Friday 08 August 2014

Bible Book:

“The Father and I are one.” (v. 30)

John 10:22-42 Friday 8 August 2014


This is the last of the debates Jesus has with the religiousauthorities ("the Jews") in John's Gospel. It takes place in thehighly significant location of the temple and at the festivalcommemorating the rededication of the temple by Judas Maccabaeus in164 BC (see 1 Maccabees 4:36-59). In the place where God isworshipped and where God dwells, Jesus' identity comes into sharpfocus. Is Jesus the Messiah (meaning the anointed one)? In thetemple context, this imagery of this title Messiah is powerfullysymbolic of the temple priesthood (who were anointed when they weremade priests) and therefore of God's presence.

The argument revolves around Jesus' deeds. Jesus' argument isthat they speak for themselves: if you have seen and accepted thedeeds he has done, then you must accept who he claims to be (verse35). Jesus asserts his full identity - he is not simply an anointedone, but he is one with the Father. This is essentially blasphemyto his hearers who believed that no human can claim to be equalwith or one with God. Jesus responds in verse 34 by quoting the law(actually Psalm 82:6), "I said, you are gods." Jesus seeshis ministry and identity as being grounded in the Hebrewscriptures: just as God was faithful to those who received thosewritings so God is faithful to him. Perhaps we might see this asanalogous to Jesus' commission to the disciples: "As the Father hassent me, so I send you" (John20:21).

Jesus sums up his argument by returning to his deeds: believe inthe deeds even if you cannot believe in Jesus. For 21st-centuryreaders this may be more problematic in that we are not witnessesto those deeds and this is one of John's reasons for writing (John20:30-31). The text calls us to recognise that Jesus is theMessiah and is one with God, an identity rooted in the Hebrewscriptures.

To Ponder

  • What things tell you today about Jesus' identity?
  • Do John's Gospel's accounts of Jesus' deeds help you? How?
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