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Christ’s Unity with and Obedience to the Father

Throughout the New Testament we are told about Christ’s unity with the Father. Their connection is eternally intimate, and it is not bound by time or space, like human relationships. Their unity is more than we can comprehend on this side of eternity. While we cannot conceive of the depth of this truth, we are able to catch glimpses of it in the Scriptures. In John 12, we get a glimpse on Jesus’ unity with the Father:

And Jesus cried out and said, ‘Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.’ -John 12:44-45, ESV

Jesus’ unity with the Father runs so deep that he is able to say that if you believe in him and see him then you believe and see the Father. This is an essential aspect of Christianity that many people do not understand. The Father and the Son are not two different deities. Christianity does not create two more gods in the Son and Holy Spirit, rather Christianity gives us more information about the God revealed to us in the Old Testament. God is three persons unified by deity and purpose. This passage highlights the Trinity’s unity. Not only are Jesus and the Father unified, but Jesus also shows amazing obedience to the Father’s will. John 12:46-50 says:

‘I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.’

This passage contains many truths that I could dive into, but I want to highlight the obedience that Jesus’ tells us about. Jesus did not come into this world to fulfill his own mission. Jesus came into this world to complete the Father’s mission. This is why Jesus says, “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.” Jesus’ authority and his teachings come from the Father. Through Jesus’ teachings, Jesus shows his undying obedience to the Father. Not only that, Jesus’ obedience shows us his unity with the Father. John 17:1-5 says:

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.’ 

Jesus knew that he was going to be betrayed by Judas for 30 pieces of silver. Jesus knew that he was going to go to the cross and pay for the sins of mankind. Jesus knew the future, yet he still went to the cross. And through his death, Jesus showed his amazing obedience to the Father and his united mission with the Father…to save people from every tribe, tongue, and nation.

Thanks for reading.

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What Did Jesus Mean in John 10:30? (A Response to Muslims and Unitarians)

A few days ago I posted an article entitled, “Are You a Sheep?” The post focused on Jesus’ words found in John 10: 24-30. This post will also revolve around Jesus’ words in this text but, we will only be looking at verse 30. This is what Jesus says in John 10:30:

‘I and the Father are one.’ -ESV

Other religious groups dislike this passage of Scripture. Muslims cannot fathom the idea that God would ever become a man and, because of their presuppositions, they cannot accept Jesus’ words. Muslims believe that Jesus was a good teacher and a prophet sent by God. Muslims believe that Jesus did many of the miracles that we find in Scripture but, they reject his deity. The real question is, based on this passage, should they?

Muslims, and others, will say that Jesus never makes it clear that he is divine but, this passage of Scripture does not support that assertion. Notice how the Jews respond to Jesus’ words in verse 30:

31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?’ 33 The Jews answered him, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.’ -John 10: 31-33

The Jews pick up stones to kill Jesus and, Jesus asks them why they are upset. They accuse Jesus of blasphemy because, as it says in verse 33, Jesus made himself God. The Jews knew exactly what Jesus was saying. Jesus was placing himself on the same level as the Father and, according to the Old Testament, it was blasphemous for a mere man to say those words. In light of the Jews reaction the Muslim has to answer this question, “If Jesus wasn’t claiming deity, why did the Jews want to stone Jesus?” The Jews make it clear why they were going to stone Jesus. Jesus was claiming deity.

Unitarians also misuse this passage but for a different reason. Merriam-Webster gives a good definition of “Unitarian” as:

one who believes that the deity exists only in one person

Unitarians believe that God exists in one person and, on the surface Jesus’ words seem to reflect this. The Unitarian will often claim that Jesus is saying that he and the Father are one person but, is Jesus really saying that? I bet you can guess the answer.

In John 10:30 Jesus uses a plural verb. So, when Jesus says, “I and the Father are one,” the “are” is plural. The Greek word used is  ἐσμεν (esmen) which is the plural form of εἰμί (eimi). The Greek word “eimi” is defined by the NAS Exhaustive Concordance as:

I exist, I am

The plural form of these words would be, “we exist, we are”. Unitarians teach that Jesus means, “I and the Father is one,” but, Jesus didn’t use a singular verb. Since the plural form of the verb is used a more accurate translation would be, “I and the Father, we are one.” Jesus is clearly stating that the Father and himself are both God yet, he makes a distinction between them. They are unified in deity but are different in personhood.

Jesus’ words are wonderful and amazing but, there will always be people attempting to twist his words to fit their views. When the Muslim, or anyone else, says that Jesus never spoke clearly about his deity, you can point them to Jesus’ words in John 10:30 and the Jew’s response that followed. When the Unitarian, or anyone else, denies the Trinity you can point them to Jesus’ use of the plural verb in verse 30.

Every Christian needs to be ready to answer every objection to the faith and, I pray this article will help you do that.

Thanks for reading.

The Spirit of God in the Christian’s Life

The Holy Spirit is often ignored or not understood by Christians. I know in my life I have not only been naive about the role and importance of the Holy Spirit but I have ignored them altogether at times. There are many differing views of the Holy Spirit and his role in the life of a Christian. However, I have recently been studying this topic in depth. I have been reading through the book of 1 Corinthians with a very special lady and something came up in our conversation about chapter 2. Verse 10 says this: “these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God,” (1 Corinthians 2:10 ESV). We were chewing on what this passage means when Paul wrote it and what it means to us as believers a couple of thousand years later. What does Paul intend to communicate with writing, “the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God”? Fortunately for us Paul goes on to give us more about this passage.

The next verse says, “For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:11 ESV) There are a couple of interesting aspects to this verse. Paul gives us a great example so that we can understand what Paul means in verse 10. #1 Paul uses the human spirit as an example. The greek word for the human spirit that Paul uses here is: “pneuma”. The Strong’s Lexicon defines it one way as “the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides”. With that definition what does Paul’s example mean? The meaning is that our inner most being that controls our thoughts and feelings and understands the reasoning behind them. The Spirit understands the deepest aspects of God. The Spirit comprehends the reasons behind God’s thoughts, feelings and decisions. But, this example goes even deeper than that. #2 This passage is a beautiful endorsement for the Trinity. A person is not a person if there is no soul or spirit. The spirit of a person cannot be separated from the human being. In the same manner the Spirit cannot be separated from the Triune God. The Spirit is an integral part of God and that is something that Christians should understand.

The best part is that we, as believers, are given the power to understand God through the Spirit. “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God,” (1 Corinthians 2:12 ESV). This is really mind blowing when we consider that God is all knowing, all powerful and so deep that the human mind cannot comprehend him on his/her own. That is the role of the Spirit. We can only comprehend, understand and grasp more about God through the power of the Holy Spirit. The last portion of this verse also indicates that our knowledge about God is given by God. So, we should be asking God for more knowledge and understanding regarding the “the depths of God”.

My prayer and hope is that Christians will come to a deeper understanding of the Spirit’s role and importance in the Christian walk. May we all “understand the things freely given to us by God”.

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