John 20:17 - ‘My God and Your God’
‘I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.’
Watchtower teaching: The JW book Reasoning from the Scriptures,$p.212, says, ‘To the resurrected Jesus, the Father was God, just as the Father was God to Mary Magdalene’.
JWs argue that because Jesus referred to ‘My father’ and ‘my God’, Jesus cannot be Almighty God Himself.
The Bible teaching: Why did Jesus call the Father ‘my God’? Does this imply that Jesus is not God? No, not at all. Christ had only a divine nature before the incarnation. After His birth as a man, He took on a human nature. Therefore, it is in Christ’s humanity that He acknowledged the Father as ‘my God’.
Key verse: ‘Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God.’ Heb 2:17
Since Christ came as a man and since some of man’s proper duties are to worship God, pray to God and address God as ‘My Father’ and ‘My God’, then it was perfectly correct for Jesus (speaking as a man) to address the Father in prayer and to call Him ‘My God’.
Question: Why didn’t Jesus just say, ‘I am ascending to our Father and our God?’
Answer: Jesus always carefully distinguished His relationship with the Father from humans’ relationship with the Father.
Key: Jesus was God’s Son by nature, but Christians are God’s sons by adoption.
Jesus never spoke of the Father as ‘Our Father’ but as ‘the Father’ or ‘My Father’ (The Lord’s Prayer is how Christians (Our) should pray.)
Question: ‘Why did Jesus always say ‘the Father’ or ‘my Father’ but never ‘our Father’?
Conclusion: Because Jesus is God’s Son by nature, He is truly God.
Because Jesus is also truly a man by nature, He can call the Father ‘my God’.
By Space Merchant
The Gospel of John
Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and My God."
The Trinitarian Claim
Mainstream Trinitarian Christians claim that Thomas himself is identifying Jesus as "God."
The Claim vs. The Facts
The facts that come straight from the very pages of the scriptures inÂ the BibleÂ shows us that Thomas was confessing what Jesus had taught him - to see Jesus is to see the Father (JohnÂ 14:10-11; 12:44-45). That human flesh named Jesus declares the Father (JohnÂ 1:18). In fact, the entire point of the Gospel of John is to illustrate how the man Jesus made God the Father known.
1. What Thomas finally believed: That Jesus, The Christ, had Risen from the Dead
The Trinitarian interpretation is based on the notion that Thomas took this opportunity to declare Jesus himself is his God. However, this interpretation defies the context itself. The account is not about Thomas doubting who Jesus was but whether Jesus was alive from the dead. Thomas had doubted his Lord's resurrection and declared he would not believe he had risen until he had seen Jesus for himself.
We can see this clearly when we read in the bible, John 20:25:
John 20:25 -Â So the other disciples told him, Â“We have seen the Lord.Â” But he said to them, Â“Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.Â” In John 20:27, Jesus tells Thomas to see the wounds in his hand and side proving that he was indeed risen from the dead:
John 20:27 - Then he said to Thomas, Â“Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.Â” The following verse, 28 (John 20:28), we see Thomas' response to Jesus:
John 20:28 -Â Thomas answered him, Â“My Lord and my God!Â” For Thomas' response to JesusÂ is based on finally believing that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. Jesus then responds to Thomas:
John 20:29 -Â Jesus said to him, Â“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.Â” For Jesus was pretty much saying that ThomasÂ was blessed to finally believe because he had seen him. Jesus' response refers to the fact that Thomas had finally believed he had risen from the dead. Trinitarians read John 20:29Â as if Jesus is blessing Thomas for believing he is his God. However, the entire point of the passage is that Thomas had finally believed Jesus had risen from the dead. But as always, for some reason, this fact is completely lost onÂ the entirety of the mainstream ChristendomÂ when they read the passage. They read John 20:29 as if Jesus blessed Thomas for declaring he is God when the entire point of the passage is that Thomas finally believed Jesus rose from the dead. This obvious disconnect is likely due to the fact that the typical Trinitarian has no idea why Thomas would say "My Lord and my God" in response to finally believing Jesus had risen from the dead. This very fact alone demonstrates they simply do not know what is going on or what such a passage even informs us about.
2. A Flawed Assumption
The Trinitarian interpretation of this passage is also based upon a very defective assumption that sits on no foundation, whatsoever. Trinitarians suppose that since Thomas said these words to Jesus, then he must have taken this opportunity to declare that Jesus is his God (my God). However, as the following passage demonstrates, this assumption is highly flawed.
Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection
(21) From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. (22) And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, Â“Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.Â” (23) But he turned and said to Peter, Â“Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindranceÂ to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.Â” Â
If we interpreted the above passage in the very same manner as Trinitarians interpret John 20:28, we would then be required to conclude Peter is Satan himself. But this is obviously incorrect. Even though Jesus said these words directly to Peter, we know it does not mean Peter is Satan himself. Hence, we must inquire whether a similar situation may be taking place at John 20:28. The text says Thomas said these words to Jesus. It does not say that Thomas "called" Jesus "God."
3. The Surrounding Context
The immediate context militates against the Trinitarian claim. In the preceding context, Jesus describes his Father as his God and Mary's God rather than identifying himself as her God. The verse in question is John 20:17, for it says:
John 20:17 -Â Jesus said to her, Â“Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, Â‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.Â’Â” In the following context, John indicates that he wrote this Gospel, including the account of Jesus and Thomas, not to tell us that Jesus is himself God but so that we might believe that Jesus is God's son:
We have seen the Lord. (20:25). I ascend to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God. (20:17) These things have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and that believing you may have life in his name. (20:31). The Trinitarian interpretation of verse 28 (John 20:28) disregards and defies these contextual facts of what is really being explained here.
4. The Significance of the Greek Grammar
Thomas literally said to Jesus, "the Lord of me and the God of me." Now if Thomas had said, "the Lord and God of me," the Trinitarian claim would carry much more weight. The latter statement would be the kind of language you would normally use in Greek to refer to one person as both your Lord and your God. But this is not the language Thomas used. He used a language convention which Greek speakers would use when they wanted to refer to two persons, "the Lord of me and the God of me." Â Verse 17 (John 20:17) is also highly significant here. Jesus says he will ascend to "the Father of you and Father of me and God of you and God of me." This is the kind of language a Greek speaker would use if he wanted to refer to just one person. He did not say he will ascend to, "the Father of you and the Father of me and the God of you and the God of me." This fact tells us that John was definitively selective about his language structures and would use the verse 17 language structure when he wanted to refer to one person. John did not use this one personÂ language structure when he wrote John 20:28. He does not record Thomas as saying, "the Lord and God of me." Rather, he used the language structure used by Greek speakers to refer to two persons, "the Lord of me and the God of me." Additionally, it is also significant that Thomas did not say, "the Lord and the God of me." Rather, he said, "the Lord of me and the God of of me." Â We can take into example and compare the following two verses that will be listed below. If the first verse below refers to two persons, the second verse is very evident as to which structure has been used: Â This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. (1 Jn. 2:22) Thomas answered and said to him, "the Lord of me and the God of me." (Jn. 20:28) Â However, this language structure is occasionally used in Scripture when referring to one person. For example, it is sometimes used to draw a distinction between two different roles that one person might serve (see John 13:13-14). So even though this is the language construction used by Greek speakers to refer to more two persons, this fact alone does not make it certain. Therefore, we must ask ourselves if there is additional information in our Bible which demonstrates Thomas was referring to two persons. And the answer to that question is, "Yes, there is additional information in the Scriptures which demonstrates that Thomas was referring to two persons." Â 4. Thomas' God IS Jesus Christ's God Â Trinitarians seem to be completely blind and or remaining ignorant of what is actucally in front of them when it comesÂ to the fact that any mention of the true God is necessarily a reference to Jesus Christ's God. This is inescapable since there is only one God. So when Thomas says, "my God" he is necessarily referring to Jesus Christ's God, that is, the Father. Â I ascend to my Father and your Father and my God and your God. Â Thomas is necessarily referring to Jesus Christ's God when he says "my God" is inescapable since there is only one God. And indeed, Jesus had just affirmed this fact at John 20:17. Therefore, Thomas is necessarily referring to the Father. And that fact speaks directly to what the entire Gospel of John is about. Â 5. The Holy Spirit Proceeds from THE FATHER Â At John 20:28, Jesus had risen from the dead but Thomas would not believe this unless he had seen Jesus for himself. Now, carefully compare these verses: Â John 15:26 -Â But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. John 20:21-22 - (21) Jesus said to them again, Â“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.Â” (22) And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, Â“Receive the Holy Spirit. John 14:20 -Â In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. (see 14:9-11) Â Jesus breathed the Spirit out from himself yet he already promised them that it would be the Spirit which proceeds from THE FATHER. "In that day, you will know..." Thomas knew. Jesus was in the Father and the Father was in Jesus. Â Analysis of the Facts Â Â 1. The Context: Seeing and Believing Â But Thomas called, Didymus (Didymus which means "the twin", also a surname of the Apostle Thomas), one of the 12, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, Â“We have seen the Lord!Â” But he said to them, Â“Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.Â” After 8 days his disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in their midst and said, Â“Peace be with you.Â” Then he said to Thomas, Â“Reach here with your finger, and see my hands and reach here and put your hand into my side and do not be unbelieving, but believing.Â” Thomas answered and said to him, Â“My Lord and my God!Â” Jesus said to him, Â“Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are they who do not see, and yet believe.Â” John 20:24-29 Â John 20:24-29 - (24) Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin,Â was not with them when Jesus came. (25) So the other disciples told him, Â“We have seen the Lord.Â” But he said to them, Â“Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.Â” (26) Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Â“Peace be with you.Â” (27) Then he said to Thomas, Â“Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.Â” (28) Thomas answered him, Â“My Lord and my God!Â” (29) Jesus said to him, Â“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.Â” Â The context of John 20:28 involves the theme of seeing and believing. The risen Jesus had already appeared to the disciples but Thomas was not present. So when they declared they had seen Jesus, Thomas declared he would not believe Jesus had risen until he had seen Jesus for himself complete with the wounds in his hands and side. Jesus then appeared to Thomas and said, "Reach here with your finger, and see my hands, and reach here your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believing." And after Thomas responded to him, Jesus responds back to Thomas, "Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are they who do not see, and yet believe." It is quite clear that seeing and believing is the point of this account. Â 2. Seeing and Believing: What Jesus had taught Thomas and the disciples Â Â In the Gospel of John, Jesus informs his disciples that he is going away and they become very troubled. But he tells them not to be troubled for they know they way. But they are still confused so Jesus explains: Â And you know the way where I am going.Â” Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going, how do we know the way?Â” Jesus said to him, Â“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." Philip said to him, Â“Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father." Â The context of John 20:28 is seeing and believing. Jesus had taught Thomas and his disciples about seeing and believing. To see Jesus was not to see just one person but two persons: Â (1) Jesus their Lord, and (2) their God and Father Â Jesus also explained to them precisely howÂ they had seen the Father. In the next breath, Jesus said, "the Father abiding in me does the works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, otherwise believe because of the works themselves." (John 14:10-11). At John 12:44-45, Jesus made a similar declaration to the Jews where he said that to see/believe him was to see/believe the One who sent him. To know Jesus was to know the Father; to believe in Jesus was to believe in the Father; to see Jesus was to see the Father. This is because Jesus was sent by the Father to speak and do works in his Father's name. And even more so, it was the Father abiding in him that did the works. In this way, Jesus was the Father's Word of Truth. And in this way, Jesus explains, they had seen the Father when they had seen Jesus. Â At John 1:18, John tells us that no one has ever seen God but the only begotten in the bosom of the Father declares/explains HIM. This is precisely what Jesus is talking about in chapter 14 in the Gospel of John when he teaches his disciples about seeing and believing. To see Jesus is to see the Father. To see Jesus is to see not just one person but two persons. The text says Thomas said these words to Jesus. The text does not say that Thomas "called" Jesus "God." Why then would Thomas say these words to Jesus? We are explicitly told why by Jesus in the Gospel of John. To see Jesus was to see someone else: his Father. To see Jesus was to see not just one person but two. And that is precisely what Thomas is confessing at John 20:28.
3. In that Day you will know Â Â Carefully compare these two teachings from Jesus: Â John 14:9-10 - (9) Jesus said to him, Â“Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, Â‘Show us the FatherÂ’? (10) Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. John 14:20 -Â In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Â Jesus is telling us disciples that they would fully realize the truth of this matter "on that Day." That day is when he rose from the dead. "After a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know I am in my Father. (14:19-20). He also taught them that the Spirit would remind them of everything he had just taught them (14:26). On that Day, the disciples would know that Jesus was in the Father. Â And again, Jesus had breathed the Spirit into his disciples, that same Spirit which he said proceeds from THE FATHER and which he would send to them. This happened because he was raised in the Spirit and glory of the Father when God raised him from the dead. The Lord IS the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17; 1 Cor. 14:45) and for that reason, he could breathe the Spirit out from himself, the Spirit that proceeds from the Father. Â When we put all these facts together, the answer is clear, undeniable and very understandable. To see Jesus is to see the Father. To see Jesus was to see two persons, Jesus and the Father. Jesus taught Thomas and the disciples that they would know in that Day that Jesus was in the Father. The reason for Thomas' words is clearly explained in the Scriptures in this selfsame Gospel of John. Â Conclusion Â Â Since there is only one God, Thomas was necessarily referring to Jesus Christ's God when he said, "my God." When all the evidence is put before us, there is simply no doubt that Thomas was affirming Jesus' earlier teaching to him, that to see and believe in Jesus was to see and believe in the Father, the God of Jesus, the God of Thomas (20:17). Jesus himself tells us in this Gospel that he declared/explained the Father in terms of everything he said and did. John tells us the same thing - Jesus came so that we might know the Father, the true God (1 John 5:20). He is the Way to the Father and through Him we know the Father. Jesus explained that they saw the Father when they saw Jesus because the Father abiding in him did the works (14:9-10). How much more then was the Father abiding in that dead body which had the Father had risen from the dead by the power of His Holy Spirit which proceeds from THE FATHER and which Jesus breathed into his disciples (see 20:21-22). Since seeing Jesus meant seeing the Father, Thomas said to Jesus, "My Lord and my God. Thomas is confessing what the entire Gospel of John is about. Jesus made the Father known to the people of the world. The only begotten declares/explains the Father. For that reason, to see Jesus is to see the Father. To see the Lord Jesus is to see the Father, our God, and Jesus Christ's God. Â John 20:29 - Blessed are you Thomas. Because you have seen, you have believed. Â John 12:44-45 - (44) And Jesus cried out and said, Â“Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. (45) And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. Â John 20:28 - My Lord and my God.
By The Librarian
The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
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