Trinitarians claim that Jesus must be God because he said he will raise himself from the dead.
Examination of the Claim
1. Matthew 26:38-41
The following verse does not square with the Trinitarian interpretation of John 2:19.
Jesus said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me." And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will." And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? "Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
2. Matthew 27:46
The following verse also does not square with the Trinitarian interpretation of John 2:19.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lama sabach-thani?" that is, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
3. Hebrews 5:7
The following verse also does not square with the Trinitarian interpretation of John 2:19.
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the One who is able to save him from death and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.
4. Matthew 27:40
At Matthew 27:40, we find the Jews referring to this statement from Jesus:
And those passing by were hurling abuse at him, wagging their heads and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself if you are the Son of God, come down from the cross."
5. John 10:17-18
Jesus received authority from the Father to lay down his life and take/receive it up again. If Jesus needed to be given this authority this would indicate he is not God rather than John 2:19 indicating he is God.
For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own authority. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father. (John 10:17-18).
6. John 5:26
The Father gave the Son to have life in himself. God does not need to be given to have life in himself. Jesus is also here referring to resurrection life.
For just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself....Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who have done good to a resurrection of life, those who done evil to a resurrection of judgment.
7. John 6:57
Jesus declares he has life because of the Father. He also says the following in the same context where he says three times, "and I will raise him up on the last day" in reference to resurrection life. Note here that he indicates that others will have life because of him just as he will have because of the Father.
Just as the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.
8. John 11:25
Jesus declares he is the resurrection and the life.
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life."
9. Jesus can do nothing by Himself
In the Gospel of John, Jesus said that He was not able to do anything on his own.
I am not able of my own self to do anything. John 5:30.
10. Jesus was in the Temple
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who were selling....
11. Jesus referred to the Temple as the House of his Father
Take these things away. Do not turn the House of my Father into a marketplace. His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for Your house will consume me."
12. The Jews had asked Jesus for a Sign that He had the Authority to Clear the Temple
The Jews then said to him, "What sign have you to show us for doing this?
And then we also read, "Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing.(v. 23).
Analysis of the Evidence
1. The Tabernacled Word and the Stone Temple
At John 1:14 we read that the Father's Word became flesh:
And the Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us, and we saw his glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
The word in question means "to tent" and in the ancient Hebrew mind a person's body was his tent or his tabernacle. It is also the Tabernacle, or Tent, of Meeting, the Jewish temple in the wilderness.
Jesus was in the Temple when he said these words at John 2:19. The Temple was the House of his Father. The Temple was where the Spirit of God came down and the shekinah glory of God was present to the Israelites. As John says, "and we saw his glory."
2. Jesus spoke the Father's Word
The God of Israel had promised to send them a prophet and God says these words about this prophet:
[YAHWEH]: I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren, and I will put MY words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. (Deuteronomy 18:18).
Moses said, "The Lord God [YAHWEH] will raise up for you a prophet from your brethren as he raised me up. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul that does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.' And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came afterwards, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God gave to your fathers, saying to Abraham, "And in your posterity shall all the families of the earth be blessed.' God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you in turning every one of you from your wickedness. (Acts 7:22-25 RSV).
As the Word which had became flesh, Jesus makes several statements that he does not speak his own words but the words of his Father.
For [the Word] whom God has sent utters the words of God, for it is not by measure that he gives the Spirit. (3:34).
Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, [the Word] can do nothing of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever he does, that the Son does likewise.(5:19).
He who is hearing my word, and believing Him who sent me. (John 5:24).
I [the Word] am able to do nothing from myself. (5:30)
I [the Word] have come in the name of my Father, and you do not receive me, if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? (5:43-44).
And Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. (John 6:63).
My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me, if any man's will is to do his will, he shall know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. (7:16-18).
I [the Word] know him, for I [the Word] come from him, and he sent me [the Word]. (7:29).
Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing from myself but as my Father teaches me I speak. (8:28).
Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear my word.... He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God. (John 8:47).
And Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. (John 12:44).
For I [the Word of God] do not speak out of myself. The Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak. (12:49).
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak from myself but the Father who abides in me does his works. (14:10).
I have given them the words which You gave me, and they have received them and know in truth that I [Your Word] came from you and they have believed that you have sent me.(17:8).
Father.... I made known to them Your name (17:1, 26).
Jesus was the Word of God. God's Word was the Father's expression of himself to Israel. As God's Word he was t he Father's voice to Israel.
He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine, but the FATHER'S who sent me. (John 14:24).
3. The Word Jesus had spoken
But He was speaking of the temple of His body. So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken. John 2:21-22.
The word became flesh and tabernacled among us. John 1:14
The word which you hear is not mine, but the Fatherís who sent me. John 14:24
The words that I say to you I do not speak from myself but the Father abiding in me does the works. John 14:10
It seems quite clear that the point of the passage is to illustrate how the Father's Word is tabernacled in His temple, that is, the body of Jesus by the Holy Spirit that was in Jesus and as the Father's Word we are to understand that the son speaks on his Father's authority. The Father raised Jesus from the dead and because Jesus came in his Father's name he speaks the words of his Father, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." Jesus was a prophet of God and God indicated he would put His words in this prophets mouth just as Jesus confirms many times in the Gospel of John. Just as the prophets of old spoke in the name of God and used terms like "I" and "Me" as if the Father himself is speaking, Jesus the very Word of God is speaking as the Word of the Father.
Notice where He, the Word, is at the moment. He is in the Temple. What does he say his body is? The temple of God. The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. So where is the Spirit of God? In his body. The Word had previously abided in the Spirit of God and now the Spirit of God was abiding in the Word. The Gospels teach over and over that that authority of God is given by his Spirit and the same is true here. He is not speaking on his own but in the Spirit of God his Father who gave him authority in the Spirit and who will raise him from the dead in that same Spirit. By what authority? By the authority that will raise him up, the Father in the Spirit of Holiness.
This was a message from God the Father to these Jews. The Jewish Temple rulers were the ones who conspired to kill Jesus and yelled, "Crucify him, crucify him." They would destroy God the Father's temple, the place where his Spirit dwelt, the body of the man Jesus. And the Word having become flesh, God the Father speaks to these Jews by means of his Word, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up."
The solution to the question is to carefully regard the question the Jews had asked Jesus. They wanted a sign that would tell them his reasons for clearing the Temple. And we find in the Gospel of John that Jesus tells us by what authority that he says the things he says and does the things he does.
Last Updated: January 11, 2014