January 19, 2005
PLAINER WORDS . . . I AND MY FATHER ARE ONE
It was pointed out in an earlier study that; “In the ancient Hebrew culture of sonship, one became a child by birth, but the child became a son by investiture.” The quintessential office of Sonship was filled, or exemplified, by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Son was invested with all of the dignity, power, and the rights of the Father.
Jesus Christ was the perfect representative of the Father. Everything He did was the will of the Father. Every word He spoke were the words the Father had given Him to say. As the representative of the Father, he acknowledged 35 times in John’s Gospel that He was “sent” from the Father. Only several examples will be given; however, it is suggested it would be profitable to look up each occurrence in a concordance.
“But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me” (John 5:36).
“And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me” (John 8:16).
“Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me” (John 8:42).
Jesus Christ was truly the Sent One. He totally fulfilled His role as the Father’s Son; we probably can agree on this. There is, however, a more profound truth that many so-called Christians deny. They are in denial that Jesus Christ is the pre-existent Yahweh (LORD) of the Old Testament.
Some say, and have said, that Jesus never claimed to be God. These folks fall back on the ancient Arian philosophy and insist that Jesus Christ held a subordinate position to that of God. Sir Robert Anderson wrote concerning the so-called church fathers, “The Arian controversy indeed affords signal proof of what has often been noticed, that the Fathers were influenced by the paganism which prevailed around them, and in which so many of them had been steeped in before their conversion in Christianity. And to the pagan mind there was nothing absurd, or even incongruous, in the conception of a subordinate God, whereas, to us who think of God as a Supreme Being, it involves a contradiction in terms, and seems mere nonsense. With us, therefore, the issue is a definite and simple one, whether Christ is God, or only a man.”
As Anderson aptly pointed out, the Fathers brought into Christianity the baggage of paganism in the belief of a plurality of subordinate gods. They failed to consider the Hebrew concept that; “The LORD (Yahweh) our God, the LORD (Yahweh) is One” (Deut. 6:4) NIV. They ignored the idea that the Hebrews were Monotheistic.
The question that now arises is; “Did Jesus ever say, ‘I am God?’” He did not say it in those words. But, He clearly taught that He was. In John 10, there is recorded a conversation He had with the Temple Jews when He walked in the Temple in Solomon’s porch (vs. 23). The Jews gathered around Him and asked how long was He going to keep them in suspense? “If Thou be the Christ, tell us plainly” (vs. 24). Then, the Lord Jesus answered them (vs. 24-30), but they became infuriated; not because He failed to answer their question concerning if He was the Christ. They became enraged at His answer. In fact, so-much-so they took up stones again to stone Him (vs. 30).
Jesus said; “Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?” (vs. 32).
“The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God” (vs. 33).
What was it He said that “bent them all out of shape?”
“I and My Father are one” (vs. 30).
The Jews understood what the Lord Jesus said; even if today’s skeptics don’t get it. The Jews had asked Him to tell them, plainly, if He was the Christ. He had already done many works showing that He was, indeed, the Christ. There was no use in telling them that, yes, He was the Christ. Instead, He plainly said that He and the Father are ONE; meaning that Jesus Christ asserted that He was God. The Jews knew what Christ meant; being a man, he makes himself God.
I remember a comment by the late Howard W. White who said; “Jesus did not have to ‘make Himself God;’ God made Himself Jesus.”
The Lord Jesus continued talking with the Temple Jews who still held the stones in their hands, and then, He said to them in verse 38; “But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.”
This further infuriated the Jews because they understood that Jesus, the son of the carpenter, again said He and the Father were One—the Father is in Me, and I in Him.
“Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand” (vs. 39).
If Jesus was not both the Father and the Son, he was, indeed, a blasphemer, as well as an imposter.
Earlier in John, the Jews sought to kill Jesus because He said God was His Father. They understood what Sonship meant.
“Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18).
The word “equal,” according to Thayer’s Lexicon in John 5:18, means; “to claim for one’s self the nature, rank, and authority which belong to God.”
Boy! The Jews got it. Today, those who are in denial concerning the Deity of Jesus Christ just don’t seem to get it.
The Father and Son relationship cannot be understood by likening it to a man’s relationship to his male offspring. We need to give special consideration to God’s question; “To whom will ye liken God? Or what likeness will ye compare unto Him” (Isa. 40:18). Also, His statement; “Remember the former things of old: for I Am God, and there is none like Me” (Isa. 46:9). These words are to be believed. When these words are accepted as revelations from Him, we will cease comparing the Father and Son relationship by likening it to a daddy’s relationship with his male child.
Jesus said in John 8:42, “Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent Me.”
The fact that He proceeded forth and came from God (i.e. His Father) is not a likeness to me as having proceeded forth and came from my Daddy. Dad did not send me forth from him. My Mother had something to do with it. You might say that Mary also had something to do with it. The truth surrounding Jesus Christ proceeding from God has nothing to do with His birth. It has to do with the relationship of Deity regarding the Father and the Son. Remember; God is not a man (Num. 23:19). “To whom will you compare Me? Or who is My equal? Says the Holy One” (Isa. 40:25) NIV. It is foolish to try to make complete separations and sharp distinctions between the Father and the Son as if likening the difference between a human father and a human son.
“I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father” (John 16:28).
Here, Jesus said that He came forth from the Father. He’s not talking about His birth by means of the virgin Mary, but proceeding from the Father, which was a divine concept. This has no reference to any human experience. At some point in time, we do not leave this world and go to our human father. Jesus, the Son, did leave this world and returned to the Father and re-assumed the rightful Glory which was His before the world began.
Christ Jesus, “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (Phil. 2:6).
Deity was projected into the world in the human form of the Man Christ Jesus. He came from God, and He returned to God (John 3:13).
In John 17, the Lord Jesus lifted up His eyes toward heaven and prayed. In His prayer, He said in verse 5; “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began” NIV.
We should agree with Thomas, an intimate associate of the Lord Jesus Christ, when he declared; “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).
Tom L. Ballinger
This short postscript is added to the Plainer Words Online of January 19, 2005, titled I and My Father Are One.
The Lord Jesus Christ did say, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). In the context of this statement, it is to be viewed and understood only in the sense as it related to His person in His state at the time. His state at the time He made this statement was the time of His humiliation.
In John 6:62 He spoke of the Son of Man ascending to where He was before. This refers not just to the place but to the glory and position that had previously been His.
The following passages in Philippians sums up Christ’s state during His earthly ministry:
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (vs. 6-8).
The expression, “But made Himself” refers to time He takes the place of a man in a hostile world—a man of no reputation, in the form of a servant, fashioned as a man, Who humbled Himself, and was obedient even unto the death of the cross.
John 14:28 should not be used as an argument against His Deity.
Tom L. Ballinger
From Plainer Words
I And My Father Are One
Posted in: 2005
By Tom L. Ballinger
Mar 5, 2008 - 10:36:47 PM
Mar 5, 2008 - 10:36:47 PM
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