Advertisements

Blog Archives

What Did Jesus Mean in John 10:30? (A Response to Muslims and Unitarians)

The Trinity

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,

Travis

Advertisements

We Need Change

 Love isn’t easy to find. There are many people who live their whole lives and never find the love of a spouse. There’s people who live their whole lives without knowing the love of a mother, a sister, a brother, and all too commonly, a father. This lack of love is seen everyday in our culture. I don’t know how many kids I’ve talked to who don’t have fathers. Kids who have never known who their father is. Kids who will never know what it’s like to have a dad sit down and tell them “I love you”. And it breaks my heart to know that our society creates fluidity within the family unit. Just yesterday during the Super Bowl we saw commercials that absolutely degraded morality and true love. 

There was GoDaddy commercials with women being painted and at the end encourages people to log on to see the stuff they can’t show on television. There was a flower commercial suggesting that a husband or significant other should buy flowers for their loved one so that they will return the favor with sex. We see these things on television and wonder why our society has a 50% divorce rate. These ads get shown and we sit back and wonder why our young people are increasingly getting addicted to pornography, drugs, alcohol, and sex.

How many people are up in arms at the gross commercials that get played every year as about 100 million people watch? Yet, we live in a society that screams when a benign ad featuring Tim Tebow comes out about his mother’s decision to continue on with with her pregnancy:

 

We can point people to the Father of the fatherless (psalm 68:5) and the one that can bring peace when the world seems to be in utter turmoil. I pray that we will be the change that shows the world God’s amazing love.

The Uniqueness of Jesus

Some people say that Jesus is a myth. Many people claim that Jesus was a good teacher. Others claim that he was a prophet. The last two of these descriptions are true but Jesus is much more. Jesus is perfect. Jesus is holy. Jesus is unique. Jesus is God. The Bible attests to Jesus as being “the unique God” and this is shown in John 1:18 when John writes:

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. -ESV

This sentence is kind of confusing. It is difficult to translate Koine Greek to English and we see this here. I like how the NET Bible puts it because it makes John’s writing more understandable. The NET reads:

No one has ever seen God. The only one, himself God, who is in closest fellowship with the Father, has made God known. -NET

To me the NET is much easier to understand, however, there is an interesting question that is begged. If “no one has ever seen God” then how could Jesus be God? This is a great question and within John’s writing he carefully gives us an answer.

John makes a distinction between Jesus and the Father when he writes, “No one has ever seen God.” We could understand him saying, “No one has ever seen the Father.” This is shown by John’s second clause when he writes, “The only one, himself God, who is in closest fellowship with the Father, has made God known.” 

John makes it clear that he is speaking about Jesus being the designated revelation of the Father. Jesus, who is God, made the Father, who is God, known. This gives us insight into the triune nature of God. Obviously, the Holy Spirit is not mentioned but we have two of the three persons of God differentiated from one another. John also points out that Jesus and the Father are intimately connected.

The NET speaks of Jesus being in “closest fellowship” with the Father. This is an amazing concept but John’s specific word usage is even more insightful.  The Greek word he uses is “kolpos”. The Strong’s Concordance gives this as the first definition”kolpos”:

the front of the body between the arms

This imagery is beautiful. Jesus may be differentiated from the Father but he is also intimately connected to the Father. In other words he is like the heart of the Father. Jesus shows us the Father’s heart by giving himself up for our transgressions. Nothing in English can depict such a wonderful connection but John did.

We see that Jesus is God and the Father is God. So, what makes Jesus unique? Well, Jesus is said to be unique when John writes, “The only one, himself God,“. When the NET says, “The only one,” they are translating the Greek word “monogenēs“. The Strong’s Concordance defines this word saying:

1) single of its kind, only

1b) used of Christ, denotes the only begotten son of God

Jesus is the only begotten son of God. He is the single greatest person to ever walk the face of the earth. He is the perfect and holy representation of the Father. He is intimately connected to the Father. In fact he is one with the Father (John 10:30). He is the unique God. I love what Dr. James White writes in an article titled “The Prologue of the Gospel of John”. He says:

The unique God makes the Father known – He “explains’ Him. What we know of the Father we know because of the revelation of the Son. We know what the Father is like because we know what Jesus Is like. Here the Son’s function as the revelator of the Father is clearly set forth, and this is directly in line with the usage of the term Logos in the Prologue.

I pray that we all understand the perfection, holiness, and uniqueness of the Father’s living revelation…Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!

%d bloggers like this: