Recently, I viewed a YouTube clip of Dale Tuggy that says that Jesus was not God but merely a man because He referred to Himself as having a God. Let me say that this passage shows John’s absolute brilliance. Now, let me read the passage for you. Here is the passage he refers to:
“Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (John 20:17).
Remember, Jesus is in the process of ascending after His Crucifixion, which shows that the narrative anticipates a necessary conclusion for Jesus’s task to be fulfilled. Now, I want you to notice that there is a specific use of the words “Theon” and “Theos” in the text that we should be mindful of. Please take note that the interpretation of “Θεὸν” could be interpreted as “the Supreme One” or “magistrate” in a legislative sense, depending on the context. I have included it here on screen from the Bible Hub so you can see it.
I think the context clearly shows that Jesus still had to do something for the legislative process to be fulfilled and completed. John, therefore, clearly has Christ announce the fact that Mary should not hold onto Him because he has not yet appeared to the Father. In another passage, John clearly indicates how Jesus, in his Glorified state, would redeem men and give them His new name (Rev.3:12). In Chapter 3:21 of John’s Apocalypse, the Son clearly functions as a mediator, ascending and taking His rightful place being the agent of the One on the throne (Rev. 4:9- 5:14). Again what John is describing seems to be an economy or taxis of persons working out this process of our salvation.
There is no doubt that in these passages, the Father is seen as the magistrate or judge (Heb.12:23), and the Son, in His ample obedience, is seen as the accused vindicated (2 Cor 5:21) and faithful high priest (Heb. 7:26), therefore, the one worthy of operating in the culmination of the Kingdom that should be inaugurated (Rom.3:25). I am telling you this because John is not confused or muddling what he attributes to Jesus as “Θεὸν.”
Jesus is, first and foremost, the one who fully identified with mankind as an example and savior (Gal 3:13). He is clearly completing his task of the cross before the Father, who is the Supreme authority and the judge. Does this mean the Father is a superior God and the Son a lesser god, as the Arians believed? No, a difference in function does not mean an inferiority in nature. The eternal Son, in his full humanity, identifies with man as ransom and perfect savior (1 Tim 2:5).
He completes his task as the perfect man who vindicates all men through his sacrifice. But as the eternal Son of Man, He reclaims His throne and upholds the sure judgment given by the Father as faithful High Priest (Heb. 2:17). As the Son, He is then in perfect obedience to what the law (Gal.4:4-5) and the Father require of that which was lost by the first Adam, but He also assumes His rightful place on high where the Father and Son eternally fulfill the work as laid out for our salvation (Gen 3:15-16).
John also shows that the obedient Son brings many other Sons into glory, and the Obedient Son also satisfies the legal requirements of the law. This Son is also the eternal Lord that has an assured will now with the Father to which all mankind can be assured of His work as He is God. As Thomas says in verse 28. “Ho Kurios mou kai Theos mou!” My Lord that took the seat of His father David (PS110:1) and my God (Dan 7:9-14) Yahweh coming on the clouds of heaven.
Therefore, Jesus is not only the perfect mediator for all men but also the ascended Lord, adored and worshipped with the Father by all mankind and those in heaven (Rev. 7:9- 12). The One Person, Jesus Christ, reveals both the trans-infinite and the finite. What do you have when you keep to the Unitarian Jesus, a man assimilated by God who is now the object of veneration and devotion by many who now violate the 2nd and 3rd Commands as an idolator (Ex.20:3-4). Further, the requirement for salvation is to esteem Jesus’ work correctly, and His personhood as Lord correctly (Rom.10:9). Jesus is our blessed hope and God (Titus 2:13). He is our hope because He identified with our God and us because He accomplished the Divine task for us. The authors of the “Got Questions website,” comment beautifully.
“Because Jesus has a dual nature, He can serve as the perfect mediator between God and humanity (1 Timothy 2:5). As fully God, He possesses the divine authority to redeem humanity from sin (Matthew 20:28), conquer death (John 11:25), and reconcile us with God (Colossians 1:19–20). As fully man, He identifies with our struggles and sympathizes with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). Importantly, He is the sacrificial lamb for our sins. (John 1:29), and through His life, death, and resurrection, He secured salvation for all who believe in Him (Hebrews 7:27).”
So, Jesus is man with us but also God with us, perfect man and perfect God, as Reformer R. C. Sproul would say. He is Theanthropos, the God-man. This is a Biblical imperative that Councils like Chalcedon in AD 451 affirmed and articulated. But it should be noted the idea is a strict Biblical one.