John – God Speaks!
The events in this section occurred about two and a half months after those described in John 10:1–21. John put them together because in both messages, Jesus used the imagery of the shepherd and the sheep.
The “Feast of the Dedication” (Hanukkah, “the feast of lights”) takes place in December, near the time of the Christian Christmas celebration. The feast commemorates the rededication of the temple by Judas Maccabeus in 164 BC, after it had been desecrated by the Romans. This historical fact may bear a relationship to the words of Jesus in John 10:36, for He had been set apart (dedicated) by the Father and sent into the world. The Jewish leaders were celebrating a great event in history yet passing by a great opportunity right in their own temple!
The leaders surrounded Jesus in the temple so that He had to stop and listen to them. They had decided that it was time for a “showdown,” and they did not want Him to evade the issue any longer. “How long are You going to hold us in suspense?” they kept saying to Him. “Tell us plainly—are You the Messiah?”
John 10, New Living Translation
Jesus Claims to Be the Son of God
22 It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. 23 He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. 26 But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”
31 Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. 32 Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?”
33 They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”
34 Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’ 35 And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’ 36 why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world. 37 Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. 38 But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”
39 Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them. 40 He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile. 41 And many followed him. “John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.” 42 And many who were there believed in Jesus.
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
Jesus explains a threefold relationship to His sheep. He has a LOVING relationship because He died for the sheep, as well as a LIVING relationship because He cares for the sheep. It is also a LASTING relationship, for He keeps His sheep and not a one is lost.
Jesus made a statement that He knew would startle His enemies and give them more reason to oppose Him (John 10:30). It was the “plain answer” that the religious leaders had asked for. “I and my Father are one” is as clear a statement of His deity as you will find anywhere in Scripture. This was even stronger than His statement that He had come down from heaven (John 6) or that He existed before Abraham ever lived (John 8:58).
The word ONE does not suggest that the Father and the Son are identical persons. Rather, it means that they are one in essence: the Father is God and the Son is God, but the Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Father. He is speaking about unity, not identity. (See John 17:21–24 for similar language.)
John 10:36 is crucial because it gives a double affirmation of the deity of Christ. First, the Father sanctified (set apart) the Son and sent Him into the world, and second, Jesus stated boldly, “I am the Son of God” (see John 5:25). He gave them the “plain answer” they asked for, but they would not believe it!
The common people continued to seek Jesus, and He continued to minister to them. It is worth noting that John the Baptist’s witness was still bearing fruit long after he was dead! His witness to Jesus Christ led many to trust the Savior. John was not a miracle worker, but he was a faithful witness who pointed to Jesus Christ.
Have you responded personally to our Lord’s three great declarations recorded in this chapter?
He is the Door. Have you “entered in” by faith so that you are saved?
He is the Good Shepherd. Have you heard His voice and trusted Him? After all, He laid down His life for you! He is the Son of God.
Do you believe that? Have you given yourself to Him and received eternal life? Remember His stern warning:
“…unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
I believe. I’m listening for Your Voice. Guide my every thought and action today.
In Jesus Name, Amen