"Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14:09-12)

Parts of this statement by Jesus has been misquoted and misinterpreted out of context repeatedly by ecclesiastical sectarian teachers who try to utilize this statement to profess that Jesus is the Supreme Being.

Yet it is clear that Jesus is discussing two individuals in this statement: "I"/"me" from the Greek ἐγώ (egō); and "the Father" from the Greek πατήρ (patēr).

Part of the misunderstanding regarding Jesus' statement lies in the translations and interpretations regarding the words "seen" and "in" within these versus.

The word "seen" is being translated from the Greek word ὁράω (horaō). According to the lexicon, ὁράω can mean "to see with the eyes," but it can also mean, "to see with the mind, to perceive, know," and "become acquainted with by experience, to experience."

Is Jesus talking about Phillip and his disciples seeing God with the physical eyes when they see Jesus' physical body?

That would be nonsensical. Why? Because many other people, including the Jewish pharisees who had offended Jesus with accusations and hostile questions, and the priests who eventually had Jesus arrested, also saw Jesus' body. The Romans who murdered Jesus' body also saw his physical body, and the many people who doubted Jesus' teachings also saw Jesus' physical body. Yet we can know by their various statements and actions that none of them saw God when they saw Jesus' physical body.

If they were to see the Supreme Being simply by looking upon Jesus' physical body, they would have certainly believed and followed Jesus' teachings. But they didn't. They in fact did the opposite. This is because they did not see the Supreme Being when they saw Jesus' physical body.

This fact, together with the definition of the word being used - ὁράω (horaō) - indicates clearly that Jesus is not saying that he is the Supreme Being. Nor is Jesus talking about seeing with the physical eyes.

Jesus is talking about perceiving who he really is. This is confirmed by Jesus' initial phrase: "Don't you know me...." - the operator being "know." And because he uses the word "know" together with "seen," we can understand that Jesus is talking about knowing who he is - perceiving who he is - not simply seeing his physical body.

Furthermore, it is nonsensical to interpret that Jesus is saying he is God when he says: "The words I say to you are not just my own." This indicates that his words are coming not only from him, but also from the Supreme Being - a Person separate from Jesus.

This phrase, "The words I say to you are not just my own" also indicates there is a bond between Jesus and the Supreme Being. Since their words are aligned, there is a bond. What is this bond?

It is the bond of love. It is the bond of service. Jesus is exchanging a loving relationship with the Supreme Being. He is serving God out of love. As a result, he has dedicated his life to pleasing the Supreme Being. Thus his message mirrors the Supreme Being's, because Jesus wants to please God. So he is passing on the Supreme Being's message to others.

It is also through this bond - this intimate relationship - that the Supreme Being has empowered Jesus. God authorized Jesus to represent Him.

This intimate relationship with God is what Jesus is describing here. He is wondering why Phillip - after seeing Jesus' many acts of loving devotion to God, including healing people and then commanding them to devote their lives to loving and doing the will of God - still does not perceive Jesus' relationship with God.

This might be compared to an ambassador of a country going to a foreign government and sitting down to negotiate with them, and realizing that the foreign government does not accept the relationship between the ambassador and his government, and thus is not trusting that the ambassador can negotiate on behalf of his government.

To add to the analogy, let's say that during their negotiation, the ambassador promises that his government will send a shipload of food to the foreign country. The food ships to the foreign country and they receive it at their ports. The next day, during their discussions, after the foreign government officials know the food has arrived, they continue to doubt whether the ambassador is truly representing his government and is empowered by his government.

That would be outrageous, because the ambassador just proved to the foreign government that he was empowered, because after he promised food, his government indeed shipped food to the foreign country.

Jesus is discussing a similar situation. After spending so much time with Jesus, hearing his teachings, seeing his miracles, and seeing his devotion to God, Phillip should have had no doubt that Jesus was God's representative. He should have no doubt of the loving relationship that exists between Jesus and the Supreme Being.

When we truly perceive God's representative we perceive God. This is because they are connected by their relationship. We can see that relationship as we see the devotion God's representative has for God, and we can see the power of the teachings of God's representative.

This is the meaning of Jesus' statement, "Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?" Jesus is not talking about his physical body here. The word "in" is being translated from the Greek word ἐν (en). This word means, according to the lexicon, "in," "by" or "with." If we were to translate the sentence using "with" instead of "in," we can understand the meaning of Jesus' statements more clearly:
"Don't you believe that I am with the Father, and that the Father is with me?"
and:
"Believe me when I say that I am with the Father and the Father is with me;"
Since Jesus is standing in front of Phillip, it would be illogical to imagine that Jesus' physical body is within God. But when we utilize the word "with" we can better understand that Jesus is talking about the bond between Jesus and God. "With" indicates an intimate bond: In this case, a bond of love and loving service. There is a togetherness, as Jesus is lovingly working on behalf of God, and God is reciprocating. Thus Jesus can say that he is "with" God.

This translation also helps clarify his phrase, "The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing His work."

Jesus is not talking about a possession here. God did not possess Jesus' body. Jesus is freely working to please God.

Notice that Jesus is connecting "the words I say" to "doing His work." "The words I say" refers to Jesus' teachings. They refer to what Jesus has been teaching them. This is "His work," evidenced by many other statements of Jesus about his teachings, such as: "My teaching is not my own. It comes from Him who sent me." (John 7:16)

These statements indicate that Jesus, by devoting himself to the Supreme Being, is executing God's mission. This doesn't mean that Jesus has lost control. He certainly can choose - as each of us can at any time - to do God's will or not. But Jesus chooses to do what is pleasing to God. And due to his love for God, God is communicating to Jesus what is pleasing to Him, and this relates to Jesus' teaching them about God and how to learn to love and serve God. As Jesus executes this, he can perceive that what he is doing is what God wants him to do.

This is confirmed by Jesus' next statement:
"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."
This verse confirms that Jesus did not say he was "in" the Father, because if he was "in" the Father, he couldn't say that he would be "going to the Father." Going to someone doesn't make sense if one is inside that person.

But if we understand Jesus' statement by seeing that Jesus is doing God's will out of his devotion to Him and this establishes a bond between him and God, we can also see how Jesus can say to his disciples that "anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing." If Jesus was the Supreme Being, how could "anyone" "do what I have been doing"? This would make no sense.

Rather, Jesus is indicating that if his disciples truly trusted Jesus' teachings and understood his relationship with God, they could do precisely what Jesus was doing - serving God.

This is indicated by the word "faith," taken from the Greek word πιστεύω (pisteuō). which means, according to the lexicon, "to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in." In other words, it means to trust Jesus. It means to have confidence in his teachings.

And just what is Jesus referring to when he says, "will do what I have been doing"? What has Jesus been doing that anyone who trusts in his teachings can also do?

Serving the Supreme Being. Doing God's will.

Thus we can know that with statement "He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" Jesus is suggesting a person who takes to heart Jesus' teachings, and then passes them on to others will be doing "greater things" because those teachings are then reaching a broader audience. They are reaching others who may not have heard them before. Jesus says, "I am going to the Father" because he knows his body will be murdered soon, and he will be leaving the physical world and returning to the spiritual realm to be with the Supreme Being. Before he leaves, he is requesting that his disciples pass on the knowledge Jesus has given them.

The word "anyone" is critical here. Any of us who puts full confidence in Jesus' teachings, and dedicates their life to those teachings can eventually use their life to serve God and please God. Why? Because Jesus' most important teaching is:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)


(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Gospel of John without sectarian institutional influence, see the Devotional Translation  - translated from the original Greek texts.)