Still gathered around the table in the upper room—the same table where the last Passover meal was shared—Jesus gives his disciples a series of encouraging remarks. One such remark has left many Biblical Unitarians scratching their heads:
“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:11a).
What does he mean… in? Jesus in the Father? And the Father in Jesus?
I teach English to sixth graders for a living, so I’m well aware of how tricky prepositions can be. In, the supposedly simple, two-letter word, has 18 different usages according to the Oxford dictionary. Now consider we’re reading the translation from the original Aramaic words Jesus spoke to Greek to English, which has muddled the meaning even further.
Fortunately for us, Jesus uses similar language just a couple pages later, in John 17:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21).
“I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:26).
In these passages, in refers to a tight bond. The intimate relationship between God and Jesus is available to you, too. You can have close communion with the church body, with Jesus, and with God himself.
Now, it’s clear that Jesus wasn’t pointing to a trinity, but a… billionity. Okay, I made that word up (I have an English degree, so I get to do stuff like that). Through Jesus we have unity with God and unity with each other—with all the believers on earth. We’re perfectly bound together with love.
Jesus is the glue that holds us all together. He takes a billion broken people and makes us Church.
From him (Jesus) the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work (Ephesians 4:16).
Discussion & Reflection Questions:
- Why did Jesus place such high importance on Church? What can we accomplish together that we cannot do on our own?
- Are you doing more than just sitting in the same row with people at Church? How are you, personally, contributing to the mission of the Church?
- Thank God for your Church family. Pick a few fellow members and send them a card or a text, telling them of the impact they’ve made on your life.