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A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture by Frederick Justus Knecht D.D.

[John 10:23–42]

JESUS assisted at the Feast of the Dedication of the Temple. As He walked through the Porch of Solomon, a number of Jews surrounded Him and said: “How long dost Thou hold our souls in suspense? If Thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered: “I speak to you, and you believe not. The works that I do in the name of My Father, they give testimony of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. And I give them life everlasting, and they shall not perish for ever, and no man shall pluck them out of my hand. That which my Father hath given me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them out of the hand of my Father. I and the Father are one.”

The Jews then took up stones to stone Him. But He said to them: “Many good works I have shown to you from My Father; for which of those works do you stone Me?” They replied: “For a good work we stone Thee not, but for blasphemy; because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God.”

Jesus said to them: “If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not. But if I do, though you will not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know, and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” Hearing this, they tried to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hands.

Our Lord’s Divinity is proved in several ways in this chapter. It is proved: 1. by His own distinct testimony, 2. by His miracles, 3. by the holiness of His life.

1. Our Lord’s own testimony.

He called God His Father: therefore He is the Son of God.

He says: “I give My sheep life everlasting.” God alone can give everlasting life: therefore Jesus is God.

He says again: “No man shall pluck My sheep out of My Hand.” No one is stronger than He; and therefore He ascribes to Himself a might superhuman or divine.

He says, lastly: “I and the Father are one”; one in power, one in nature. There are two Persons, indeed, I and the Father; but only One Being, One God. The same truth of the unity of nature of the Father and the Son is further expressed by the words: “The Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” On these words St. Cyril writes thus: “The effect of this unity of the Divine Nature is that the Son is in the Father, and the Father in the Son. Even as the sun is in the ray which proceeds from it, and the ray is in the sun from which it proceeds, so is the Son in the Father and the Father in the Son; and they, being two Divine Persons, are One God, existing for and in one another by the unity of their Divine Nature.”

The Jews understood perfectly well that by these words our Lord ascribed to Himself the Divine Power and Nature, or, in other words, that He called Himself the real Son of God. They reproached Him with making Himself God, and wished to stone Him as a blasphemer. Had the Jews understood His words wrongly, He would have said “I am not God”, in the same way as St. John the Baptist said “I am not the Christ” (chapter XI). Jesus, however, retracted none of His words, but, on the contrary, reproached the Jews for not believing them.

2. The testimony of our Lord’s miracles. Our Lord appealed to His wonderful works as a proof of His divine power, and as a means whereby the Jews might know that “the Father was in Him and He in the Father”. This shows us that our Lord’s chief aim in working miracles was to induce men to believe in His divine mission and in the truth of His doctrine. Even as He spoke, He confirmed His testimony by a fresh miracle, disappearing from the midst of His infuriated enemies when they were on the point of laying hands on Him.

3. The testimony of our Lord’s holiness, which was a further proof of the truth of His words, and therefore of His divine nature. Even His enemies, who hated Him, could not reproach Him with any evil deed, but admitted by their silence, when He appealed to them, that He had never done anything but good.

APPLICATION. Excite in your hearts a living faith in your Divine Saviour. He is the Eternal Son of God, who, by His Omnipotence, created the world, and for love of you became Man, and suffered Himself to be blasphemed and persecuted! Hold fast to Him, and you will not be lost, but will attain to everlasting life. No power in the world can snatch you from Him, unless you separate yourself from Him by mortal sin. Die rather than commit a mortal sin!








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