“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who ..." (John 17:20-21)

“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 17:20-21)

Is Jesus inside of God?

This translation* makes it seem that Jesus is inside of God and God is inside of Jesus. This is a simple error relating not only to a Greek word, but also a concept of Jesus' relationship with God.

The Greek word ἐν is being translated here to "in" - as in "You are in me and I am in You." 

However, this word can also mean "with" or "among" according to the Greek lexicon. This would radically change the meaning of that phrase to:

"You are with me and I am with You."

This concept of being "with" someone is based upon relationship. Jesus has a loving relationship with God. This means that Jesus loves God and God loves Jesus.

Jesus' love for God - his relationship with God - also means that Jesus has the same will as God:
"By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." (John 5:30
We can see by this statement that Jesus wants to please God because he has a loving relationship with God.

We could compare this to how a husband and wife would share a loving relationship, and the wife might say about the husband: "He is with me and I am with him." They are together - not only in love but in will - because they love each other.

What does 'all of them may be one' mean?

This translation error ("in" instead of "with") also relates to the misunderstanding of the word "one" with respect to God. 

In this statement, the word "one" is being translated from the Greek word εἷς (heis). In this context, according to Thayer's lexicon, this word would mean, "to be united most closely (in will, spirit)."

This is also illustrated in another, more popular mistranslation:
 In this passage, the word "one" is also being translated from the Greek word εἷς (heis).

In both statements, Jesus is not saying that he is "one" with God or his followers are "one" as if they become the same person. In John 10:30, Jesus is saying that he is united with God in purpose. God's will is also Jesus' will. 

This means that the more appropriate translation of John 10:30 would be:
"I and the Father are united."

And in John 17:21, Jesus is saying that his followers are also united. They are united amongst each other and united with Jesus (and therefore God) in purpose and will. 

The phrase related to Jesus being "with" God also contains the Greek word ἵνα (hina). This word does not relate to being inside of another person. The word relates to having the same goals or intentions according to the lexicon.

In other words, the Greek clearly illustrates this prayer by Jesus is saying that he and God have the same purpose, and Jesus' true followers do too. They are all united in will - which is confirmed by the word "with" - becoming "united with."

The very fact that Jesus is praying to the Supreme Being indicates clearly that there are two individuals - the Supreme Being and Jesus. One person - Jesus - is praying to another person - God. Jesus certainly is not praying to himself.

Could we all be God?

If Jesus was praying according to this NIV translation, then, "that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in me and I am in You" would mean Jesus' followers would also be God - inferring that we are all God.

This theory - that everyone is God - is often taught by some teachers who want to take a departure from Jesus' teachings. This "I am God" philosophy is popular among some. Does this doctrine have any logic?

If we are all God why would anyone have to teach us this? If we were all God then we would not have forgotten that we are God and require someone to teach us that we are God.

If we are all God then we wouldn't need Jesus to come teach us anything.

If we were God we would be in control. God means Omniscient Being. We would control the universe and everything in it if we were God. Nothing would control us. Thus we could never forget we were God because we would also control forgetfulness. Forgetfulness would never control us, and thus we would never forget anything. And therefore we would be executing our God-ship at every moment.

Some of these "we are all God" pundits will say that we just purposely forgot we were God and are now simply playing our pastimes in the physical world for a while.

Oh really now? So we are dominated by the physical world by our own choice? Consider earthquakes, tornadoes, hunger, pain, birth, death, disease and so many other conditions we have no control over. We decided to suffer from these ourselves?

If that is true, then why can't we get out when we want to? Why can't any one of us say, "okay, enough suffering, I'm going back to heaven to relax"?

We can't get out of this physical world because we are not God. We are not in control - we are controlled. We are dominated by the forces of the physical world. We are dominated by these physical bodies - though we simply occupy them temporarily.

We are also dominated by forgetfulness, which is why we have forgotten our real identities, and why teachers like Jesus must be sent by the Supreme Being to teach us about Him.

Yes, Jesus was sent by the Supreme Being. He states this very clearly here:
"so that the world may believe that You have sent me."
Thus we can know that Jesus' is God's messenger. He is God's representative. One who sends another is the sender and the person who is sent is the messenger. Jesus is admitting his position with relation to God is that he is God's messenger.

But Jesus is also discussing being "in" the Supreme Being, and the Supreme Being being "in" Jesus. What is this, and how could they both be inside each other at the same time?

What is Jesus' oneness with God?

It is not as if one person is inside the other. It is not as if Jesus is saying that he is inside of God and God is inside of him literally. This is a figurative expression - being united or being "one" - are both figurative.

Look again at the point of Jesus' being God's messenger - His representative. What is taking place here? Jesus is passing on God's message without changing it.

He is also asking his students to pass on that same message without changing it.

Now let's consider a messenger that we might hire to pass on a message. We give the messenger the message and they bike off to deliver it.

But say the person they deliver the message to doesn't completely understand the message when they read it. They then ask the messenger to explain the message. Can the messenger explain it?

If the messenger is a paid messenger, he will likely not be able to explain it. He is just "doing his job" and doesn't really care about the sender much. He is just doing the minimum to get the job done - it is just business to him.

But what if we sent our message through a close friend of ours. The friend knows us very well and they know our intentions. They also care about us and want to make sure that our message gets passed on to the intended receiver.

So this messenger will deliver the message, and guess what? Should the receiver say he doesn't quite understand the message, and asks the messenger to explain it to him. What will happen?

Most certainly this messenger - a caring friend of ours - will be able to explain the message well. Why?

Because there is a oneness that exists between our trusted friend the messenger and ourselves. What is this oneness? A common purpose. The messenger-friend cares about us so he wants to see our message get across. He doesn't care about the money - he doesn't want anything from us. He just cares about us and wants to get our message across.

This is the type of oneness is what Jesus is talking about - although thousands of times deeper. Jesus is discussing a oneness of purpose. A oneness of will.

He is talking about the fact that Jesus is doing God's will, and Jesus is enlisting his disciples and students to also do God's will.

This is because since they will be doing what Jesus wants them to do - Jesus' will - they will also be doing what God wants them to do - because Jesus is doing God's will. There is a oneness there between Jesus' will and God's will, and there can be this same oneness between Jesus' disciples and God if they trust in Jesus' teachings - which means they act upon them.

This oneness, then, is about doing God's will.

Just consider how important doing God's will is to Jesus:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21)
"For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matt. 12:50)
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work." (John 4:34)
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me." (John 6:38)
"Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." (John 7:17)
He [Jesus] went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done.” (Matt. 26:42)
“This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Hame, Your kingdom come, Your will be done..." (Matt. 6:10-11)
So we see that doing God's will was a critical part of Jesus' teachings. And what does doing God's will mean? It means serving God. It means doing what God wants. It means pleasing the Supreme Being.

And when a person is doing what pleases someone else out of their own volition - with love - what is taking place? There is a oneness of purpose. The person has become one with that person in the sense that they are doing what pleases them.

This is the oneness that Jesus had with the Supreme Being, and Jesus wanted his students and disciples to have that same oneness.

What does Jesus mean by 'believe in me'?

This NIV translation makes it appear "their message" somehow renders belief in Jesus. And how can this make "all of them" one? And how does this relate to God being "in me" (Jesus) and Jesus being "in You" (God). If one person is inside of another, how can that other person also be inside the person who is inside of them?

With regard to "believe," the original Greek makes it clear that Jesus is speaking of believing - trusting - in his teachings. Here is the entire first section (John 17:20) in Greek:

οὐ περὶ τούτων δὲ ἐρωτῶ μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τῶν πιστευόντων διὰ τοῦ λόγου αὐτῶν εἰς ἐμέ

The key part of this phrase is ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τῶν πιστευόντων διὰ τοῦ λόγου αὐτῶν εἰς ἐμέ, which is being translated* to "who will believe in me through their message" and "which shall believe on me through their word" in the NIV and KJV respectively.

Let's break it down:
ἀλλὰ means however or but
καὶ means also
περὶ means regarding or concerning
τῶν means those
πιστευόντων means to trust or to have confidence in
διὰ means in
τοῦ means of
λόγου means teachings
αὐτῶν means of them
εἰς means into, unto, for, among, towards, to or within
ἐμέ means I, mine, me or myself

So the primary subjects of this sentence are teachings, and those who trust in the teachings. Jesus is clearly not speaking of believing in "me" - Jesus. Jesus is talking about those who will trust in his teachings.

What, then, does the last part mean - "into myself," or "within me"?

Remember that the primary subject of this first statement is the teachings. The secondary subject is those who would be trusting in those teachings: "those who." And just who would be trusting in Jesus' teachings? Naturally, Jesus' students and disciples. The fact that they are trusting in Jesus' teachings makes them Jesus' students and disciples.

And the third subject of the sentence is Jesus - from whom those teachings came.

Can Jesus be separated from his teachings?

There is a slight colloquialism as Jesus refers to the teachings. The teachings "within me" - are coming from Jesus - rather, from the depth of Jesus' being.

Those teachings are part of Jesus. Jesus is committed to those teachings and thus those teachings are part of Jesus. Jesus is inseparable from those teachings.

Those teachings, in fact, are coming from the Supreme Being, who is also within Jesus - in the form of God's expansion as the Holy Spirit. But also within Jesus in the manner that Jesus is loving God.

People also will use this type of figurative colloquialism: When they speak of someone they love, they will say: "They are in my heart." 

We know that the person is not physically inside the other person's heart. But this is said because their connection is so deep that there is a heartfelt connection: a loving connection.

This is why Jesus wants them to trust in his teachings: Because those teachings are coming not just from God, but from the loving relationship that exists between Jesus and the Supreme Being.

Jesus is teaching about the Supreme Being and what it means to have a loving relationship with the Supreme Being. He is introducing us to our Best Friend and Constant Companion - the Supreme Being. Jesus is teaching us about loving and serving our true Soul Mate.


*Here is the translation of this part of Jesus' prayer from the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
"I do not pray for their sake alone, but also for those who trust in me through their teachings. So they may be united, even as You, LORD, are with me and I with You, that they may be with us, so the world may trust that You sent me.” (John 17:15)