Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” Does that mean that Jesus is God?

Summary

This article discusses three statements made by Jesus that are sometimes used to argue that the Father and the Son are a single divine Being, and therefore that Jesus is God.  These statements are:
 – The Father is in Me, and I in the Father. (John 10:38)
 – I and the Father are one. (John 10:30)
 – He who has seen Me has seen the Father. (John 14:9)

This article concludes that these statements must not be taken literally, but more or less have the same meaning, namely that the Father and Jesus are “perfected in unity” (John 17:23).

Purpose

This article continues the analysis of John’s gospel to determine what view John had of Jesus. The ultimate purpose is to provide information for the interpretation of the statement in John 1:1 that Jesus was theos, which may be translated “God” or “god” or “like God.”  The following are the articles in this series:

1.  Did John also refer to Jesus as theos in John 1:18?    
2.  Did Thomas call Jesus “my God” in John 20:28?  
3.  Is Jesus called God in John’s gospel? 
4.  Did Jesus claim to be God? (John 10:33)
5.   Jesus said, I and the Father are one.  Is Jesus God?  Current article
6.   Jesus is equal with God.  Next article
7.   Jesus is subordinate to the Father.
8.   Jesus always existed. In development
9.   
Jesus is the God of the Old Testament. In development

The Father is in Me, and I in the Father. 

This statement is found in John 10:38 and in 14:11.  That they are “in” one another is sometimes understood as proof that Jesus and the Father are a single divine Being.  However, in God’s kingdom everybody is “in” everybody.  Not only is the Father “in” Jesus and Jesus “in” the Father, but:

● Jesus is in His disciples (15:4, 5; 14:20).
His disciples are in Jesus (15:2, 4-7; 14:20). 
The “Spirit of truth … will be in you” (14:16-17).

What does it mean that Jesus is “in” His disciples?

Jesus explained this by means of the parable of the true vine (John 15).  Jesus is the true vine and His disciples are the branches (15:2-8).  Jesus said to His disciples, “abide in Me, and I in you” (15:4, 5).  In other words, these two concepts are equivalent: For His disciples to abide “in” Jesus, is the same as for Jesus to abide “in” them.  And that Jesus abides “in” them is explained as that His “words(15:7; cf. 14:23) and His “love(15:7, 9-10) will abide in them, and that they will keep His “commandments” (15:10).

What does it mean that the Father is “in” Jesus?

Just like Jesus’ words, love and commandments remain “in” His disciples, the Father’s words, love and commandments remain “in” Jesus:

In the parable of the true vine Jesus said, “I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10).

He explained that “I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?” because “the words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works” (John 14:10).

When Jesus astonished the Jews with His knowledge, they asked, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?”  Jesus responded, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me” (John 7:15-16).  In other words, the Father’s words (teaching) remained in Jesus.

The Father’s words, love and commandments therefore remain “in” Jesus.  In this way Jesus remained “in” the Father and the Father “in” Jesus.  It does not mean that Jesus and the Father are literally one and the same Being or Person.

I and the Father are one.

Father and I are oneThis statement in John 10:30 is also often used to argue that Jesus is God.  However, Jesus prayed as follows for His disciples:

Keep them in Your name … that they may be one even as We are” (17:11).
“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one” (17:22).

Just as the disciples must be “one,” but not literally one person, The Father and the Son are not literally one Person.

For beings to be “one” means that they are “in” one another.  This we see if we note how Jesus continued His prayer:

That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us” (17:21).
That they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity” (17:22-23).

The expressions “one” and “in” should therefore not be taken literally, but as meaning to be “perfected in unity” (17:23).

He who has seen Me has seen the Father.

Jesus said,

14:9 He who has seen Me has seen the Father; … 10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. (cf. 12:45)

Jesus’ words in 14:9 are also sometimes ignorantly used to argue that Jesus is God.  However, verse 10 indicates that we can see the Father in Jesus because “I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me” (14:10).  As argued above, for two beings to be “in” one another means to be “perfected in unity.”

Conclusion

The statements:
The Father is in Me, and I in the Father.

 – I and the Father are one.
 – He who has seen Me has seen the Father.
have the same meaning, namely to be perfected in unity.  It does not mean that they are literally one Being or one Person.

NEXT: Jesus is equal with God. 

 

Jesus is equal with God. He answers prayers, performs miracles and knew things.

Summary

Jesus is equal with God:

Both the Son and the Father answer prayer.
Both are “in” believers: “We will come to him and make Our abode with him.”
Both keep believers: “No one will snatch them out of My handno one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
Both own all things.  Jesus said, “All things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine.”

Jesus did many miracles.  He changed water into wine, drove merchants out of the temple, healed sick, crippled and blind people, fed thousands from a few loaves and fish, walked on the sea and raised Lazarus after he was dead for four days.

Jesus had supernatural knowledge.  He knew about Nathanael “under the fig tree” and about the “five husbands” of the woman at the well.  He predicted His own death and knew who would betray Him.  “He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.”

Jesus is equal with God.

Jesus is equal with GodBoth the Son and the Father answer prayer:

Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do“ (John 14:13-14).
Whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you” (John 15:16; cf. 16:23)

Both the Son and the Father live in believers:

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him” (John 14:23).

Both the Son and the Father keep believers:

They will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My handMy Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).

Both the Son and the Father own all things:

All things that the Father has are Mine” (John 16:15; cf. 17:10)

Jesus send the Spirit:

When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father” (15:26).
If I go, I will send Him to you” (16:7; cf. 20:22).

Jesus did many miracles.

He changed water into wine (2:1-9) and drove the merchants out of the temple (2:13-17).  He healed the boy that was sick to the point of death (4:46-54), the invalid who was lying at Bethesda for 38 years (5:2-9) and the man that was blind from birth (9:11).  He fed the 5000 men from a five barley loaves and fish, so that the disciples filled twelve baskets with the fragments (6:10-13).  He walked on the sea, and after He got into the boat, the boat immediately arrived at land (6:19-21).  He raised Lazarus after he was dead for four days (11:4-44).

After He Himself was raised to life, the disciples were trying to catch fish, but failed.  Jesus shouted to the little boat, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.”  They did so, and “they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.”  “When they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread” (21:4-9).

The people were aware of His miracle working power.  Nicodemus said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” (3:1-2).  Lazarus’ sister Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.  Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” (11:21-22).  The other sister Mary said to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (11:32).

Jesus had supernatural knowledge.

He knew about Nathaniel “under the fig tree” (1:48) and about the “five husbands” of the woman at the well (4:17-18).  “He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man” (2:25).  His disciples said, “we know that You know all things” (16:30).  “Jesus knew from the beginning … who it was that would betray Him” (6:64).

He predicted His own death: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life” (3:14-15). “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up … He was speaking of the temple of His body” (2:19-21).

Articles in this series

Did John refer to Jesus as theos (god) in John 1:18?
Did Thomas call Jesus “my God” in John 20:28?
Is Jesus called God in John’s gospel?
Did Jesus claim to be God?
He and the Father are one.  Is Jesus God?
Jesus is equal with God.  Current article
Jesus is subordinate to the Father.   Next

Jesus is subordinate to the Father. He called the Father “My God” and prayed to Him.

Purpose

Head of ChristThis is one of the series of articles that analyse John’s view of Jesus.  In this article it is shown that, throughout John’s gospel, Jesus is subordinate to the Father.   He received all things from the Father, including His ability to give life, to judge and to be honored.  He prayed to the Father and referred to the Father as “My God.”

As the title “Son” already indicates, Jesus is subordinate to the Father not only after He became a human being, for before His birth the Father created all things “through” the Son and “sent” the Son into this world, giving Him what to say and do.  Also, to be the Judge, after He returned to the Father, He received from the Father.

Previous articles in this series include:

Did John refer to Jesus as theos (god) in John 1:18?  
Did Thomas call Jesus “my God” in John 20:28?  
Is Jesus called God in John?  
Did Jesus claim to be God? 
He and the Father are one.  Is Jesus God?  

Summary

Jesus referred to the Father as “the only true God” and as “My God and your God.”  He also prayed to the Father.

God created all things “through” Jesus.  The word “through” imply that Jesus is not an independent Creator.  Rather, all creative Power and Wisdom are from the Father.

The Father sent Jesus to accomplish the Father’s purposes.  The Father gave Jesus His work, and Jesus did “exactly as the Father commanded.”  The Father also gave Jesus His teachings: “The Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.”

The Father draws people to Himself and gave to Jesus His disciples.

The Father made Jesus to be the Judgeso that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father.” “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW … to the glory of God the Father.”

The Father gave the Son to have life in Himself so that “the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.”  Jesus said, “I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”  The Father “gave Him authority over all flesh, that … He may give eternal life.”

The Father gave Jesus authority to take His own life up again, after Hid death, for “this commandment I received from My Father.”

The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.”  Everything which Jesus has, He received from the Father.  John consistently presents Jesus as subordinate to the Father.  The teaching that Jesus is co-equal to God is inconsistent with such statements.

The Father sent Jesus.

In John’s gospel Jesus says perhaps forty times that the Father sent Him.  For instance:

I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me” (8:42).
The word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me” (14:24).
My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (4:34; cf. 3:16-17, 34; 5:24, 30, 36-38; 6:29, 32-33, 44, 57; 7:18, 28-29, 33; 8:16, 26, 29, 42; 9:4; 11:42; 12:44, 45; 13:20; 14:24; 15:21; 16:5; 17:3, 6, 8, 18; 20:21)

Jesus said that the Father sent Him as a claim that He is a true teacher, for instance: “I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me” (11:42).

Today this is no longer a difficulty for us to accept.  But we make the opposite error, for we make Jesus co-equal to the Father.

The Father gave Jesus His disciples.

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day” (6:44; cf. 6:65).
The men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me” (17:6; cf. 6:38, 39).

In the parable of the true vine (John 15) the Father is the One that works.  “My Father is the vinedresser” (15:1).  It is the Father that cuts away branches that do not bear fruit and prunes other branches “so that it may bear more fruit” (15:2; cf. 17:2, 9, 24; 10:29).  Sometimes we think of Jesus as the Redeemer, and that is true, but we need to remember that Jesus is the Means of redemption, while the Father is the driver of redemption:

It was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him (Jesus) to reconcile all things to Himself” (Col. 1:19-20).

The Father gave Jesus His work.

I do exactly as the Father commanded Me” (14:31; cf. 15:10; 6:38).
The Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (5:19).

At the end of His ministry, Jesus said to God that He has “accomplished the work which You have given Me to do” (17:4).

The Father gave Jesus His teachings.

I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me” (8:28; cf. 14:24; 7:16).
You are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God (8:40; cf. 8:26, 38).
I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak” (12:49; cf. 17:8; cf. 17:14; 15:15).

The Father made Jesus Judge.

The Father … has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (5:22-23; cf. v27).

The words “so that” mean that Jesus will be honored because the Father “has given all judgment to the Son” (5:22-23).  Jesus therefore receives glory because it is the Father’s will.  This we also see in the following:

Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me” (John 17:24).

Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5).

God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW” (Phil. 2:9-10).  (This is not a quote from John, but important support for this point.)

The words “with you” in John 17:5 imply that Jesus does not receive glory and honor independent from the Father:

As we see in Revelation 5, God and Jesus are worshiped together: “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion” (Rev. 5:13).

And in Philippians 2 it is stated that every knee will bow to Jesus to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11). 

The Father gave the Son life in Himself.

Jesus gives live to who He wishes:

Just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes” (5:21; cf. 11:25-26).
This is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (6:40; cf. 5:28-29; 6:44).

That ability He received from God:

An hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself” (5:25-26).
You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life” (17:2).

The Father gave Jesus all things.

The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand” (3:35).
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God” (13:3).

The Father gave Jesus to take up His life.

No one has taken it (My life) away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” (10:18)

The Father is Jesus’ God.

Jesus in Revelation 1
Also in Revelation Jesus referred to the Father as “My God.”

Jesus referred to the Father as:

The only true God” (17:3), and as
My God and your God” (20:17).

He also prayed to God (John 17).  For instance, He asked the Father to give the Spirit to His disciples (14:16-17) and that His disciples might “be with Me where I am” (17:24).

God created through Jesus.

Jesus created all things:

All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:3).

The world was made through Him“ (John 1:10).

Those who oppose the claim that Jesus created all things argue that these verses describe “the Word,” which they interpret as God’s impersonal Wisdom and Plan, which became manifested in the person of Jesus Christ.  But we also find statements in Colossians 1:16 and in Hebrews 1:2 that God created all things through Jesus.  Furthermore, in another article, “the Word” was identified as the preexistant Jesus.  These seem to be sufficient proof that Jesus participated in creation.

The word “through” in these verses imply that it was God who created.  He created “through” Jesus, as is also explicitly stated in Hebrews 1:2.  Jesus is therefore not an independent Creator; but the Means of creation: Creative Power and Wisdom flowed from God through His Son.  This may be understood in at least two ways:

1. Jesus was God’s agent in creation.  This implies a level of independence between the Son and “all things.”

2. God not only created all things through His Son; the Son also upholds all things (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3).  This implies an extremely close relationship between the Son and “all things.”  It is therefore proposed that, by giving “birth” to Jesus, as His “only begotten Son,” God brought forth all things.

Jesus is subordinate to the Father. 

In conclusion, everything which Jesus has, He received from the Father.  The teaching that Jesus is co-equal to God is inconsistent with such statements.

NEXT:

 

In John 10:33, did Jesus claim to be God or the Son of God?

Purpose

The previous article asked: Is Jesus called God in John’ gospel?

John 10 records one of the angry disputes between Jesus and the Jews.  In response to His question, the Jews said,

For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God” (John 10:33).

The purpose of the current article is to ask a related question, namely, did Jesus claim to be God?  The purpose of this article is still to answer this question from John’s gospel specifically, for the ultimate purpose is to understand the meaning of John 1:1c, where Jesus is identified as theos.

Jesus did not claim to be God.

Jesus did not claim to be God; He claimed to be the Son of God, as indicated by the following:

1. In response to the Jews’ accusation—quoted above—Jesus explicitly stated “I said, ‘I am the Son of God” (John 10:36).

2. John 5 records another heated interaction after Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath.  Jesus explained, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”  This made the Jews even more angry.  They said that Jesus “was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:16-18).  In other words, assuming that the Jews correctly understood what He said, Jesus did not claim to God; He called “God His own Father,” which is equivalent to claim, “I am the Son of God.

3. When the Jews accused Jesus before Pilate, they did not say that He claimed to be God.  They said, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God” (John 19:7).

4. In the conclusion of his gospel John explains the purpose of his gospel as follows: “These have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31).

For similar statements in the other gospels, see Luke 22:69-70.

If Jesus claimed to be God, this fact would have been very important and would have been repeated frequently and clearly.  But Jesus never claimed to be “God.”  He claimed to be the Son of God.

The Jews did not say that He claim to be God.

It is further proposed that it is not correct to translate John 10:33 as “You … make Yourself out to be God.”  This is shown by Jesus’ response to the accusation in 10:33:

34Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’? 35 “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came 36 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

Jesus’ defense is based on Psalm 82.  He interpreted that Psalm as saying that people, “to whom the word of God came,” are called “gods.”  To refer to people that are called “gods” would not have been a logical defense against an accusation that He made Himself out to be “God.

The Greek of John 10:33 simply reads theon, which is the same as theos, but with a different word ending.  Word endings do not change the meaning of words, but simply explain whether the word is the subject or object of the sentence.  Theon and theos can be translated as “God” or “god,” depending on further identification in the context.  It is proposed that the context required theon to be translated as “god” in this verse.

The Jews responded aggressively.

The Pharisees responded strongly to Jesus claim to be the Son of God:

The Jews answered him (Pilate), “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.” (John 19:7)

They said that Jesus “was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (5:16-18).

Were the Jews exaggerating when they interpreted Jesus, calling “God His own Father,” as claiming to be equal to God?

The Son of God

Today we are quite used to Christians being called sons of God.  The people who will be resurrected from the dead (Luke 20:34-36; Romans 8:19), peacemakers (Mt. 5:9) and believers (John 1:12; Rom. 8:14, 16; Gal. 3:26; 4:6; 1 John 3:1-2; Phil. 2:15) are all called “sons of God:”

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).

All who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).

The anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:19).

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26).

We therefore might find the strong reaction of the Jews strange.  However, Jesus did not claim to be a son of God; He claimed to be the Son of God.  As John wrote; “the only begotten Son of God” (3:18).  The NIV translates this as “the one and only Son of God.”

The devil tempted Jesus, saying to Him, “If You are the Son of God” (Mt. 4:3, 6; Luke 4:3, 9).

Whenever the unclean spirits saw Him, they would fall down before Him and shout, “You are the Son of God” (Mark 3:11; Luke 4:42)!

The Son of God is the Messiah.

The question is then, who did the Jews understand the Son of God to be?  The following verses identify the Son of God as the “Christ:”

Lazarus’ sister “said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world’” (John 11:27).

John concluded his gospel as follows: “these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31).

The high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God” (Mt. 26:63; cf. Mark 1:1).

“Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew title Messiah, as also indicated by the following:

He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ)” (John 1:41 ).

The Son of God is the King of Israel.

Nathaniel answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel” (John 1:49).

Tested unto death
Son of God

The chief priests also … were mocking Him and saying, He is the King of Israel let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God; let God rescue him now, if He delights in him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God” (Mt. 26:42-43).

The “magi from the east” asked, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?”  Herod then asked the chief priests and scribes “where the Messiah was to be born” (Mt. 2:1-5).  This confirms that the Messiah was understood to be the King of Israel.

This explains the strong reaction of the Jews; Jesus was claiming to be the King of Israel.  But at the same time He acted contrary to their expectations. As the two disciples walking to Emmaus said, they “were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.”  They expected the Messiah to free Israel from the Roman dominion.  Contrary to their expectation, He worked to free Israel from its sin.  The Jews therefore concluded that He is not the Messiah, but an impostor, and told Pilate, “He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God

Conclusion

The constant message and purpose of John’s gospel is to announce Jesus as the Messiah; the Son of God.  Jesus did not claim to be God.

NEXT: Jesus and the Father are one.