Hello everyone. As I said, we’d not cover anything we had earlier in our study of the Trinity and I’m persuaded that we have. I’d like to move on to what is unique in John in the resurrection account. For those just joining us, we are going through the New Testament trying to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at one of the so-called “problem verses” that is frequently used by Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. That will be John 20:17.
17Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ “
So the text says that Jesus has a God and that God is his Father. Now if Jesus has a God and Father, it should be clear that he can’t be God.
I hope many of you who have been reading along for awhile in this series see the problem that’s shown up.
Whenever I get this verse, I always like to ask the person who presents it something. Why did Jesus say what he said? Wouldn’t it have been easier to say “Our God and Father?” Instead, Jesus seems to be going a long way and saying “My God and your God. My Father and your Father.” Why?
Jesus is not primarily making a statement about his deity. He is making a statement about what he has just done. Jesus has always been the Son by his nature. He has also lived a life in full submission to the Father and can be just as easily said to have a God then. After all, Jesus is not an atheist.
What we have, we do not have by nature. In John 8, we were told that the Jews were children of the devil. Paul will tell us in the epistles that we are children of wrath. None of us is a child of God by nature. (The passage in Acts 17:28 best refers to us as offspring and does not speak of our nation but simply saying that all mankind comes from God.)
But didn’t Jesus pray “Our Father” in the Lord’s prayer? Yes he did, but do note that that is how he taught his disciples how to pray. He was not including himself in that group. For the first time, Jesus is making a distinction and bringing them together.
Jesus is saying that he has been the Son by nature and been in fellowship with God from time eternity by nature. Now, that is being extended. The way to be adopted into the family of God has come about because of the resurrection of Christ. The way to be able to call God your God is there because of the resurrection of Christ.
In conclusion, we see that a verse that supposedly is to be a problem for us is nothing of the sort. Instead, it is the same error of unipersonalism that keeps coming up from those who deny the Trinity.