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One With the Father, But Not God

One With the Father, But Not God

JOHN 10:22-42



Jesus has come to Jerusalem for the Festival of Dedication (or, Hanukkah). This festival commemorates the rededication of the temple. Over a century earlier, Syrian King Antiochus IV Epiphanes built an altar over the great altar at God’s temple. Later, sons of a Jewish priest recaptured Jerusalem and rededicated the temple to Jehovah. Since then, an annual celebration is held on Chislev 25, the month corresponding to the late part of November and the early part of December.

It is wintertime, the season of cold weather. Jesus is walking in the temple in the colonnade of Solomon. Here Jews encircle him and demand: “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” (John 10:22-24) How will Jesus respond? He replies: “I told you, and yet you do not believe.” Jesus has not told them directly that he is the Christ, as he told the Samaritan woman at the well. (John 4:25, 26) He has, though, revealed his identity in saying: “Before Abraham came into existence, I have been.”​—John 8:58.

Jesus wants people to conclude for themselves that he is the Christ by comparing his works with what was foretold the Christ would do. This is why he at other times told his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. But now he tells these hostile Jews outright: “The works that I am doing in my Father’s name, these bear witness about me. But you do not believe.”​—John 10:25, 26.

Why do they not believe that Jesus is the Christ? He says: “You do not believe, because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them everlasting life, and they will by no means ever be destroyed, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is something greater than all other things.” Jesus then tells them how close his relationship with his Father is, saying: “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:26-30) Jesus is here on earth and his Father is in heaven, so he cannot mean that he and his Father are literally one. Rather, they are one in purpose, being united.

Jesus’ words so anger the Jews that they again pick up stones to kill him. This does not frighten Jesus. “I displayed to you many fine works from the Father,” he says. “For which of those works are you stoning me?” They respond: “We are stoning you, not for a fine work, but for blasphemy; for you . . . make yourself a god.” (John 10:31-33) Jesus never claimed to be a god, so why this accusation?

Well, Jesus is saying that he has powers that the Jews believe belong to God alone. For example, regarding the “sheep” he said: “I give them everlasting life,” which is something humans cannot do. (John 10:28) The Jews are overlooking the fact that Jesus has openly admitted that he received authority from his Father.

In refuting their false charge, Jesus asks: “Is it not written in your Law [at Psalm 82:6], ‘I said: “You are gods”’? If he called ‘gods’ those against whom the word of God came . . . do you say to me whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You blaspheme,’ because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?”​—John 10:34-36.

Yes, the Scriptures call even unjust human judges “gods.” So how can these Jews fault Jesus for saying “I am God’s Son”? He points to something that should convince them: “If I am not doing the works of my Father, do not believe me. But if I am doing them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may come to know and may continue knowing that the Father is in union with me and I am in union with the Father.”​—John 10:37, 38.

In response, the Jews try to seize Jesus, but he again escapes. He leaves Jerusalem and goes across the Jordan River to the area where John began baptizing nearly four years earlier. This apparently is not far from the southern end of the Sea of Galilee.

Crowds come to Jesus and say: “John did not perform a single sign, but all the things John said about this man were true.” (John 10:41) Thus, many Jews put faith in Jesus.