Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that Jesus in John 17:3 said that His father alone is the true God “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Such an understanding of John 17:3 contradicts many other passages within the gospel of John itself where it shows clearly that Jesus is God in the flesh. Let’s examine some of these verses:
3-John showed that the Messiah was Jehovah. Isaiah first wrote “prepare…the way of Jehovah” (Isaiah 40:3; John 1:23; cf. 14:6). John the Baptist came to prepare the way for the Messiah whom Isaiah called “Jehovah.” Both the apostle John and John the Baptist, referred to Jehovah as “Jesus” (John 1:17), “the Christ” (3:28), “the Word” (1:1), “the Light” (1:17), “the Lamb” (1:29), “the Truth” (5:33).
4-When the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well told Jesus, “I know that Messiah is coming” (John 4:25), Jesus answered, “I who speak to you am He” (vs. 26). Isaiah foretold that the Messiah would be called “Mighty God” (9:6) and “Jehovah” (40:3). Thus, by claiming to be the Messiah, Jesus was claiming to be God.
5-Jesus healed a blind man in John 9:1. Later, after the blind man was cast out of the synagogue because of his faith in Jesus, he met Jesus and worshiped (Greek proskuneo) Him (vs. 38). In the Gospel of John, this word (proskuneo) is found 11 times in relation to worship. Thus, by accepting worship Jesus acknowledged His deity (cf. Matthew 4:10; Hebrews 1:6).
6-Jesus declared at the feast of dedication in Jerusalem: “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him” (vs. 31). Jesus’ enemies understood His claim of divinity clearly and they said to Him: “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God” (vs. 33, cf. 5:17-18).
7-Thomas called Jesus, after His resurrection, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Jesus answered him: “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (vs. 29). Jesus did not deny His deity, rather He acknowledged Thomas’ faith in Him as the Messiah.
From these references we can see that John the beloved fully understood that Jesus was the Messiah – God in the flesh. Therefore, in John 17:3, we can clearly see that Jesus was only referring to God the Father as “the only true God” in opposition to the world’s false gods, and not Himself. Unlike the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christ’s divinity is confirmed not just in the book of John but also all through the Bible (Matthew 1:23; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:5-13).
Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.
In His service,