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John 10:22

New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995) [2]
— At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem;
King James Version (KJV 1769) [2]
— And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
English Revised Version (ERV 1885)
— And it was the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem: it was winter;
American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And it was the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem:
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Now the feast of the dedication was celebrating at Jerusalem, and it was winter.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— The feast of dedication took place at that time, in Jerusalem: it was, winter,
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And the dedication in Jerusalem came, and it was winter,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And it was the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem: and it was winter.
Geneva Bible (GNV 1560)
— And it was at Hierusalem the feast of the Dedication, and it was winter.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And it was at Hierusalem the feast of the dedication, & it was winter.
Lamsa Bible (1957)
— Then came the feast of dedication at Jerusalem, and it was winter.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— IT was the feast of the renovation at Urishlem, and it was winter.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— And the feast of the dedication was [held] at Jerusalem, and it was winter.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And 1161
{1161} Prime
A primary particle (adversative or continuative); but, and, etc.
it was 1096
{1096} Prime
A prolonged and middle form of a primary verb; to cause to be ('gen' -erate), that is, (reflexively) to become (come into being), used with great latitude (literally, figuratively, intensively, etc.).
<5633> Grammar
Tense - Second Aorist (See G5780)
Voice - Middle Deponent (See G5788)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 260
at 1722
{1722} Prime
A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537); 'in', at, (up-) on, by, etc.
Jerusalem 2414
{2414} Prime
Of Hebrew origin [H3389]; Hierosolyma (that is, Jerushalaim), the capital of Palestine.
the x3588
(3588) Complement

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
feast of the dedication, 1456
{1456} Prime
Neuter plural of a presumed compound from G1722 and G2537; innovatives, that is, (specifically) renewal (of religious services after the Antiochian interruption).
and 2532
{2532} Prime
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
it was 2258
{2258} Prime
Imperfect of G1510; I (thou, etc.) was (wast or were).
<5713> Grammar
Tense - Imperfect (See G5775)
Voice - No Voice Stated (See G5799)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 532
winter. 5494
{5494} Prime
From a derivation of χέω [[cheo]] (to pour; akin to the base of G5490 through the idea of a channel), meaning a storm (as pouring rain); by implication the rainy season, that is, winter.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

John 10:22-23

_ _ John 10:22-42. Discourse at the Feast of Dedication — From the fury of His enemies Jesus escapes beyond Jordan, where many believe on Him.

_ _ it was ... the feast of the dedication — celebrated rather more than two months after the feast of tabernacles, during which intermediate period our Lord seems to have remained in the neighborhood of Jerusalem. It was instituted by Jude Maccabeus, to commemorate the purification of the temple from the profanations to which it had been subjected by Antiochus Epiphanes 165 b.c., and kept for eight days, from the twenty-fifth Chisleu (December), the day on which Judas began the first joyous celebration of it (1 Maccabees 4:52, 56, 59; and Josephus, Antiquities, 7.7.7).

_ _ it was winter — implying some inclemency. Therefore,

Matthew Henry's Commentary

John 10:22-38

_ _ We have here another rencounter between Christ and the Jews in the temple, in which it is hard to say which is more strange, the gracious words that came out of his mouth or the spiteful ones that came out of theirs.

_ _ I. We have here the time when this conference was: It was at the feast of dedication, and it was winter, a feast that was annually observed by consent, in remembrance of the dedication of a new altar and the purging of the temple, by Judas Maccabaeus, after the temple had been profaned and the altar defiled; we have the story of it at large in the history of the Maccabees (lib. 1, cap. 4); we have the prophecy of it, Daniel 8:13, Daniel 8:14. See more of the feast, 2 Macc. 1:18. The return of their liberty was to them as life from the dead, and, in remembrance of it, they kept an annual feast on the twenty-fifth day of the month Cisleu, about the beginning of December, and seven days after. The celebrating of it was not confined to Jerusalem, as that of the divine feasts was, but every one observed it in his own place, not as a holy time (it is only a divine institution that can sanctify a day), but as a good time, as the days of Purim, Esther 9:19. Christ forecasted to be now at Jerusalem, not in honour of the feast, which did not require his attendance there, but that he might improve those eight days of vacation for good purposes.

_ _ II. The place where it was (John 10:23): Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch; so called (Acts 3:11), not because built by Solomon, but because built in the same place with that which had borne his name in the first temple, and the name was kept up for the greater reputation of it. Here Christ walked, to observe the proceedings of the great sanhedrim that sat here (Psalms 82:1); he walked, ready to give audience to any that should apply to him, and to offer them his services. He walked, as it should seem, for some time alone, as one neglected; walked pensive, in the foresight of the ruin of the temple. Those that have any thing to say to Christ may find him in the temple and walk with him there.

_ _ III. The conference itself, in which observe,

_ _ 1. A weighty question put to him by the Jews, John 10:24. They came round about him, to tease him; he was waiting for an opportunity to do them a kindness, and they took the opportunity to do him a mischief. Ill-will for good-will is no rare and uncommon return. He could not enjoy himself, no, not in the temple, his Father's house, without disturbance. They came about him, as it were, to lay siege to him: encompassed him about like bees. They came about him as if they had a joint and unanimous desire to be satisfied; came as one man, pretending an impartial and importunate enquiry after truth, but intending a general assault upon our Lord Jesus; and they seemed to speak the sense of their nation, as if they were the mouth of all the Jews: How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ tell us.

_ _ (1.) They quarrel with him, as if he had unfairly held them in suspense hitherto. Tn psuchn hmn aireisHow long dost thou steal away our hearts? Or, take away our souls? So some read it; basely intimating that what share he had of the people's love and respect he did not obtain fairly, but by indirect methods, as Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel; and as seducers deceive the hearts of the simple, and so draw away disciples after them, Romans 16:18; Acts 20:30. But most interpreters understand it as we do: “How long dost thou keep us in suspense? How long are we kept debating whether thou be the Christ or no, and not able to determine the question?” Now, [1.] It was the effect of their infidelity, and powerful prejudices, that after our Lord Jesus had so fully proved himself to be the Christ they were still in doubt concerning it; this they willingly hesitated about, when they might easily have been satisfied. The struggle was between their convictions, which told them he was Christ, and their corruptions, which said, No, because he was not such a Christ as they expected. Those who choose to be sceptics may, if they please, hold the balance so that the most cogent arguments may not weigh down the most trifling objections, but scales may still hang even. [2.] It was an instance of their impudence and presumption that they laid the blame of their doubting upon Christ himself, as if he made them to doubt by inconsistency with himself, whereas in truth they made themselves doubt by indulging their prejudices. If Wisdom's sayings appear doubtful, the fault is not in the object, but in the eye; they are all plain to him that understands. Christ would make us to believe; we make ourselves to doubt.

_ _ (2.) They challenge him to give a direct and categorical answer whether he was the Messiah or no: “If thou be the Christ, as many believe thou art, tell us plainly, not by parables, as, I am the light of the world, and the good Shepherd, and the like, but totidem verbis — in so many words, either that thou art the Christ, or, as John Baptist, that thou art not,” John 1:20. Now this pressing query of theirs was seemingly good; they pretended to be desirous to know the truth, as if they were ready to embrace it; but it was really bad, and put with an ill design; for, if he should tell them plainly that he was the Christ, there needed no more to make him obnoxious to the jealousy and severity of the Roman government. Every one knew the Messiah was to be a king, and therefore whoever pretended to be the Messiah would be prosecuted as a traitor, which was the thing they would have been at; for, let him tell them ever so plainly that he was the Christ, they would have this to say presently, Thou bearest witness of thyself, as they had said, John 8:13.

_ _ 2. Christ's answer to this question, in which,

_ _ (1.) He justifies himself as not at all accessary to their infidelity and skepticism, referring them, [1.] To what he had said: I have told you. He had told them that he was the Son of God, the Son of man, that he had life in himself, that he had authority to execute judgment, etc. And is not this the Christ then? These things he had told them, and they believed not; why then should they be told them again, merely to gratify their curiosity? You believed not. They pretended that they only doubted, but Christ tells them that they did not believe. Skepticism in religion is no better than downright infidelity. It is now for us to teach God how he should teach us, nor prescribe to him how plainly he should tell us his mind, but to be thankful for divine revelation as we have it. If we do not believe this, neither should we be persuaded if it were ever so much adapted to our humour. [2.] He refers them to his works, to the example of his life, which was not only perfectly pure, but highly beneficent, and of a piece with his doctrine; and especially to his miracles, which he wrought for the confirmation of his doctrine. It was certain that no man could do those miracles except God were with him, and God would not be with him to attest a forgery.

_ _ (2.) He condemns them for their obstinate unbelief, notwithstanding all the most plain and powerful arguments used to convince them: “You believed not; and again, You believed not. You still are what you always were, obstinate in your unbelief.” But the reason he gives is very surprising: “You believed not, because you are not of my sheep: you believe not in me, because you belong not to me.” [1.] “You are not disposed to be my followers, are not of a tractable teachable temper, have no inclination to receive the doctrine and law of the Messiah; you will not herd yourselves with my sheep, will not come and see, come and hear my voice.” Rooted antipathies to the gospel of Christ are the bonds of iniquity and infidelity. [2.] “You are not designed to be my followers; you are not of those that were given me by my Father, to be brought to grace and glory. You are not of the number of the elect; and your unbelief, if you persist in it, will be a certain evidence that you are not.” Note, Those to whom God never gives the grace of faith were never designed for heaven and happiness. What Solomon saith of immorality is true of infidelity, It is a deep ditch, and he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein, Proverbs 22:14. Non esse electum, non est causa incredulitatis proprič dicta, sed causa per accidens. Fides autem est donum Dei et effectus praedestinationis — The not being included among the elect is not the proper cause of infidelity, but merely the accidental cause. But faith is the gift of God, and the effect of predestination. So Jansenius distinguishes well here.

_ _ (3.) He takes this occasion to describe both the gracious disposition and the happy state of those that are his sheep; for such there are, though they be not.

_ _ [1.] To convince them that they were not his sheep, he tells them what were the characters of his sheep. First, They hear his voice (John 10:27), for they know it to be his (John 10:4), and he has undertaken that they shall hear it, John 10:16. They discern it, It is the voice of my beloved, Song of Songs 2:8. They delight in it, are in their element when they are sitting at his feet to hear his word. They do according to it, and make his word their rule. Christ will not account those his sheep that are deaf to his calls, deaf to his charms, Psalms 58:5. Secondly, They follow him; they submit to his guidance by a willing obedience to all his commands, and a cheerful conformity to his spirit and pattern. The word of command has always been, Follow me. We must eye him as our leader and captain, and tread in his steps, and walk as he walked — follow the prescriptions of his word, the intimations of his providence, and the directions of his Spirit — follow the Lamb (the dux gregis — the leader of the flock) whithersoever he goes. In vain do we hear his voice if we do not follow him.

_ _ [2.] To convince them that it was their great unhappiness and misery not to be of Christ's sheep, he here describes the blessed state and case of those that are, which would likewise serve for the support and comfort of his poor despised followers, and keep them from envying the power and grandeur of those that were not of his sheep.

_ _ First, Our Lord Jesus takes cognizance of his sheep: They hear my voice, and I know them. He distinguishes them from others (2 Timothy 2:19), has a particular regard to every individual (Psalms 34:6); he knows their wants and desires, knows their souls in adversity, where to find them, and what to do for them. He knows others afar off, but knows them near at hand.

_ _ Secondly, He has provided a happiness for them, suited to them: I give unto them eternal life, John 10:28. 1. The estate settled upon them is rich and valuable; it is life, eternal life. Man has a living soul; therefore the happiness provided is life, suited to his nature. Man has an immortal soul: therefore the happiness provided is eternal life, running parallel with his duration. Life eternal is the felicity and chief good of a soul immortal. 2. The manner of conveyance is free: I give it to them; it is not bargained and sold upon a valuable consideration, but given by the free grace of Jesus Christ. The donor has power to give it. He who is the fountain of life, and Father of eternity, has authorized Christ to give eternal life, John 17:2. Not I will give it, but I do give it; it is a present gift. He gives the assurance of it, the pledge and earnest of it, the first-fruits and foretastes of it, that spiritual life which is eternal life begun, heaven in the seed, in the bud, in the embryo.

_ _ Thirdly, He has undertaken for their security and preservation to this happiness.

_ _ a. They shall be saved from everlasting perdition. They shall by no means perish for ever; so the words are. As there is an eternal life, so there is an eternal destruction; the soul not annihilated, but ruined; its being continued, but its comfort and happiness irrecoverably lost. All believers are saved from this; whatever cross they may come under, they shall not come into condemnation. A man is never undone till he is in hell, and they shall not go down to that. Shepherds that have large flocks often lose some of the sheep and suffer them to perish; but Christ has engaged that none of his sheep shall perish, not one.

_ _ b. They cannot be kept from their everlasting happiness; it is in reserve, but he that gives it to them will preserve them to it. (a.) His own power is engaged for them: Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. A mighty contest is here supposed about these sheep. The Shepherd is so careful of their welfare that he has them not only within his fold, and under his eye, but in his hand, interested in his special love and taken under his special protection (all his saints are in thy hand, Deuteronomy 33:3); yet their enemies are so daring that they attempt to pluck them out of his hand — his whose own they are, whose care they are; but they cannot, they shall not, do it. Note, Those are safe who are in the hands of the Lord Jesus. The saints are preserved in Christ Jesus: and their salvation is not in their own keeping, but in the keeping of a Mediator. The Pharisees and rulers did all they could to frighten the disciples of Christ from following him, reproving and threatening them, but Christ saith that they shall not prevail. (b.) His Father's power is likewise engaged for their preservation, John 10:29. He now appeared in weakness, and, lest his security should therefore be thought insufficient, he brings in his Father as a further security. Observe, [a.] The power of the Father: My Father is greater than all; greater than all the other friends of the church, all the other shepherds, magistrates or ministers, and able to do that for them which they cannot do. Those shepherds slumber and sleep, and it will be easy to pluck the sheep out of their hands; but he keeps his flock day and night. He is greater than all the enemies of the church, all the opposition given to her interests, and able to secure his own against all their insults; he is greater than all the combined force of hell and earth. He is greater in wisdom than the old serpent, though noted for subtlety; greater in strength than the great red dragon, though his name be legion, and his title principalities and powers. The devil and his angels have had many a push, many a pluck for the mastery, but have never yet prevailed, Revelation 12:7, Revelation 12:8. The Lord on high is mightier. [b.] The interest of the Father in the sheep, for the sake of which this power is engaged for them: “It is my Father that gave them to me, and he is concerned in honour to uphold his gift.” They were given to the Son as a trust to be managed by him, and therefore God will still look after them. All the divine power is engaged for the accomplishment of all the divine counsels. [c.] The safety of the saints inferred from these two. If this be so, then none (neither man nor devil) is able to pluck them out of the Father's hand, not able to deprive them of the grace they have, nor to hinder them from the glory that is designed them; not able to put them out of God's protection, nor get them into their own power. Christ had himself experienced the power of his Father upholding and strengthening him, and therefore puts all his followers into his hand too. He that secured the glory of the Redeemer will secure the glory of the redeemed. Further to corroborate the security, that the sheep of Christ may have strong consolation, he asserts the union of these two undertakers: “I and my Father are one, and have jointly and severally undertaken for the protection of the saints and their perfection.” This denotes more than the harmony, and consent, and good understanding, that were between the Father and the Son in the work of man's redemption. Every good man is so far one with God as to concur with him; therefore it must be meant of the oneness of the nature of Father and Son, that they are the same in substance, and equal in power and glory. The fathers urged this both against the Sabellians, to prove the distinction and plurality of the persons, that the Father and the Son are two, and against the Arians, to prove the unity of the nature, that these two are one. If we should altogether hold our peace concerning this sense of the words, even the stones which the Jews took up to cast at him would speak it out, for the Jews understood him as hereby making himself God (John 10:33) and he did not deny it. He proves that none could pluck them out of his hand because they could not pluck them out of the Father's hand, which had not been a conclusive argument if the Son had not had the same almighty power with the Father, and consequently been one with him in essence and operation.

_ _ IV. The rage, the outrage, of the Jews against him for this discourse: The Jews took up stones again, John 10:31. It is not the word that is used before (John 8:59), but ebastasan lithousthey carried stones — great stones, stones that were a load, such as they used in stoning malefactors. They brought them from some place at a distance, as it were preparing things for his execution without any judicial process; as if he were convicted of blasphemy upon the notorious evidence of the fact, which needed no further trial. The absurdity of this insult which the Jews offered to Christ will appear if we consider, 1. That they had imperiously, not to say impudently, challenged him to tell them plainly whether he was the Christ or no; and yet now that he not only said he was the Christ, but proved himself so, they condemned him as a malefactor. If the preachers of the truth propose it modestly, they are branded as cowards; if boldly, as insolent; but Wisdom is justified of her children. 2. That when they had before made a similar attempt it was in vain; he escaped through the midst of them (John 8:59); yet they repeat their baffled attempt. Daring sinners will throw stones at heaven, though they return upon their own heads; and will strengthen themselves against the Almighty, though none ever hardened themselves against him and prospered.

_ _ V. Christ's tender expostulation with them upon occasion of this outrage (John 10:32): Jesus answered what they did, for we do not find that they said any thing, unless perhaps they stirred up the crown that they had gathered about him to join with them, crying, Stone him, stone him, as afterwards, Crucify him, crucify him. When he could have answered them with fire from heaven, he mildly replied, Many good works have I shown you from my Father: for which of those works do you stone me? Words so very tender that one would think they should have melted a heart of stone. In dealing with his enemies he still argued from his works (men evidence what they are by what they do), his good workskala erga excellent, eminent works. Opera eximia vel praeclara; the expression signifies both great works and good works.

_ _ 1. The divine power of his works convicted them of the most obstinate infidelity. They were works from his Father, so far above the reach and course of nature as to prove him who did them sent of God, and acting by commission from him. These works he showed them; he did them openly before the people, and not in a corner. His works would bear the test, and refer themselves to the testimony of the most inquisitive and impartial spectators. He did not show his works by candle-light, as those that are concerned only for show, but he showed them at noon-day before the world, John 18:20. See Psalms 111:6. His works so undeniably demonstrated that they were an incontestable demonstration of the validity of his commission.

_ _ 2. The divine grace of his works convicted them of the most base ingratitude. The works he did among them were not only miracles, but mercies; not only works of wonder to amaze them, but works of love and kindness to do them good, and so make them good, and endear himself to them. He healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, cast out devils, which were favours, not only to the persons concerned, but to the public; these he had repeated, and multiplied: “Now for which of these do you stone me? You cannot say that I have done you any harm, or given you any just provocation; if therefore you will pick a quarrel with me, it must be for some good work, some good turn done you; tell me for which.” Note, (1.) The horrid ingratitude that there is in our sins against God and Jesus Christ is a great aggravation of them, and makes them appear exceedingly sinful. See how God argues to this purpose, Deuteronomy 32:6, Jeremiah 2:5; Micah 6:3. (2.) We must not think it strange if we meet with those who not only hate us without cause, but are our adversaries for our love, Psalms 35:12; Psalms 41:9. When he asks, For which of these do you stone me? as he intimates the abundant satisfaction he had in his own innocency, which gives a man courage in a suffering day, so he puts his persecutors upon considering what was the true reason of their enmity, and asking, as all those should do that create trouble to their neighbour, Why persecute we him? As Job advises his friends to do, Job 19:28.

_ _ VI. Their vindication of the attempt they made upon Christ, and the cause upon which they grounded their prosecution, John 10:33. What sin will want fig-leaves with which to cover itself, when even the bloody persecutors of the Son of God could find something to say for themselves?

_ _ 1. They would not be thought such enemies to their country as to persecute him for a good work: For a good work we stone thee not. For indeed they would scarcely allow any of his works to be so. His curing the impotent man (ch. 5) and the blind man (ch. 9) were so far from being acknowledged good services to the town, and meritorious, that they were put upon the score of his crimes, because done on the sabbath day. But, if he had done any good works, they would not own that they stoned him for them, though these were really the things that did most exasperate them, John 11:47. Thus, though most absurd, they could not be brought to own their absurdities.

_ _ 2. They would be thought such friends to God and his glory as to prosecute him for blasphemy: Because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Here is,

_ _ (1.) A pretended zeal for the law. They seem mightily concerned for the honour of the divine majesty, and to be seized with a religious horror at that which they imagined to be a reproach to it. A blasphemer was to be stoned, Leviticus 24:16. This law, they thought, did not only justify, but sanctify, what they attempted, as Acts 26:9. Note, The vilest practices are often varnished with plausible pretences. As nothing is more courageous than a well-informed conscience, so nothing is more outrageous than a mistaken one. See Isaiah 66:5; John 16:2.

_ _ (2.) A real enmity to the gospel, on which they could not put a greater affront than by representing Christ as a blasphemer. It is no new thing for the worst of characters to be put upon the best of men, by those that resolve to give them the worst of treatment. [1.] The crime laid to his charge is blasphemy, speaking reproachfully and despitefully of God. God himself is out of the sinner's reach, and not capable of receiving any real injury; and therefore enmity to God spits its venom at his name, and so shows its ill-will. [2.] The proof of the crime: Thou, being a man, makest thyself God. As it is God's glory that he is God, which we rob him of when we make him altogether such a one as ourselves, so it is his glory that besides him there is no other, which we rob him of when we make ourselves, or any creature, altogether like him. Now, First, Thus far they were in the right, that what Christ said of himself amounted to this — that he was God, for he had said that he was one with the Father and that he would give eternal life; and Christ does not deny it, which he would have done if it had been a mistaken inference from his words. But, secondly, They were much mistaken when they looked upon him as a mere man, and that the Godhead he claimed was a usurpation, and of his own making. They thought it absurd and impious that such a one as he, who appeared in the fashion of a poor, mean, despicable man, should profess himself the Messiah, and entitle himself to the honours confessedly due to the Son of God. Note, 1. Those who say that Jesus is a mere man, and only a made God, as the Socinians say, do in effect charge him with blasphemy, but do effectually prove it upon themselves. 2. He who, being a man, a sinful man, makes himself a god as the Pope does, who claims divine powers and prerogatives, is unquestionably a blasphemer, and that antichrist.

_ _ VII. Christ's reply to their accusation of him (for such their vindication of themselves was), and his making good those claims which they imputed to him as blasphemous (John 10:34, etc.), where he proves himself to be no blasphemer, by two arguments: —

_ _ 1. By an argument taken from God's word. He appeals to what was written in their law, that is, in the Old Testament; whoever opposes Christ, he is sure to have the scripture on his side. It is written (Psalms 82:6), I have said, You are gods. It is an argument a minore ad majus — from the less to the greater. If they were gods, much more am I. Observe,

_ _ (1.) How he explains the text (John 10:35): He called them gods to whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken. The word of God's commission came to them, appointing them to their offices, as judges, and therefore they are called gods, Exodus 22:28. To some the word of God came immediately, as to Moses; to others in the way of an instituted ordinance. Magistracy is a divine institution; and magistrates are God's delegates, and therefore the scripture calleth them gods; and we are sure that the scripture cannot be broken, or broken in upon, or found fault with. Every word of God is right; the very style and language of scripture are unexceptionable, and not to be corrected, Matthew 5:18.

_ _ (2.) How he applies it. Thus much in general is easily inferred, that those were very rash and unreasonable who condemned Christ as a blasphemer, only for calling himself the Son of God, when yet they themselves called their rulers so, and therein the scripture warranted them. But the argument goes further (John 10:36): If magistrates were called Gods, because they were commissioned to administer justice in the nation, say you of him whom the Father hath sanctified, Thou blasphemest? We have here two things concerning the Lord Jesus: — [1.] The honour done him by the Father, which he justly glories in: He sanctified him, and sent him into the world. Magistrates were called the sons of God, though the word of God only came to them, and the spirit of government came upon them by measure, as upon Saul; but our Lord Jesus was himself the Word, and had the Spirit without measure. They were constituted for a particular country, city, or nation; but he was sent into the world, vested with a universal authority, as Lord of all. They were sent to, as persons at a distance; he was sent forth, as having been from eternity with God. The Father sanctified him, that is, designed him and set him apart to the office of Mediator, and qualified and fitted him for that office. Sanctifying him is the same with sealing him, John 6:27. Note, Whom the Father sends he sanctifies; whom he designs for holy purposes he prepares with holy principles and dispositions. The holy God will reward, and therefore will employ, none but such as he finds or makes holy. The Father's sanctifying and sending him is here vouched as a sufficient warrant for his calling himself the Son of God; for because he was a holy thing he was called the Son of God, Luke 1:35. See Romans 1:4. [2.] The dishonour done him by the Jews, which he justly complains of — that they impiously said of him, whom the Father had thus dignified, that he was a blasphemer, because he called himself the Son of God:Say you of him so and so? Dare you say so? Dare you thus set your mouths against the heavens? Have you brow and brass enough to tell the God of truth that he lies, or to condemn him that is most just? Look me in the face, and say it if you can. What! say you of the Son of God that he is a blasphemer?” If devils, whom he came to condemn, had said so of him, it had not been so strange; but that men, whom he came to teach and save, should say so of him, be astonished, O heavens! at this. See what is the language of an obstinate unbelief; it does, in effect, call the holy Jesus a blasphemer. It is hard to say which is more to be wondered at, that men who breathe in God's air should yet speak such things, or that men who have spoken such things should still be suffered to breathe in God's air. The wickedness of man, and the patience of God, as it were, contend which shall be most wonderful.

_ _ 2. By an argument taken from his own works, John 10:37, John 10:38. In the former he only answered the charge of blasphemy by an argument ad hominem — turning a man's own argument against himself; but he here makes out his own claims, and proves that he and the Father are one (John 10:37, John 10:38): If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. Though he might justly have abandoned such blasphemous wretches as incurable, yet he vouchsafes to reason with them. Observe,

_ _ (1.) From what he argues — from his works, which he had often vouched as his credentials, and the proofs of his mission. As he proved himself sent of God by the divinity of his works, so we must prove ourselves allied to Christ by the Christianity of ours. [1.] The argument is very cogent; for the works he did were the works of his Father, which the Father only could do, and which could not be done in the ordinary course of nature, but only by the sovereign over-ruling power of the God of nature. Opera Deo propria — works peculiar to God, and Opera Deo Digna — works worthy of God — the works of a divine power. He that can dispense with the laws of nature, repeal, altar, and overrule them at his pleasure, by his own power, is certainly the sovereign prince who first instituted and enacted those laws. The miracles which the apostles wrought in his name, by his power, and for the confirmation of his doctrine, corroborated this argument, and continued the evidence of it when he was gone. [2.] It is proposed as fairly as can be desired, and put to a short issue. First, If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. He does not demand a blind and implicit faith, nor an assent to his divine mission further than he gave proof of it. He did not wind himself into the affections of the people, nor wheedle them by sly insinuations, nor impose upon their credulity by bold assertions, but with the greatest fairness imaginable quitted all demands of their faith, further than he produced warrants for these demands. Christ is no hard master, who expects to reap in assents where he has not sown in arguments. None shall perish for the disbelief of that which was not proposed to them with sufficient motives of credibility, Infinite Wisdom itself being judge. Secondly, “But if I do the works of my Father, if I work undeniable miracles for the confirmation of a holy doctrine, though you believe not me, though you are so scrupulous as not to take my word, yet believe the works: believe your own eyes, your own reason; the thing speaks itself plainly enough.” As the invisible things of the Creator are clearly seen by his works of creation and common providence (Romans 1:20), so the invisible things of the Redeemer were seen by his miracles, and by all his works both of power and mercy; so that those who were not convinced by these works were without excuse.

_ _ (2.) For what he argues — that you may know and believe, may believe it intelligently, and with an entire satisfaction, that the Father is in me and I in him; which is the same with what he had said (John 10:30): I and my Father are one. The Father was so in the Son as that in him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead, and it was by a divine power that he wrought his miracles; the Son was so in the Father as that he was perfectly acquainted with the whole of his mind, not by communication, but by consciousness, having lain in his bosom. This we must know; not know and explain (for we cannot by searching find it out to perfection), but know and believe it; acknowledging and adoring the depth, when we cannot find the bottom.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

John 10:22

It was the feast of the dedication — Instituted by Judas Maccabeus, 1 Macc. iv, 59, when he purged and dedicated the altar and temple after they had been polluted. So our Lord observed festivals even of human appointment. Is it not, at least, innocent for us to do the same?

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

John 10:22

And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the (h) dedication, and it was winter.

(h) The feast of the dedication was instituted by Judas Maccabeus and his brethren after the restoring of God's true religion, by the casting out of Antiochus' garrison.

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