Are We Jesus?
The Scripture says that the Father was in Jesus and Jesus was in the Father. Then Jesus says that we are in Him and He is in us. If the first phrase means that Jesus is God, then does the second phrase mean that we are Jesus?
This question is really one addressing the idea of meaning. Do words or phrases have a fixed, static meaning, or can they fluctuate with the change of context? I argue that they change with the context. Words do not have any inherent meaning. All meaning is derived from association and relationship with other words. Dictionaries do not define words; usage defines words. Dictionaries only record the way in which words are used in different contexts.
We know that when Jesus declared that He was in the Father, and the Father was in Him, that this was a claim to deity. John 10:38 clearly bears this meaning. Contextually speaking (John 10:30-39), Jesus was defending the idea that He was the Son of God. The Jews understood Him to be claiming to be God Himself. Jesus defended this understanding of theirs instead of denying it.
Two other occurrences of this saying are found in John 14:10-11. Based on Jesus' prior use of this phrase, we have no reason to doubt that He is claiming deity again. He said He was in the Father and the Father was in Him. We might be able to understand how the Father could be in Jesus (because the Father is a Spirit), but how can Jesus be in the Father? How can humanity be in the deity? I find this phrase to be indicative of the hypostatic union, because Christ's humanity has been permanently incorporated into the Godhead, and the Godhead has become a human being. Truly Jesus was in the Father and the Father was in Him.
When it comes to Jesus' statement that we are in Him, and He is in us (John 14:20), notice that we are said to be in Christ, and Christ in us. This is no different than what Jesus was saying in the preceding verses. He said the Holy Ghost would come to them and be in them, and then He said that He (Jesus) would come to them (John 14:16-18). As the Spirit of God, Jesus did come and fill the apostles, thus He was "in them." The question is, how are we in Christ? It cannot mean that we are physically in Him, just like He is not physically in us. The only other logical explanation then is that Jesus is speaking of being in Him in a spiritual sense.
This concept of "us being in Him" is very common in Pauline thought (it appears about 164 times). He frequently speaks of Christians being "in Christ." Romans 8:1; 12:5; 16:7; I Corinthians 1:30; 15:18, 22; II Corinthians 5:17, and Ephesians 1:10 are just a few of the many Scriptures that speak of this concept. In each case it speaks of a spiritual union with Christ. Being in Christ is the way in which we receive salvation. We cannot come before God on our own merit, but when we put on Christ (Galatians 3:27; Romans 6 & 8)--which occurs when we are saved--we receive all of His benefits. We die because we are unified with Him in His death. We will resurrect from the dead because we are in Him. Just as He raised from the dead, so will we because we are in Him. When we are in Christ, whatever He did, God considers us as doing. Whatever He accomplished, God considers us as having accomplished the same. He overcame death, so likewise since we are in Him, we will also overcome death
Concerning John 17:21, here Jesus is speaking of a unity of will and purpose. All this demonstrates is that words are defined by their context. In John 10 and 14, clearly the phrase indicated deity. In John 10 he was defending that He was God. In John 14 He was claiming to be the Holy Spirit who would come and fill believers. In John 17 He is speaking of the unity between He and the Father, and believers and Himself. This only demonstrates that in some contexts Jesus was emphasizing His divine nature, and in other contexts He was emphasizing His human nature, when He said that He was in the Father and the Father in Him, or when He says that He is one with the Father. This demonstrates Jesus' dual nature—that He is both human and divine.
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