What Did Jesus Mean in John 10:30? (A Response to Muslims and Unitarians)
A few days ago I posted an article titled, “Are You a Sheep?” The post focused on Jesus’ words found in John 10:24-30. This post will also revolve around Jesus’ words in this text but, we will only be looking at verse 30. This is what Jesus says in John 10:30:
‘I and the Father are one.’ -ESV
Other religious groups dislike this passage of Scripture. Muslims cannot fathom the idea that God would ever become a man and, because of their presuppositions, they cannot accept Jesus’ words. Muslims believe that Jesus was a good teacher and a prophet sent by God. Muslims believe that Jesus did many of the miracles that we find in Scripture but, they reject his deity. The real question is, based on this passage, should they?
Muslims, and others, will say that Jesus never makes it clear that he is divine but, this passage of Scripture does not support that assertion. Notice how the Jews respond to Jesus’ words in verse 30:
31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?’ 33 The Jews answered him, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.’ -John 10: 31-33
The Jews pick up stones to kill Jesus and, Jesus asks them why they are upset. They accuse Jesus of blasphemy because, as it says in verse 33, Jesus made himself God. The Jews knew exactly what Jesus was saying. Jesus was placing himself on the same level as the Father and, according to the Old Testament, it was blasphemous for a mere man to say those words. In light of the Jews reaction the Muslim has to answer this question, “If Jesus wasn’t claiming deity, why did the Jews want to stone Jesus?” The Jews make it clear why they were going to stone Jesus. Jesus was claiming deity.
Unitarians also misuse this passage but for a different reason. Merriam-Webster gives a good definition of “Unitarian” as:
one who believes that the deity exists only in one person
Unitarians believe that God exists in one person and, on the surface Jesus’ words seem to reflect this. The Unitarian will often claim that Jesus is saying that he and the Father are one person but, is Jesus really saying that? I bet you can guess the answer.
In John 10:30 Jesus uses a plural verb. So, when Jesus says, “I and the Father are one,” the “are” is plural. The Greek word used is ἐσμεν (esmen) which is the plural form of εἰμί (eimi). The Greek word “eimi” is defined by the NAS Exhaustive Concordance as:
I exist, I am
The plural form of these words would be, “we exist, we are”. Unitarians teach that Jesus means, “I and the Father is one,” but, Jesus didn’t use a singular verb. Since the plural form of the verb is used a more accurate translation would be, “I and the Father, we are one.” Jesus is clearly stating that the Father and himself are both God yet, he makes a distinction between them. They are unified in deity but are different in personhood.
Jesus’ words are wonderful and amazing but, there will always be people attempting to twist his words to fit their views. When the Muslim, or anyone else, says that Jesus never spoke clearly about his deity, you can point them to Jesus’ words in John 10:30 and the Jew’s response that followed. When the Unitarian, or anyone else, denies the Trinity you can point them to Jesus’ use of the plural verb in verse 30.
Every Christian needs to be ready to answer every objection to the faith and, I pray this article will help you do that.
Thanks for Reading,