“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Philip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, Show us the Father?'” – John 14:9
Upon first glance, it would appear that Jesus might be saying that He and the Father are the same person. At least this is the way that oneness Pentecostals and other modalists frame this scripture.
Christianity has historically considered this view heresy due to the overwhelming evidence from the New Testament that Jesus and the Father were considered differing persons by the apostles. Before we look at John 14:9 in detail, we will consider other scriptures that help formulate the historic Christian view that the Father, Son and Spirit are distinct persons within the Godhead. In certain passages the members of the Trinity are able to send each other.
For example Jesus clearly states that He and the Father are not the same person. They serve as two distinct people in judgment.
“Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.'” – John 8:16-18
Jesus prayed to the Father.
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” – Luke 22:42
The Holy Spirit prays to God on our behalf.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” – Romans 8:26-27
For more evidence of the distinct person hoods of the Father, Son and Spirit, please also see (John 17:1-26, Hebrews 1:7-8, Matthew 17:5, Mark 1:11, John 8:13-18, John 3:35, John 5:20, John 14:31).
So then what are we to do with John 14:9? Let’s try the immediate context.“Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 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. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I yam going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” – John 14:9-26
As can be easily seen, by reading past verse nine, Jesus goes on to indicate that the reason why anyone who has seen Him has seen the Father is because He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. Although each member of the trinity is a distinct person, they are not and cannot be separated from each other. The trinity doctrine is as the hymn says “[One] God in three persons, blessed Trinity.”
Other indications in this passage that Jesus and the Father are distinct persons:
– Jesus speaks in the Father’s authority, not His own
– The Father that dwells in Jesus does the works
– Jesus went to the Father when He ascended
– The Father is glorified in the Son
Therefore, Jesus never said that He and the Father are the same person. Quite the opposite.