Tuesday, January 1, 2013

John 10, Part Two

“I am the Father are one” (vs. 22-30)—The scene here is three months later, the Feast of Dedication, which took place around (our) December 18 and lasted for eight days.  It was not a Mosaic feast, but rather was instituted in 164 B.C. by Judas Maccabees.  A Greek emperor, Antiochus Epiphanes, had grossly defiled the temple, but a revolt, led by the Maccabee family, actually gained independence for the Jews for about 100 years.  Judas had cleansed and rededicated the temple in 164, and this feast was a commemoration of that event.  The word “winter” in verse 22 implies nasty, inclement weather, which is why Jesus was in Solomon’s porch (v. 23), which was the covered entrance at the east of the temple.  The question the Jews asked Him doesn’t suggest sincere curiosity, but anger, frustration, and malice.  And, once again, Jesus does not give them a direct answer, but points them to the evidence (v. 25).  Words are virtually useless; proof is in deeds and Jesus had done “works” that “bear witness of me” (v. 25).  A person must have the right kind of heart, however, to accept truth (Luke 8:15), and these Jews did not (v. 26).  Those who remain faithful to the Lord shall have eternal life (vs. 27-28); because the Father is greater and more powerful “than all”, Jesus’ sheep are secure in the Father’s hand--as long as they remain faithful.  Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life(Rev. 2:10).  Jesus then closes this section with a remarkable statement:  I and the Father are one”--“the Father (ASV), not “My” Father (KJV; NKJV).  This is an obvious claim for deity, and the Jews understood it as such.

“You are gods” (vs. 31-42)—That the Jews understood that Jesus was claiming to be God is evident from the next verse:  they were going to stone Him, which was the Old Testament penalty for blasphemy (Lev. 24:14-16).  They told Jesus that was the reason:  You, being a man, make yourself God” (v. 33).  Jesus then throws them a curve by quoting an Old Testament passage to them, I said, You are gods (Ps. 82:6).  The context of Psalms 82 refers to judges, or prophets, who had received the Word of God; they are perhaps given that title, “gods”, because they were given God’s message to pass on to the people. Jesus’ point here is that, if these mortal men, who were simply spokesmen for God, could be given the appellation “gods,” then how much more should Jesus, Who had truly done the works of God and proven by proper evidence that He indeed was God, be rightly called “God.”  Since these Pharisaical Jews did not, themselves, do the works of God (v. 37), then it is not surprising that they would not recognize someone who did.  But the Lord again encourages them to look at what He was doing, not just at what He was saying (v. 38).  Jesus never asked anyone to believe simply on the basis of what He said.  Any fool can claim to be God; only Jesus did works that proved He was.  Most of those who saw Him didn’t believe Him, so it’s hardly surprising that so few people today believe Him.  The Jews tried to seize Him again at this time, but He escaped in a manner which John does not explain.  Jesus then went to the location, east of the Jordan River, where John was initially baptizing (John 1:28).  Many people accepted the evidence Jesus provided (v. 41) and believed on Him (v. 42).

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