10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
The Incarnation was miraculous because God came to be with us as one of us. We see Jesus experiencing the same pressures and temptations of society and the flesh that we face, yet He was without sin. Jesus primarily experienced the world and functioned as a man. As such, He did not initially reveal His identity as God. He could have proven His deity to the most ardent doubters. There is coming a day when He will show Himself in power and ever knee will bow and every tongue confess, but that was not the purpose of His first coming. He could have never walked and lived as we do if He hadn’t humbled Himself. He came as a servant instead of as the King. Jesus spoke cryptically so that He would not completely reveal Himself. He hid the truth of who He was so that He could interact man to man with saints and sinners alike.
1. Jesus deflected praise that was offered to Him. It wasn’t that He didn’t deserve it. It just wasn’t yet time to publicly accept it.
Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
2. Jesus silenced the demons so that they could not reveal His identity.
Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.
3. Early in His ministry, He asked recipients of healing not to testify of the great thing that He had done.
Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
4. The disciples were not allowed to reveal their experience on the Mt. of Transfiguration.
Now as they came down from the mountain, He commanded them that they should tell no one the things they had seen, till the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
5. Jesus spoke in parables when discussing the Father. Even His closest disciples, did not understand completely until after the resurrection.
“These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father
*This point is further discussed in my post, “Understanding God – Does it have to be difficult?” https://apostolically.squarespace.com/why-is-the-godhead-difficult-to-understand/
With this knowledge of the style of His speech and His intentions, let’s examine one of the references that Jesus made to the Father and Son.
John 14:23 (KJV)
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
If Jesus is one with the Father, why was a plural pronoun used?
Jesus spoke of His humanity separately from His Deity. On occasion, He spoke of God as if He was an entirely separate being. He spoke of the kingdom of God without explaining that it was His kingdom. He spoke of having faith in God without explaining to the audience that they would be trusting in Him. As cited previously, He said that only God is good. Notice that this was not just “God the Son” speaking of “God the Father” as if He was distinct. The man Christ Jesus spoke as if God was somehow distinct. Jesus hid the fact that He was God at all. Trinitarians and Oneness adherents agree with the testimony of the sum of scriptures that He wasn’t teaching that He was other than God. He simply wasn’t ready for everyone to know that He was God. Remember that the plan of redemption required God to show Himself in the world as a man, but it did not necessarily require that man to show Himself to the world as God.
We shouldn’t be surprised that Jesus sometimes made distinction between the work of the Son (flesh) and the work of the Father (Spirit). These are two distinct manifestations of God. To describe two manifestations, a plural pronoun is required. For example, I could say, “The Spirit of God was manifested to Israel as a fire and cloud. They went before Israel to lead them into the promised land.” “They” is obviously speaking of the one Spirit experienced in two distinct ways. Christ, a manifestation of God, was personally speaking while referencing another manifestation by which we can know the Lord. Instead of saying “they”, since He was including Himself, Christ said, “We” will abide with you.
How does God abide with us? Certainly this is speaking of spiritually abiding and not physically. He doesn’t dwell with us in some visible bodily form. His Spirit dwells in us.
4 There is one body, and one Spirit
There is only one Spirit abiding in us not two. Sometimes it is referenced as simply “the Spirit” or “the Spirit of God”, but don't be mistaken, it is the Spirit of Christ.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Those that refuse to acknowledge the existence of our Heavenly Father, the Creator of Heaven and earth, will never receive His Spirit. It is only received by obedient faith. Conversely, if the Jews that Jesus spoke to stubbornly refused to accept the fact that He truly was the Messiah, the Son of God, they would never receive the Spirit. The Spirit is available by trusting in God and believing in the atoning death of Christ. An understanding and belief in both manifestations is essential. To acknowledge Christ is to acknowledge the Father. To deny Christ is to deny the Father. When you receive Christ and His abiding presence, you receive the Father.
1 John 2:22-23
22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
Remember that Jesus Himself described these earlier statements as parables. Parables contain truth that is not always clearly seen immediately. Instead of basing my theology off of one or two figurative statements, I can cite many, many more examples of explicit statements using singular pronouns to describe God. If Trinitarians, can explain away the multitude of singular pronouns by claiming that the singular God can be plural persons, surely I can explain the use of a plural pronoun by pointing out that the one God has manifested Himself in multiple ways. This passage provides no more evidence for persons than for manifestations. ‘Manifestation” is a biblical term. “Persons” is never used in the Bible to describe God.
There is also a second possible explanation concerning this passage. It could be that Jesus was not referring to God dwelling in us but to us going with Him to live in Heaven. Let's read the context of His statement.
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
#1 Jesus was clearly speaking from the perspective of a man. He not only distinguished Himself from the Father, but He also distinguished Himself from God.
#2 As a man, He dwelled here on earth, but He would soon bodily ascend to Heaven. He referred to Heaven as the “Father’s house”.
#3 He promised to prepare us a place there (the Father’s House or Father’s abode) so that one day we could be with Him.
With this context in mind, let’s read verse 23.
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we (Jesus and those that love Him and keep His words) will come unto him (God), and make our abode with him (God).
God fills all of Heaven and earth simultaneously, yet Heaven in known as His dwelling place. God was in Christ. Christ was both man and God. As a true man, He could speak of God and to God in every way that any other man could. Speaking as a man, He would describe going to Heaven as going to God just like any other man would describe it. He promised that we could go to God with Him.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.