John 10:22–30

Jesus—Plainly the Messiah

Laura Miguélez Quay

Linebrook Church

April 17, 2016

 

Introduction

Last week we considered for a second time how Jesus’ resurrection and post-resurrection appearances to his disciples provide a strong confirmation that his teaching prior to the resurrection was true. In this morning’s passage, following Martin’s preaching of the first 21 verses a few weeks ago, we have an opportunity to consider a specific theme in Jesus’ teaching and just how controversial it was, especially for the Pharisees,[1] those schooled in their understanding of Scripture or our Old Testament.

This portion of John 10 begins with the Festival of Dedication, which we now refer to as Hanukkah, a feast celebrating the rededication of the Jewish temple in 164 BC.[2] And right from the start there’s a certain tension as “The Jews” or Pharisees “who were there gathered around him” say to Jesus, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly” (24). These religious leaders seemingly want to know the truth about who Jesus is, but they don’t actually believe Jesus’ claims about who he says he is—a fact that Jesus points out in his response to them in verse 25: “I did tell you, but you do not believe.” And Jesus is right, of course, for on numerous occasions, by both word and deed, Jesus made clear—he made plain—that he was the promised Messiah, the Son of God; Jesus made clear—he made plain—that he was God incarnate, God in the flesh. But not only did Jesus tell them by his words, he also told them by his deeds. “The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep” (25b–26). So both Jesus’ words and works bore witness to the truth of his teaching.

In reading this verse, I was curious as to what Jesus’ teaching, his words, had been prior to this encounter. So I went through the first nine chapters of John’s Gospel and here’s a sampling of what I found. In terms of what Jesus had taught or said about himself, it’s clear that he did plainly state that he was the Messiah.

In the second chapter of John,[3] upon clearing the temple of the money-changers and having his authority challenged for doing so, “19 Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.’ And John adds that “21 …the temple he had spoken of was his body.” And that “22 After [Jesus] was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.” Remember how John said about himself that when he saw the empty tomb he believed? John remembered Jesus’ words, for his words were plain, and so John believed that Jesus was indeed who he said he was.

In the third chapter of John, when Jesus meets with Nicodemus,[4] a Pharisee and member of the Jewish ruling council (1), Jesus explains to him “12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” Again, Jesus has indicated plainly that he is God insofar as he has come from, been sent by God. And as God, he is able to grant eternal life for God himself is eternal.

Similarly in chapter 4 when Jesus meets with the Samaritan woman, he tells her, “14 …whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” How much more plain can his teaching be???

Later, after the Samaritan woman returns to her town and tells them about Jesus, we learn that “39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’ 40 So when the Samaritans came to [Jesus], they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers. 42 They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.’” Clearly the Samaritans, too, have understood Jesus’ plain, his clear, teaching.

But what really irks the religious leaders of Jesus’ day is the way in which Jesus continually—and plainly—identified with God the Father and, in doing so, indicated that he, too, was God. We see this happening time and again. Jesus asserts his oneness with the Father, the only true God, and with the mission for which his Father has sent him, to teach his will and his ways.

John 4 provides a general reference of Jesus saying to his disciples, 34 “My food…is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”

In John 5, when the Jewish leaders began to persecute Jesus for doing works of healing on the Sabbath,[5] he responds “17 My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” And then, John states, “18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” Jesus regularly and plainly indicated he was God and others understood this. This section ends with Jesus underscoring that “30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”

So, too, in his teaching that he is the bread of life,[6] Jesus associates himself with the Father, stating “38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” And at the end of the passage, again, he makes plain46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father…. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” How much more plainly could Jesus make his claim?

In John 7, while at the Festival of Tabernacles,[7] Jesus went up to the temple courts to teach, and “15 The Jews there were amazed and asked, ‘How did this man get such learning without having been taught?’” Keep in mind that Jesus was the son of a carpenter. Jesus’ answer isn’t quite what they expect: 16 “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me.” And again, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.” The response of the leaders is the same as in our morning’s chapter. Namely, “30 they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, ‘When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?’”

And in two different portions of John 8, Jesus again makes clear his divine origins and nature. In teaching about his being the light of the world,[8] he says to the Jewish leaders, “ 23 You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world…. 26 I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world…. 28 I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” And again, we see positive fruit of Jesus’ plain-talk: 30 Even as he spoke, many believed in him.

Again, Jesus reiterates at the end of chapter 8,[9]38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence…. 42 If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you?”

So it’s evident that prior to the particular encounter with the Pharisees in John 10 Jesus has spoken plainly to many people about who he was. But I was also curious as to what specific works he had done in his Father’s name for, according to him, his orthodoxy—his right or true teaching—stood on his orthopraxy—his right deeds or works which testified to the truth of who he said he was.[10] In the second half of verse 25 in Chapter 10, he states: “The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me.” As we’ll see, his works thus far—even only those that John has recorded—do indeed point to the truth that he is God, and one with God the Father who has sent him to bring his truth to earth:

Jesus’ first miracle, recorded in the second chapter of John’s Gospel (vv. 1–10), is to turn water into wine, about which John observes, “11 What Jesus did…in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” The miracle pointed to his divine nature and leads those around him to believe in the truth of who was.

Similarly in John 2, there’s a general reference indicating that “23…while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and [again] believed in his name.[or in him]

John 4 records Jesus’ second miracle, that of healing a man’s son who was close to death.[11] When the father is informed by his servants that his son has been healed, he inquires the time of day when the son recovered. When he is told, “53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, ‘Your son will live.’” And what’s the result of this work? “So he and his whole household believed.” Jesus’ works confirming his words again lead those around him to believe in him.

In chapter five of John[12] Jesus says of his works that “the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me.” Later in the chapter John tells of one of these works, another healing, this time of a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.[13] By word and deed, Jesus made plain that he was God.

Another well-known miracle recorded by John is the feeding of 5000 with five small barley loaves and two small fish[14] about which Jesus states “27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” The purpose of Jesus’ words—and the purpose of Jesus’ works—is that those around him, and you and I, might believe and receive the eternal life that is his pleasure to give.

John also records Jesus’ well-known walking on water[15] as well as his healing a man born blind.[16] What person has ever done so many works witnessed to by so many?

Returning to our passage, as he has been saying all along, Jesus’ earlier teaching on his being the Good Shepherd is consistent. Sheep know the voice of their shepherd. But the reason these Jewish leaders don’t believe is because they are not Jesus’ sheep. They are following some other authority. They haven’t accepted what Jesus has said about himself nor have they believed in his works. Though by his words and works, Jesus has indicated plainly that he is the Messiah, they don’t know this because they are not his sheep.

But for those who are his sheep, the matter is completely different. “My sheep listen to my voice;” Jesus says, “I know them, and they follow me” (27). And because Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is not only human but also God, he is able to give his sheep God’s very nature, namely eternal life. For God is not a dead or lifeless god as is true of false gods and man-made idols, but God’s true nature is life and so he gives life—he gives his life, he gives himself, to those who are is. What mere human is able to give eternal life??? Yet this is precisely what Jesus is recorded as saying in verse 28: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” What is more, “no one will snatch them out of my hand.” The eternal life that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, gives his sheep is secure.

And what Jesus says next is part of the reason these Jewish leaders are so upset with him now even as they have been upset with him in the past—because by claiming oneness with God the Father, Jesus is claiming to be God as well. Jesus tells them—these leaders who have asked him to tell them plainly whether or not he is Messiah—“29 My Father, who has given [my sheep] to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” So not only can no one snatch the sheep from Jesus’ hand, verse 28, but no one can snatch Jesus’ sheep from the Father’s hand, verse 29, because Jesus and the Father are one. In other words, the hand of the Good Shepherd is also the hand of the Father because the Good Shepherd, who is Jesus, and the Father are one.

As we’ve seen before, Jesus is pointing out not only his oneness with God the Father but also his oneness with us, his sheep. The sheep who belong to the Great Shepherd, who hear his voice, who listen to his voice, who follow and obey his voice, will never perish because he has given us his eternal nature, eternal life. God’s sheep are “unsnatchable” because they belong to him and are one with him.

But the problem these leaders have isn’t so much that Jesus will care for his sheep. Their problem is the reason Jesus provides for the impossibility of anyone snatching any sheep from either his or the Father’s hand—because, he says, “I and the Father are one” (30). Notice the response to this statement recorded in verse 31: “Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him.” The first time we see religious leaders picking up stones to stone Jesus is recorded in chapter 8:58 of John when Jesus states “before Abraham was born, I am!” What both incidents have in common is the association with God. As no mere human is able to give eternal life, so no mere human could possibly claim pre-existence to Abraham, not to mention eternal existence—“I am”!

Jesus wasn’t only fully human; he was also fully God. And such a claim, if not true, is in fact blasphemy and, according to Jewish law, worthy of stoning. But because Jesus is also God, upon noticing that “his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him” (31), he says to them: “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” (32). Jesus’ works confirm the truth of his claims. But the Pharisees aren’t understanding this. They reply: “We are not stoning you for any good work…but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

So Jesus turns to Scripture—specifically Psalm 82:6. “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’[Psalm 82:6]? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside—36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?” What’s Jesus’ point here? Psalm 82 speaks of God—capital “G”—presiding in the great assembly and rendering judgment among the “gods”—small “g.” But who are these “gods” that Psalm 82 is referring to? Well, in the Old Testament, human judges could be called “gods” in the sense that they were viewed as acting in God’s place in dispensing justice.[17] In the first five verses of that psalm, the alleged “gods” are acting in very ungodlike ways. They are defending the unjust and showing partiality to the wicked (2). But they are being called, instead, to “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Biblical religion is one grounded in loving God and loving others, in caring for those whom God cares for, in giving a voice to the voiceless, and standing for those who are unable to stand on their own. These are the true godlike behaviors.

In contrast the false “gods” “know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness” (5). Then we come to verses 6–7 that Jesus quoted from this psalm: “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’ And then verse 7 which he doesn’t quote: But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.” Again, this statement confirms that in Psalm 82 the “gods”—small or lower case “g”—are, in actuality, humans.[18] They are “gods” in the sense that they are sons, or followers, of the Most High God, but they are clearly human in that they will die like mere mortals and fall like every other ruler. The “godlike” behavior is due to their God-given responsibility to act justly even as God is just.

In referring to Psalm 82, Jesus, first of all, is noting human responsibility to act justly as God acts. God gives his word that we mere mortals might act in a divine manner, that is, in a manner that reflects the God who created us in his image and desires us to live according to his will and ways, standing up to wickedness, and caring for the weak and the fatherless, for the poor and the oppressed. This is the reason God has given us his Scripture—and, verse 35, Scripture cannot be set aside. Scriptural teaching is authoritative and binding upon us because God is the one who gives it to us.

But Jesus then goes on to acknowledge his unique status as the Son of God. His argument is that if humans, made in God’s image and therefore belonging to God, are expected to act as “gods”—as those who represent God on earth—how much more ought he, who is the Son of God incarnate, the Son of God in the flesh, act in ways that are consistent and in keeping with God the Father?[19] Jesus is plainly referring to himself in stating in verse 36, “what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?” It isn’t just that the Father set Jesus apart to proclaim his word—the same thing might be said of any of the Old Testament prophets or even of John the Baptist. But the Father sent his own Son, from his place with the Father in heaven, into the world.

In other words, Jesus’ claim to be one with God—and therefore his implicit claim of being God himself—isn’t blasphemy if it’s true. Hence he asks, “Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?” Since he is God’s Son, no blasphemy has been committed. And Jesus is God’s Son not simply because he says he is but he urges these religious leaders who know the Scriptures to judge him not only by his words but also by his works. If he isn’t doing the deeds of God then they’re right to disbelieve. “But,” he says, “if I do them, even though you do not believe me”—in other words, even if you do not believe my words—“believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Jesus is holding out eternal life even to these who so stubbornly refuse to believe. But these Jewish leaders clearly aren’t hearing Jesus. Or, more accurately, these Jewish leaders clearly aren’t believing Jesus for we’re told in verse 39: “Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.”

The importance of Jesus’ works is highlighted again at the close of our passage. Jesus returns across the Jordan River to where John the Baptist had been baptizing in the early days and stays there (40). And, we’re told, many people came to Jesus and said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.”

And what John the Baptist said about Jesus was consistent with both Jesus’ words and works:

In the first chapter of this Gospel, we’re told that John the Baptist stated about Jesus, “This is the one I spoke about whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”

And later in the same chapter he testifies[20] 26 “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

And the next day John the Baptist, upon seeing Jesus coming toward him,[21] declares “Look, the Lamb of God,”—a way of referring to Jesus used more than once by John[22]—“who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’” And not only that, but John the Baptist testifies even more directly about Jesus being God in sharing what he saw occur when Jesus was baptized: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

And finally, when a dispute arises about Jesus among John the Baptist’s disciples,[23] he settles the matter by saying “28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’…31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all…. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.

The testimony of John the Baptist, sent to prepare the way for Jesus the Christ, is consistent with that which Jesus gave. By word and deed, it is plain that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, God in the flesh. And because his words and works lined up, our passage ends, “in that place many believed in Jesus” (42). And so, too, are we called to believe.

Brothers and sisters, our passage this morning presents us not only with Jesus, man from Nazareth, but with Jesus the Christ, one with the Father and therefore himself God, and sent from the Father. And though I’m certainly not the first to make this observation, either Jesus was who he said he was or he was a lunatic. Because it isn’t just that he spoke with conviction or with passion or with authority. But he claimed that his authority was due to his oneness with God. Because of this oneness, he was able not only to speak God’s words, but was also able to do God’s deeds. And the reason for both his good words and works is that you and I might believe.

It’s my prayer this morning that as we consider Jesus, our Good Shepherd, who, more than anything, desires that we believe in him that we might receive the eternal life which is his to give and which he so freely gives, that we might leave encouraged and humbled and with a sense of awe over the love our heavenly Father offers us—by means of his eternal Son—and by the sealing of his Holy Spirit who, once we believe in the Son, will never leave us or forsake us, not in this life or the next.

Let us pray.

 

[1] John 10:1a: Very truly I tell you Pharisees,

[2] ESV study Bible note: The eight-day Feast of Dedication celebrates the rededication of the Jewish temple in December 164 BC, after its desecration by the Seleucid ruler Antiochus Epiphanes IV in 165 BC (I Macc. 1:59).

[3] John 2:13–22: 13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”[Psalm 69:9] 18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” 20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

[4] And account of Nicodemus, a Pharisee, and member of the Jewish ruling council (v. 1) follows up with another reference in John 3:2–21: He [Nicodemus] came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” And NB what Jesus says to him: 10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[some mss Man, who is in heaven] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[Gk for lifted up also means exalted] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[some interpreters end quotation w/v. 21] 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

[5] John 5:16–30: 16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. 24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. 28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

[6] Jesus is the bread of life—John 6:32–40; 43–51; 53–59: 32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” 43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’[Isaiah 54:13] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” 53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

[7] John 7:14–31: 14 Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 15 The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?” 16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?” 20 “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?” 21 Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. 22 Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. 23 Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? 24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” 25 At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? 27 But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” 28 Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.” 30 At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?”

[8] John 8:12–30: 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16 But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 17 In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. 18 I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” 19 Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 He spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come. 21 Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.” 22 This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?” 23 But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” 25 “Who are you?” they asked. “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. 26 “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” 27 They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. 28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up[Gk for lifted up also means exalted] the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” 30 Even as he spoke, many believed in him.

[9] John 8:34–38, 42–47: 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.[or presence. Therefore do what you have heard from the Father]42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

[10] Re: Jesus’ “works” in John. According to ESV footnote to John 14:12: In John’s Gospel, the term “works” (Gk. ergon), both in singular and in plural, is a broader term than “signs.” While “signs” in John are characteristically miracles that attest to Jesus’ identity as Messiah and Son of God, and that lead unbelievers to faith (see note 2:11), Jesus’ “works” include both his miracles (see 7:21) and his other activities and teachings, including the whole of his ministry (see 4:34; 5:36; 10:32; 17:4). These are all manifestations of the activity of God the Father, for Jesus said, “The Father who dwells in me does his works” (14:10).

[11] Jesus’ second sign—John 4:45–54: 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there. 46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. 48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” 49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.” 53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed. 54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.

[12] John 5:36–47: 36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study[c] the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life. 41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God[some early mss the Only One]? 45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

[13] Healing at the Sheep Gate pool: 5:1–9: 1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda[some mss Bethzatha, others Bethsaida] and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. [4] [some mess add verse 4 about angel of Lord stirring up waters] One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

[14] Jesus feeds the 500 with five small barley loaves and two small fish (v. 9)—John 6:1–15: 1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near…. 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. 14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. Note comment in vv. 26–29: 26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.

[15] John 6:16–24.

[16] John 9:1–6.

[17] Reformation Study Bible note on John 10:34–38. It goes on to note: The Hebrew word ‘elohim is used not only to refer to the one true God but also to denote false gods, angels, and, very rarely, men exercising divine functions.

[18] ESV study Bible note on Psalm 82:1–4 confirms this as well: The Task of the “Gods.” The first section gives the job description of human rulers (the gods), especially those who rule God’s covenant people; Psalm 82:5–7: The “Gods” Who Fail in Their Task. The next section describes God’s verdict on those rulers who refuse to carry out their divinely given assignment. Reformation Study Bible note on Psalm 82 notes that “The Hebrew word ‘elohim (“gods”) is used of human judges in Ex. 21:6; 22:8, 9.

[19] ESV study Bible note on 10:34 agrees with my observation here: Jesus’ point in quoting Ps. 82:6 is that if human judges (Ps. 82:2–4) can in some sense be called gods [sic] (in light of their role as representatives of God), this designation is even more appropriate for the one who truly is the Son of God (John 10:33, 35–36).

[20] John 1:26–28: 26 “I baptize with[or in. also vv. 31, 33(twice)] water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” 28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

[21] John 1:29–34: 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”[See Isaiah 42:1; many mss “is the Son of God”]

[22] John 1:35: 35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

[23] John 3:25–36: 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” 27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”[some interpreters end quotation w/v. 36] 31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God[he] gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

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