Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 10:29 (Holman) AMy Father, which has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father=s hand.@
Christ=s sheep have a double security. They are kept in Jesus= hand, in addition to the Father=s hand. Were it not for God=s grip on us, we would instantly fall away. His holding us is the only way we retain His knowing us.
John 10:30 AThe Father and I are one.@
The leaders, having demanded a statement on Messiahship, ended up with more than they had bargained for. AOne@ is neuter, denoting one thing (essence), not one person. Identity is not claimed, essential unity is. Every perfection found in God the Father exists undimmed in splendor in God the Son.
The choice was abundantly clear. The leaders had to recognize Jesus as standing in such a relation to the Father as none ever did, or else reject him entirely.
John 10:31 Again the Jews picked up rocks to stone Him.
The leaders disagreed with Jesus, but had no trouble understanding what He meant. They knew He was claiming to be God, and Jesus did not deny it. Hence, they took up stones to kill Him for blasphemy.
John 10:32 Jesus replied, AI have shown you many good works from the Father. Which of these works are you stoning Me for?@
Jesus= mild reply is noteworthy. He could have answered with fire from Heaven. Jesus was always doing good. Love still takes its lessons from Him.
John 10:33 AWe aren=t stoning You for a good work,@ the Jews answered, Abut for blasphemy, because You B being a man B make Yourself God.@
Jesus= capital offense was blasphemy, speaking against God. The leaders felt Jesus had insulted God. It is ironic, they were furious at a man for claiming to be God, when He was actually God who had become man.
The religious leaders were very sensitive to blasphemy. Knowing God was beyond the reach of sinners, and incapable of receiving any real injury, the leaders watched for opposition to God as evidenced through abusing His Name or position. Unable to guard His Person, they decided to guard His honor.
They felt Jesus had insulted this honor. Having understood Him right, they interpreted His words in the only way consistent with common sense. The logical inference was, Jesus claimed equality with the Father. This infuriated the leaders.
AIt is hard to say which is more to be wondered at, that men who breathe in God=s air should yet speak such things, or that people who have spoken such things should still be suffered to breathe in God=s air. The wickedness of man, and the patience of God, as it were, contend which shall be most wonderful@ (Henry).
John 10:34-36 Jesus answered them, AIsn=t it written in your law, I said, you are gods? If He called those whom the word of God came to >gods= B and the Scripture cannot be broken B do you say, >You are blaspheming to the One the Father set apart and sent into the world, because I said: I am the Son of God? If I am not doing My Father=s works, don=t believe Me.@
Jesus, for His defense, appealed to Scripture. Claiming close kinship to God was not a crime punishable by death. Scripture called Israel=s judges Agods@ (Psalm 82:1,6; Exodus 22:28) because they represented God to Israel, and received their commission from Him.
Jesus had a much stronger claim to the title of AGod@ than judges did. Jesus had been set apart in Heaven by the Father, and sent to Earth. If earthly judges were Agods,@ how much more should Jesus be entitled to the title?
This quotation by Jesus revealed His vast knowledge of the Old Testament. He knew even its minute details.
Jesus= attitude toward all Scripture was, it Acannot be broken.@ This means the Bible cannot be emptied of its force by being shown to be erroneous (Morris).
Jesus had a high concept of Scripture. His claim in our text was not made regarding a verse we would consider a key Old Testament passage.
His emphasis was an Aobscure@ verse and the exact wording of that verse. He thereby attached authority to all the Word, even down to minute particulars, to each word.
It is important we also duly respect the Bible. It stands alone. Many say tradition equals it, others say fresh new revelations have priority, some say the Bible is inspired only in spots and they are inspired to pick the spots. If God=s Word is not totally true, we have not a Holy Bible, but a holy hunch at best.
John 10:37-38 AIf I am not doing My Father=s works, don=t believe Me. But if I am doing them and you don=t believe Me, believe the works. This way you will know and understand that the Father is in Me and I in the Father.@
Jesus invited the acid test. Words are debatable but deeds end discussion. He lived in such a way that His oneness with the Father was obvious to eyes of faith.
The three Persons of the Trinity are so contained in One Another that each One fully manifests the Others. This we know, but cannot explain. We believe it, acknowledge it, and adore its depths, though we cannot fathom it.
John 10:39-40 Then they were trying again to seize Him, yet He eluded their grasp. So He departed again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and He remained there.
This was the second time in John=s Gospel these leaders tried to take Jesus (8:59). Their efforts are futile. Daring sinners repeatedly throw stones at Heaven, but they only return on their own heads.
Jesus escaped again and left Judea. This retreat would be Jesus= last oasis of comfort before He entered the burning desert of His passion.
Our writer, John the Beloved, ended Jesus= non-Judean ministry where it began, at His baptism site. This is a beautiful touch. John may have been savoring memories of the place where he met Christ.
John 10:41 Many came to Him and said, AJohn never did a sign, but everything John said about this man was true.@
Jesus now reaped further benefits from the sowing of John the Baptist. People still treasured the Baptist=s words. His influence lived on. Good work never dies.
Our author was careful to emphasize John=s subordinate position. There was a big difference between Jesus and John. Jesus did miracles, John did not.
John often claimed AI am not@ the Christ, the Bridegroom, the Baptizer with the Holy Ghost. In contrast Jesus claimed AI am@ the Christ, the Son, the Light, He, etc. John the Baptist diagnosed the problem. Jesus brought supernatural power to remedy it.
John 10:42 And many believed in Him there.
What did the many who believed find in Jesus? Someone who cared, a shepherd. This was the theme of chapter ten. Most did not believe, but many did listen and follow, finding in Jesus all they could ever desire in God.
Our Good Shepherd can be trusted to lead us even through death. In an English Churchyard a small grave marks the resting place of a boy who loved Jesus. Its inscription reads, AFreddy!@ AYes, Father.@ Have you found our Shepherd?