On the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion Mary Magdalene went to His borrowed tomb and after looking in and being told by angels that He was not there she was heartbroken. When, as she was weeping she saw, and recognized Jesus, He cautioned her not to touch Him because He had not ascended to His Father and His God. Why did he say this since the main reason that the Jewish leaders had Him crucified was that they believed that He, in saying that He was the Son of God, was making Himself equal with God?
John 20:17 (NKJV) Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'
Matthew 27:46 (HCSB)46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Revelation 3:12 (NKJV)12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
In my blog series “Who is Jesus?” I give scriptural evidence that Jesus is God. Why then would Jesus, in these two passages, and others, refer to God as My God?
It all has to do with Jesus’ relationship to His Father (See “Son of God”). Even though Jesus is the eternal God Himself incarnate (embodied in flesh; in human form), He is still a different person from the God The Father, and as a man was dependent on Him, just like us. He looked to Him for strength, wisdom, and other things for physical and spiritual life. This doesn’t imply inferiority only a difference in roles.
Before I completely confuse you I need to spend just a little time on another sometimes controversial topic, the Trinity.
Some religions or religious groups, even some that say they are Christian, don’t believe in the Trinity. They say, and they are correct, that the word Trinity is not in the bible. The word isn’t there but the truth of the Trinity is there.
I’m not going to get deep into the doctrine of the Trinity, but I do have to talk about it because it’s important to know the relationship of Jesus (God the Son) with the God The Father.
The Trinity is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. There is a line in a familiar hymn that says “God in three persons blessed Trinity”. In simple terms that’s it but it’s the three persons that causes the greatest confusion. Using the word “persons” can cause people to think of God as existing as three separate Beings. Applying the word “persons” as you would with humans is misleading when applied to God. It gives the impression that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit God’s are separate individuals or beings. The bible says that there is only One God so The Trinity is God in three persons but only one “Being”. Humans are persons and each person is a “being”. To avoid such confusion, "Persons" in the Trinity should not be thought of in the same way as human "persons" like you and me.
Deuteronomy 6:4 (HCSB)4 “Listen, Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One.
1 Timothy 2:5 (HCSB)5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, Himself human,
God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit are all omnipresent so hey cannot be "separate" from one another as three different Gods.
Psalm 11:4 (HCSB)4 The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven. His eyes watch; He examines everyone.
Matthew 18:19-20 (HCSB)19 Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven.20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.”
Psalm 139:7-10 (HCSB)7 Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?8 If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.
9 If I live at the eastern horizon ⌊or⌋ settle at the western limits,10 even there Your hand will lead me; Your right hand will hold on to me.
The Bible reveals that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the way the God exists eternally. God would not be God if the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit were “separate” from him, because he has eternally existed as all three.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equal in their divine attributes. Yet each relates to man in a different way. It's very important to understand this distinction. We do not have three gods; we have one God in three persons functioning uniquely and perfectly. The redemption of mankind shows the roles of each person of the Trinity.
The Father designed and organized how mankind would be redeemed.
Galatians 4:4-5 (HCSB)4 When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
He set into motion a complex set of events, actions, and prophecies which culminated in the life and death of a Savior.
The Son carried out the plan.
John 6:37-38 (HCSB)37 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out.38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
He followed the Father's instructions to come to earth, even though that meant He would have to die.
The Holy Spirit sees to it that every person feels a call toward God's saving grace.
John 16:12-15 (HCSB)12 “I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now.
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.
14 He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you.15 Everything the Father has is Mine. This is why I told you that He takes from what is Mine and will declare it to you.
I admit that neither the bible or Christian doctrine explain how the three Persons can be one Being, only that it’s true, according to what God has revealed of Himself. We understand from scripture that God is one divine Being who exists as or in three eternal, co-essential, yet distinct Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a mystery because it is beyond our human comprehension to try to imagine God as He is. In fact, Scripture cautions us not to attempt to imagine Him. All such images, whether in stone or in the imagination of the mind become idols.
Romans 1:22-23 (HCSB)22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.
Job 11:7 (HCSB)7 Can you fathom the depths of God or discover the limits of the Almighty?
How could Jesus be God and Ascend to God?
In my post, “How Can Jesus be Son of God, Son of Man, and God at the Same Time?”, and in the prior discussion on the Trinity I explain that Jesus is not The Father and in His human incarnation can go to His Father, Who because of His sacrifice, we can now call our Father. Notice he makes a distinction between "My Father and Your Father" He did not say our Father.
The same is applied to " my God and your God." As a man he acknowledged the Father as "my God" . Just as we can’t call God the Father, My Father in the same way that Jesus did, we can’t call Him My God in the same way. When Thomas bowed before Jesus he called Him his God and his Lord. That is not the same way that Jesus could say My God because our relationship is not the same as His.
John 20:27-28 (HCSB)27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.”28 Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
The Son of God was Dependent on the Father
Philippians 2:5-8 (HCSB)5 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. 7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form,8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross.
When He walked the earth with man Jesus, the Son set aside His independent authority and heavenly glory. He humbled Himself by taking on a human nature. It’s in this context that we have to read Jesus’ “my God” statements. He is fully and truly God and fully and truly man. He is the God-man. As the God-man, He is a perfect man, who worships, honors, obeys and prays to God the Father. The incarnate Son is dependent on the Father.
John 5:30 (HCSB)30 “I can do nothing on My own. I judge only as I hear, and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
He constantly prayed just like all the saints before Him.
Matthew 11:25 (HCSB)25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to infants.
Matthew 14:23 (HCSB)23 After dismissing the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.
John 11:41-43 (HCSB)41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You heard Me.42 I know that You always hear Me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so they may believe You sent Me.”43 After He said this, He shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
Mark 14:32, 35-36 (HCSB)32 Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and He told His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 35 Then He went a little farther, fell to the ground, and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.36 And He said, “Abba, Father! All things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
Because He’s dependent on God as a man He’s giving us the perfect example of our having a relationship with the Father, our Father and our God.
Yes Jesus is God
Jesus emptied Himself and took on the form of man and walked with His creation, in the flesh, for thirty-three years but He was and still is God.
1 Timothy 3:16 (HCSB)16 And most certainly, the mystery of godliness is great: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
Do You Know Him?
Yes Jesus is God, He is also the Son of God through whom we obtain salvation and eternal life.
John 3:16 (HCSB)16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.