Jesus and the Father were inseparable. They thought alike, acted alike and worked together as one. In this scripture we see the depth of their relationship when Jesus says to Philip, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me?” (Verse 10)
So close were they that you could not tell any difference and Jesus sounding a little exasperated says also to Philip, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (Verse 9)
So today let us look at these words and think through the implications of what the Lord was teaching the disciples.
Being “in” the Father
Philip had asked the Lord saying, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” (Verse 8) This was the catalyst for this conversation and Jesus was somewhat stunned that the disciples would even ask the question.
It is human nature to want to see something to believe it. How often has it been said that “Seeing is believing.” But in Christ we do not walk by sight but by faith as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:7. So all of the human elements of understanding are irrelevant when we speak of walking with Christ and walking with God. We need to use the “eyes” of the Spirit to see what Jesus is talking about.
First, is it possible that the Father was actually “in” Jesus? Yes it is. We know that it is possible for the spirit to dwell within the flesh of a man, so it is possible for God the Father to dwell within the flesh of Christ for God is spirit.
So was the Father actually “dwelling in” Jesus Christ? Let’s look at this some more.
The “Indwelling” Father
We know that the Holy Spirit when received dwells within a person. This is shown in several scriptures, the most obvious of which is in John 14:16-17.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever,
17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.
So the Holy Spirit when it is sent to us by God dwells and lives within us to teach, guide, counsel and comfort us as we walk in the Lord.
Now back in verse 10 of this section we see Jesus say these words to Philip.
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father 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.
Jesus actually uses the words, “dwells in me” to describe the relationship between Jesus and the Father. He says that the Father is “in” Him and “dwells” in Him to do the work that the Father wants done. Jesus makes it quite plain that it is the works of the Father that He is doing and that it is the Father doing the works by dwelling in Jesus.
The two of them, Jesus and the Father, are working together as one in completing the work of salvation. They are in it together and it is apparent that at times the Father dwelt in Jesus to do the work.
Whether He was in Jesus ALL the time I am not sure. I tend to think not for when Jesus cried out as He was dying, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), it suggests the Father was not with Him at that instant.
So we see that it would appear that the Father did dwell “in” Jesus at least some of the time if not all the time.
Jesus “in” the Father
Now Jesus didn’t just say that the Father was “in” Him, he also said the reverse too. He said in verse 10, “I am in the Father and the Father in me.”
We have looked at how the Father could be “in” Jesus, but how was Jesus “in” the Father? I believe the answer again lies in seeing with the Spirit rather than seeing with your eyes.
Jesus instructs us to abide in Him in John 15:4-5 and by abiding in Him we will bear fruit for Him.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
To abide in Jesus is to live “in” Him by following His ways, learning what He would have us do and devoting our entire existence and being to serving Him.
Furthermore we also are able to “enter into Him” through taking on His death and resurrection in baptism. When we are baptised in water we die with Jesus and are raised with Him. That is why Paul speaks about being “in” Christ when we are baptised. Look carefully at what Paul writes in Romans 6:1-10.
1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.
7 For he who has died is freed from sin.
8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.
9 For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.
10 The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
He begins by talking about living “in” sin. Most people can easily accept that they have been living in sin. Sin formed the great part of their life before coming to Christ. They were immersed in sin because they were “in” sin and sin was “in” them. Sin was inseparable from each person because it was the nature of man to sin.
In the same way we see that we are now removed from living “in” sin through entering into Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection by baptism. We are no longer living “in” sin but are now living “in” the Grace of God. We have died to sin by entering “in” the death of Jesus through baptism, so that we can now live as new creations, born again “in” newness of life through the resurrection of Jesus. Just as He arose to a new life “in” the Spirit, so too we arose with Him as we are lifted from the baptismal waters to live “in” Him as new creations.
The key to this whole section is in the last verse where Paul tells us how we must now THINK. This is about seeing with the Spirit, not the eyes. This is about walking by faith and not by sight for ALL of this teaching about baptism, death, resurrection, being born again as new creations exists ONLY through faith and the Grace of God.
So we see that Paul says in the final verse above, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” We are dead to sin as long as we believe we are dead to sin and we are alive to God as long as we believe we are alive to God…”IN” Christ Jesus. We cannot be alive to God separated from Jesus, just as the branch separated from the tree withers and dies. We can only be alive to God when we are “IN” Jesus through faith, abiding with Him and drawing our nourishment, strength and power from Him to overcome.
So when Jesus said that He was “in” the Father, I believe He was saying much the same as how we are “in” Him. As we must abide in the Son for our life, so too Jesus showed that He abided “in” the Father to do the work He was here to do.
This is a difficult and complicated teaching and I don’t suggest I have it completely nailed yet. So it’s over to you. What are your thoughts about this? What have I missed or got wrong here? I am open to any thoughts on this matter that you may have and that may upbuild others. Please add any comments below.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Shirley B)