The monotheistic “We”

Wailing Wall, Jerusalem, Israel

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 

2 Corinthians 13:14 (ESV) 

A while back, I watched a documentary produced by Jews about Jewishness. The show was fascinating but sad. Oh, how we “goy” (i.e., Gentiles) have persecuted the Jews since their dispersion.

If you know someone that is Jewish, consider apologizing to them, for surely somewhere in your ancestry “you” (and I) have badly mistreated Jews. Anyway, in this documentary a Jewish leader affirmed that Islam is monotheistic but implied that Christians are not monotheistic because we believe in a triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He then made a remark that has been rolling around in me ever since. He said, “Three? Why not four or five?” 

My human response to his comment was a desire to meet him and explain that the God he serves is the true monotheistic “We.” While it is true that God did not openly reveal His triune nature until the New Testament, it is also true that once revealed, we, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, have been able to go back to Old Testament Scriptures and discover the truth of the Trinity in passages that previously were opaque to this truth (see Daniel 3:25). When Jesus came into the world, the trinity of God was revealed. 

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. Jesus said to him, “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, ‘Show us the Father’?   

John 14:8-9 (ESV)

In Christ’s reply to Philip we find the monotheistic “We.” Jesus tells Philip that He is God and God is one. Notice that Jesus does not say that “Father” is another name for Himself. It is clear that Father God is unique. In fact, when Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He started with, “Father, hallowed be your name.” (Luke 11:2) So, obviously, Father God is not Jesus, but Jesus said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus is teaching Philip that there are not gods, only “God,” but God is a monotheistic “We.”  

To drive the point home that Jesus is man and Jesus is God and God is trinity, let us consider one more passage of Scripture, John 8:50-58

Jesus said in John 8:50Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. Notice that Jesus declares that His Father’s motive is to glorify Jesus, His Son. 

In John 8:54, Jesus answered the Pharisees, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ Notice that Jesus openly declares that God is His Father. Jesus plainly says that God fathered Him.  

Then in John 8:58, Jesus declares, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” From Strong’s Concordance’s Greek 1510, “am” means “exist.” So, Jesus said, “I exist.” No beginning or ending, 

This is a clear reference to Jesus’ eternal preexistence. Since this is an attribute of God alone, this text is a forceful statement of Jesus’ deity. The present tense of the verb suggests the eternal present of God’s eternity. “I am” is also reminiscent of God’s name in Ex. 3:14 (vv. 24, 28).

R.C. Sproul, Reformation Study Bible 

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4) And, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14) Amen!  

Photo by Dave Herring on Unsplash

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