Christ’s Call to Oneness: The Deeper Meaning of ‘Come unto Me’

Christ’s Call to Oneness: The Deeper Meaning of 'Come unto Me'Sometimes the simplest of words can be the most revealing. How interesting can a simple preposition be? As is often the case, such a question opens the door to a sublime insight. In this discussion, I would like to take a look at several passages of scripture. Two of them contain the same word in the original Greek, but are translated differently into English. When considered together, a beautiful idea emerges.

But first, a quick and painless Greek lesson.

The Profound Simplicity of ‘πρὸς’

In Greek, there is a fascinating word that roughly translates to the English “with.”  This word is “πρὸς” (pronounced “prohs”). It can mean the following:

  • focused on, directed towards
  • to, towards, with, with regard to

It conveys the concept of affiliation or connection in purpose.

Let’s consider a hypothetical conversation. You and I are discussing a topic in a group. Everyone expresses their thoughts on the matter. You explain your point of view, and I agree with you. I might say, “I’m with you on this.” Almost like we’re united in that viewpoint. We’re united in how we see that idea. We’re “one” in that specific instance.

Unity in Purpose

This should sound familiar to anyone who has read the Intercessory Prayer as found in John 17, specifically verse 21:

“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”

There’s this concept of being one with each other in goal, intent, and purpose. That is consistent with the concept of “πρὸς.”

The Oneness in Divine Language

Now, let’s compare two passages. In John 1:1, we read:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

The word translated as “with” comes from “πρὸς.” Christ, as The Word, was connected in purpose with God. This word also expresses the concept of being focused on or directed towards something. Christ was focused on and one in purpose with God. They are working together and have the same goal.

This concept of being one occurs many times throughout scripture, such as in 4 Nephi 1, most specifically verse 17, which says:

“There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.”

The concept of unity and focus on the Lord is compared and contrasted throughout the whole chapter.

Christ’s Call in Matthew 11

Let’s compare John 1:1 with another verse that uses “πρὸς.” Look at the last three verses of Matthew 11:

28 ¶ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Specifically in verse 28, it says “Come unto me.” The word “unto” is actually our Greek preposition “πρὸς.” Christ is literally inviting us to be one with and focused on him as he is with the Father, as expressed in the Intercessory Prayer in John 17. Ponder that for a moment. A member of the Godhead has extended you a personal invitation to have the same relationship with him that he has with His Father.

Let’s take this thought a bit further.

Reconciling with the Divine

In Hebrews 1:3, we read of Christ’s relationship to God the Father:

“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;”

On my mission, Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy came and spoke to us about the Atonement. We’ve heard that broken down into the concept of “at one-ment.” What does that mean? Elder Jensen explained to us that “reconciliation” is a completely appropriate synonym for “atonement.” He broke it down this way:

  • “re” means “again”
  • “con” means “with”
  • “cili” means “sit down”
  • “ation” means “the act of”

He said to think of it as “the act of sitting down again with God, such as in a throne.” Much like Christ in Hebrews 1:3.

Abraham’s Legacy and Our Potential

In Mathew 11:28, Christ is inviting us to do this with him. He is inviting us to be joint heirs with him, to inherit everything that God has. He invites us to sit down again with him and our Father as exalted beings, in our own thrones. Abraham, as our example, has already done so. Let’s read in Doctrine and Covenants 132:29, which says:

“Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne.”

Christ invites us to do the same!

This brings to mind Doctrine and Covenants, Section 76. In this context, verses 50 through 70 are pertinent, but let’s focus on verses 55 through 59:

55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—
56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.
58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—
59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

We can be heirs with Christ an inherit “all things” — everything that the Father has.

Conclusion

Combine all of this together. Christ is inviting us to be one with Him and his Father. They invite us to come sit down again with them as exalted beings to inherit everything that they have. They have given us the Scriptures, Prophets, and the Holy Ghost to guide us back to them. May we all embrace and engage this invitation!

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