"That they may be one just we are
Letter to the Editor:
GOD'S MESSAGE, August 2008, p.4
I MUST ADMIT I'm just a beginner in studying the
teachings of the Bible. My recent retirement from work gave me the
opportunity to finally tend to my soul something I haven't
done for so many years
because of my former job.
Now that I'm relatively old, reading the Bible somehow gives
me the feeling that I'm patching up with the Lord.
However, there are verses in the Bible which
I honestly don't understand, or which
confuse me. For instance, though I
originally believe that the Father is different
from the Son, there are nevertheless biblical verses
which seem to teach otherwise. In John 17:22, for example, Christ
said to the Father, "We are one." Doesn't it teach that the Father
and the Son are one and the same?
We truly appreciate your effort in writing us to
ask questions concerning biblical teachings.
Regarding John 17:22 which many suppose is
teaching that "the Father and the Son are one and the same"
our Lord Jesus Christ, praying to the Father, simply said in the
"And the glory which You gave Me I have given
them, that they may be one just as We are one" (New King James
This statement, as you will see, does not in any
way teach that Christ is Himself the Father and vice versa, as how
others interpret the verse.
Verses 9 and 20 of that chapter inform us that
Christ was then praying for the believers or true Christians:
"I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but
for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. ... I do not
pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me
through their word" (Ibid)
As part of His prayer for the believers, Christ
then said to God in verse 22, "that they may be one just as We are
First, if we were to accept the interpretation
that Christ here was teaching that "He and the Father are one and
the same" then we would also have to accept the absurd and
unbiblical conclusion that Christ is praying that
all Christians become one and the same when he said "that they may
be one just as We are one."
Without isolating the phrase "We are
one" in John 17:22 from its proper context, the message
of Christ's prayer is very clear and does not result in an
"My prayer for all of them is that they will be
of one heart and mind, just as you and I are,
Father---that just as you are in me and I am in
you, so they will be in us, and
the world will believe you sent me. The
glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be
one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be
perfected in unity, so that the world may
know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You
have loved Me" (John 17:21,
Living Bible; John 17:22-23, New American
Standard Bible, emphasis ours)
It is clear therefore that the "one-ness" being
referred to by Christ in His prayer is neither His alleged being
"one and the same" with God, nor His supposed being God also as the
Father is, but His having "one heart and mind'' with the Father or
Furthermore, the teaching that Christ is also the
Father creates forthright contradictions. Just in the beginning of
John 17, the Gospel records, thus;
"After Jesus had finished speaking to his
disciples, he looked up toward heaven and prayed: Father, the
time has come for you to bring glory to your Son, in order that he
may bring glory to you,
"Eternal life is to know you, the only true
God, and to know Jesus Christ, the one you sent." (John 17:1,
3, Contemporary English Version)
Notice that Christ said, "Father, the time has
come for you to bring glory to your Son." This statement of Christ
clearly teaches that the Father to whom Christ was praying has a
Son. Now, if Jesus were Himself the Father, then who would be
the Son of Jesus to whom He would bring glory? It is therefore
very clear in these verses that when Jesus
looked up toward heaven and said "Father" He was neither referring
nor talking to Himself but to someone else—the Father who is the
only true God.
Finally, to prove that He differs from God who is
the Father, Christ said, "My Father is
greater than I (John 14:28, NKJV). The phrase
"greater than" obviously shows that two subjects distinct from each
other are being compared, for it is absurd and
illogical to say that one is greater than his own self.
Indubitably therefore, Christ and God
are not one and the same.
May our Lord God guide you in
search for truth.