In What Way Are Jesus and His Father One?
“I and the Father are one,” said Jesus. (John 10:30) Some quote this text to prove that Jesus and his Father are two parts of a triune God. Is that what Jesus meant by this statement?
Let us take a look at the context. In verse 25, Jesus stated that he did works in the name of his Father. From verses 27 to 29, he talked about symbolic sheep whom his Father had given him. Both statements by Jesus would have made little sense to his listeners if he and his Father were one and the same person. Instead, Jesus said, in effect, ‘My Father and I are so close-knit that no one can take away the sheep from me, just as no one can take them away from my Father.’ It is much like a son saying to his father’s enemy, ‘If you attack my father, you attack me.’ No one would conclude that this son and his father were the same person. But all could perceive the strong bond of unity between them.
Jesus and his Father, Jehovah God, are also “one” in the sense that they are in complete agreement as to intentions, standards, and values. In contrast with Satan the Devil and the first human couple, Adam and Eve, Jesus never wanted to become independent of God. “The Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but only what he beholds the Father doing,” Jesus explained. “For whatever things that One does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”—John 5:19; 14:10; 17:8.
This strong bond of unity, however, does not make God and his Son, Jesus, indistinguishable from each other. They are two individuals. Each one has his own distinct personality. Jesus has his own feelings, thoughts, experiences, and free will. Nevertheless, he chose to submit his will to that of his Father. According to Luke 22:42, Jesus said: “Let, not my will, but yours take place.” These words would have been meaningless if his will could not differ from his Father’s. If Jesus and his Father were really one person, why did Jesus pray to God and humbly admit to not knowing things that only his Father knew?—Matthew 24:36.
Members of many religions worship gods that are depicted as quarreling and fighting with their own family members. In Greek mythology, for example, Cronus overthrew his father, Uranus, and devoured his own children. How different this is from the oneness based on true love between Jehovah God and his Son, Jesus! And how this unity endears them to us! In fact, we have the incomparable privilege of being in union with these two highest Persons in all the universe. Regarding his followers, Jesus prayed: “I make request . . . that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in union with me and I am in union with you, that they also may be in union with us.”—John 17:20, 21.
Thus, when Jesus said, “I and the Father are one,” he was speaking, not of a mysterious Trinity, but of a wonderful unity—the closest bond possible between two persons.