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John 14:10:

10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. [ESV]
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. [KJV]
10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own, but the Father, as He remains in Me, does His works. [NASB]
10 Believest thou not that I [am] in the Father, and the Father is in me? the sayings that I speak to you, from myself I speak not, and the Father who is abiding in me, Himself doth the works; [YLT]

What did Jesus really mean when he said "The Father who dwells in me"? In what sense did the Father dwell in Jesus? Is it a figure of speech? What is meant by dwell in this context?

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  • Perhaps there is a connection to John 1:11-13...
    – יהודה
    Apr 27 at 3:09
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That something more transcendent than physical oneness is intended can be seen by flipping ahead a few chapters to the great intercessory prayer. In John 17:

6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Notice also the similar language in John 14:20

At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

Jesus speaks of His disciples being one with Him in the same way He is one with the Father. That the disciples are distinct beings from Jesus is not in doubt. In what sense then are they one? And in what sense will the Father and the Son make their abode with the disciples?

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The Love of God

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

In both chapters 14 & 17, the discussion of oneness is immediately accompanied by a discussion of love. When God’s love is in us—genuinely—we do God’s works. Jesus had the Father’s love in Him perfectly, and He did Father’s work perfectly (see John 14:10).

Love brings unity in a transcendent way—and Jesus wants that love to dwell in His disciples to make more of them—and their labors—things that could never be achieved on their own (see this applied in the parable of the vine in John 15:1-12, already noted by Dottard). He does not wish for them to obey out of fear, transactional incentive, or even duty—He wants them to obey out of love.

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He’s going…but not leaving?

But there’s more. In both chapters 14 & 17 the discussion of oneness is accompanied by a discussion of going to the Father. That the Father is not physically present is evident by Jesus’ repeated statement that He’s going somewhere else.

Much of the context of chapter 14 is seen in verses 2 & 3:

2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Jesus has indicated that there is glory for His disciples—apparently some now and some hereafter. Jesus is telling them that He is preparing a place for them in heaven—but that they can experience Divine presence before then—the promise He gives in this chapter, right after the discussion of love, indicates how this can happen:

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The Holy Ghost

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:26-27)

The discussion has now gone full circle from verse 1—Jesus told them not to be troubled and explained to them the Comforter He would give them. He’s leaving them in the world, but He is not leaving them without His or His Father’s companionship, through the Holy Ghost.

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Conclusion

Jesus speaks here not of physical things, but of spiritual things. Despite having plainly told them He is going away (He’s about to die, and will before long ascend to heaven), He has promised that He will come to them, and He will soon pray that they may be one with Him. This coming will not be constant physical companionship, but the inestimable gift of the Holy Ghost:

17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:17-18)

The Holy Ghost is a perfect representative of Jesus & the Father; Jesus is a perfect representative of the Father (see verse 9). The unity of the members of the Godhead is given in chapter 17 as an example—Jesus wants His disciples to become more perfect representatives of Him. One won’t lead you anywhere different from where another would. In the case of the Godhead, you cannot please one without pleasing all; you cannot truly worship one without worshipping all. Jesus promises the disciples that if they love Him and keep His words, they can enjoy the constant presence of a member of the Godhead.

In this way, Jesus has always had His Father with Him. In this way, Jesus will come to them, make His abode with them, and be one with them, even while not physically present.

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The operative verb translated "abide" or "remain" is μένω (menó) - the largest number occur in John who almost elevates the word to a technical word. He uses meno in the sense of someone "abiding" or "remaining" in someone or something else in both the literal sense and in the Metaphorical/spiritual sense.

Literal Abiding

The verb meno is used in the literal sense of someone staying/living or remaining with someone or in some place in places such as Matt 10:11, 11;23, 26:38, Mark 6:10, 14:34, Luke 1:56, 8:27, 9:4, etc.

Metaphorical/spiritual Abiding

Mostly John uses the verb meno in the metaphorical sense of either Jesus abiding with someone or a person abiding in Christ. Here is a sample.

  • John 14:10 - Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I say to you, I do not speak on My own. Instead, it is the Father dwelling in Me, performing His works.
  • John 14:17 - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you do know Him, for He abides with you and will be in you.
  • John 14:25 - These things I have said to you while abiding with you.
  • John 15:4 - Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.
  • John 15:5 - I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.
  • John 15:6 - If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers. Such branches are gathered up, thrown into the fire, and burned.
  • John 15:7 - If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
  • John 15:9 - As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Remain in My love.
  • John 15:10 - If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.
  • John 15:16 - You did not choose Me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will remain—so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.
  • 1 John 2:6 - Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.
  • 1 John 2:10 - Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no cause of stumbling in him.
  • 1 John 2:14 - I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
  • 1 John 2:24 - As for you, let what you have heard from the beginning remain in you. If it does, you will also remain in the Son and in the Father.
  • 1 John 2:27 - And as for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But just as His true and genuine anointing teaches you about all things, so remain in Him as you have been taught.
  • 1 John 2:28 - And now, little children, remain in Christ, so that when He appears, we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming.
  • 1 John 3:6 - No one who remains in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has seen Him or known Him.
  • 1 John 3:9 - Anyone born of God refuses to practice sin, because God’s seed abides in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
  • 1 John 3:14 - We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. The one who does not love remains in death.

(There are many more from John.)

Thus we have:

  • God abiding in Jesus
  • Jesus abiding in the Father
  • Jesus abiding in us
  • Christians abiding in Christ
  • Christians abiding in love
  • Fruit abiding in Christians

... and so forth. These are all highly metaphorical - if something or someone abides in someone, then that person is motivated by what abides in them and are dependent upon it/them. To explain this, Jesus' whole parable about the vine and branches in John 15_1-16 is used to clearly explain the concept of abiding.

[Note: it is in this sense that Paul talks about the Holy Spirit "living" (different verb but same sense) in people in places like 1 Cor 6:16, 17, 6:19, 20, Eph 2:22, 3:17, 2 Tim 1:14, Col 3:16, James 4:5, Rom 8:9, 11, see also John 5:38, 14:17, etc.]

If a person (ie branch) remains connected to the source of Christian power and moral life, God via the Holy Spirit (ie, the vine representing Jesus), then such a person "abide" in Jesus. "Without me you can do nothing" (V5).

It is very significant that Jesus said that He abided in the Father (John 14:10), presumably as part of the kenosis of Phil 2:5-8 - Jesus, during the incarnation, remained totally dependent on the Father for all things by choice as an example of how His disciples were to live (Heb 4:14-16).

Thus, it appears that John's use of the verb "meno" means that people either abide in death or abide in Christ. As a result of the latter, love abides in Christs followers, etc.

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In what sense did Father dwell in Jesus? Is it a figure of speech?

It most certainly is not a figure of speech!

To entertain such a notion is to misunderstand the nature of Jesus entirely. I cast no aspersions on the OP as, no doubt, this was intended as a rhetorical comment.

Hold to the Rod said, "the Father is not physically present". But, that is precisely the point. The Father is 'physically' present as He could ever be - in Jesus. The whole "God with us' (Immanuel) is this precisely.

The Father is spirit and invisible. He has shown a measure of Himself in various ways, but this is now the most authentic presence of Himself - in Jesus.

"I and the Father are one"... same deal. Jesus is the embodiment - the logos/word of God here with them. Now, this is still true though it is by the Holy Spirit in us sent from the Father and Jesus.

Yes, Jesus is the son of God. He is on the same page as the Father in all things, having the same nature of love and outgoing concern, not inward focused and prideful. (Yet still with his own will)

But Jesus IS the very word, the intent, the purpose, the reason, the wisdom of God in a flesh form. This is not something to gloss over in passing.

So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

Who's word goes out? God's. The same God who arranged for Mary to become pregnant, the same God who John speaks of, His word became flesh.

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 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 John 14:9

The logos/word of God - God's word goes out to accomplish - God is in Jesus, His word, to accomplish His work. Jesus does or says nothing of himself - why?

Because he is the word of God - the word does not act independently - it is God's word - Jesus is God's word and does his Father's bidding - yet still with his own will.

That's why this is a grand new adventure - not just a 'word' that goes out according to plan to do God's will - but a man who now chooses to do God's will - against his own will. John 6:38

Jesus is not choosing to not be God, he is not choosing to be a man, he is not choosing to not exercise some inherent cosmic power. He has none - only what the Father gives him.

He told the disciples over and over in different ways, that the Father is his provider,

Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? Matt 26:53

All Jesus' provisions and needs are from the Father. All Jesus had was a sinless, and therefore, holy beginning. The rest was God at work in him. Providing His spirit at Jesus' baptism, filling him with this essential connection with the Father prior to his battle with the devil. This spirit gave Jesus the words, the attitude, the wisdom, the miracles and through consistent prayer, the will to accomplish his mission - get to the cross without error.

Paul reminds us of an important truth.

for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure. Phil 2:13

Notice it is both the desire or will and the ability or work. All comes from God for us, just as it did for Jesus. We simply choose to accept His presence in us and allow our nature to be aligned with His. This too is what Jesus did as he submitted his will to the Father's even though it got pretty tough toward the end.

Jesus life was a series of learning moments - getting him ready for the ultimate test of loyalty, of trust, of love. These are the things that he had to choose against his own will that thought there must be another way.

Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey Him Heb 5:8

Jesus had the Father dwelling in him - just as he and God dwell in us through God's Spirit. This made him one with the Father - one in intention, purpose and love - yet Jesus still had to fight the temptation of this world and its leader to always serve God and never himself.

My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. John 14:23

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