost. This continued throughout the Book of Acts when the Holy Spirit inspired Peter and the apostles to preach a trinitarian gospel of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Acts 2:32-33; 5:29-32; 10:38). Paul wrote from a sense of the triune family in Galatians, speaking often of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Gal 3:13-14; 4:6; 5:5-6,22-24). In Romans he used a threefold, trinitarian pattern to describe the plan of salvation (Rom 1:18-3:20; 3:21-8:1,2-30). All the remaining New Testament books contain trinity teaching except James and 3 John. The triune family is God's revelation of Himself as the ultimate truth about reality. This family is the original pattern from which God creates all the families of earth with their unity and diversity. The family of mankind, after losing its intimate relationship with the divine family at the Fall, is restored to fellowship by God's action. This happens when its members acknowledge the generosity originating in the Father, expressed by the Son, and energized by the Holy Spirit.