The short, definitive conversation that took place between Jesus and Philip becomes intimately personal for the true God seeker when he learns what ELSE Jesus said about the relationship that existed between Himself and the Father during His time on earth as a member of the human race. This series will reveal to the seeker that, in order to spend eternity with Jesus and the Almighty, he must have the exact same relationship with God and Christ that They had with each other. In order to believe this Biblical Truth the seeker must know with certainty that Jesus of Nazareth was a man exactly like the men among whom He lived. See Jesus of Nazareth–God, Man or God-man?
Now let us turn to the 17th chapter of John’s gospel where we find Jesus teaching His disciples perhaps the most important lesson they would ever learn. In 17:11 Jesus asked the Father to make the disciples “one” in the same way that He and the Father were “one.” This tells us that the men God had chosen to carry His gospel to the world had to be “one” corporately. These men would have to share the same mindset and speak the same Words–His gospel. Those Words would be the gospel which He had spoken to Jesus through His Holy Spirit. Jesus would then speak those same Words to His disciples who would later become apostles–sent ones). The key to the entire enterprise was and is obedience to God’s Words. Jesus obeyed His Words and the disciples would obey His (Jesus’) Words. This iron-clad obedience had to function corporately as well as individually because there would be only one Truth which they would share with the whole of mankind. Therefore, the 12 apostles, along with those who would follow them in ministry in the future, all had to think, speak and act in unison. Being perfect as God is perfect, His Words of life would remain unchanged throughout eternity. The Apostle Paul would later include this “One Truth Rule” in his letter to the church of Ephesus: “There is one body, one Spirit, … one calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God the Father of all who is above all and through all and in you all” (4:4-6). Though this oneness would be granted to the apostles through God’s grace, they would retain it through their faith and obedience. Jesus of Nazareth was no exception. As a man He maintained His oneness with the Father by obedience to Him. Not even God’s Messiah was exempt from that rule. Being a man like all other men, Jesus learned to obey the Father. It is for certain that we who follow in His spiritual footsteps are subject to that same divine Standard–God’s Word.
In John 17:21-23 we find Jesus taking the oneness rule a step farther by adding another dimension to His relationship with the Father. We find Him asking God to make the disciples “…ONE as You, Father are IN Me and I IN You, that they might also be ONE IN US.” Note it: The apostles were not only to be ONE WITH the Godhead (Father and Son), they were also to be ONE IN the Godhead. In social situations a couple might ask a friend to accompany them for an evening out. The friend is often compared to a “third wheel” on a two-wheeled vehicle. What this series will show is that with the addition of the “third wheel” (the saint) the two-wheeled vehicle (the Godhead) becomes a three-wheeler as Father and Son embrace another member. This divine revelation was as shocking to me as I’m sure it will be to you. If history is a teacher, most people who read this revelation will reject it outright. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:23, few salvation seekers will enter His strait (difficult) gate and walk His narrow (very restrictive) path to eternal life. We are told that, though many are called to do so, few will be chosen for answering the call.
In John 17:21 we find Jesus saying to the Father: “That they (the disciples) may be one; as You, Father, are IN Me and I am IN You, that they also may be ONE IN Us ….” We must not miss the significance of this statement. Note that the words “in” and “one” are used interchangeably to describe the relationship between the man Jesus and the spirit God. He then applies that principle to the true saint. He is saying that a disciple must be ONE WITH AND IN the Father and ONE WITH AND IN the Son. In the same way that Jesus is IN and ONE WITH the Father, and the Father is IN and ONE WITH Jesus, the true saint is IN and ONE WITH both the Father and the Son. Conversely, Father and Son are IN and ONE WITH the saint. This Truth applies to modern day salvation seekers because “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). A disciple is a disciple, regardless of the time element. A disciple is one who emulates (copies/reflects) another person. Only one who emulates (manifests the characteristics of) Jesus of Nazareth is His true disciple. Therefore, a true disciple of Christ is IN and ONE WITH both Christ and God. Conversely, Christ and God are IN and ONE WITH the true disciple. Just as Jesus was a disciple of God, a true saint is a disciple of Jesus. There is no other Biblical definition of discipleship. In verse 22 Jesus again states that the disciples had to be one as He and the Father were one. Nothing has changed. Strict obedience to God’s Word continues to be the key to the kingdom. In light of this information coming directly from the mouth of Jesus Himself, how do “only believe” and “I’m just a sinner saved by grace” fit into the gospel message? They don’t. Truly, Satan has deceived the whole world (Rev. 12:9). L.J.