What does John 10:36 mean?
ESV: do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
NIV: what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'?
NASB: are you saying of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
CSB: do you say, 'You are blaspheming' to the one the Father set apart and sent into the world, because I said: I am the Son of God?
NLT: why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world.
KJV: Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
Verse Commentary:
Jesus' response to the men trying to stone Him for blasphemy (John 10:30–31) is somewhat complex, and easy to misunderstand. In that era, scribes and scholars would spend countless hours deliberating the meaning of the Scriptures. This often involved the same kind of rhetorical tactics used in politics or other forms of debate. Jesus is responding to the charge of blasphemy, from these men, using the same kind of argument they might employ.

Specifically, Jesus has pointed to the Old Testament, which uses the same term for divinely-appointed human authorities as is also used for God Himself: elohim/Elohim. This is seen in Psalm 82, as well as portions of Exodus. Jesus is not suggesting that humans are gods in the sense of being divine. Rather, He is showing that when a person is commissioned by God, it's not unprecedented for God's own Word to use the term "gods" in a poetic sense (John 10:34).

Jesus then states that one cannot claim that God's Word is in error (John 10:35). If God uses the term "little-g-'gods'" in reference to humans, then Jesus' statement about being unified with God isn't necessarily blasphemous. In order to instantly condemn Jesus, that's exactly what these men would have to do: they'd have to assume that any and all such statements are automatically sinful. Jesus is challenging them, in effect, as to whether they're willing to call a particular Scripture wrong in order to condemn Him.

Jesus will continue, however, to explain that the real measure of His words is His actions. Rather than simply judging Jesus on the basis of words these men do not like, they ought to be considering His works, as well. In the case of Jesus, this includes miracles and other signs which clearly point to Him being divinely appointed (John 3:1–2; 10:19–21). If Jesus' actions did not support His words, then these men would be absolutely right to consider Him a blasphemer. But His works do, in fact, prove that what He claims is true (John 10:37–38).
Verse Context:
John 10:22–42 happens a few months after the controversy described in chapter 9 through the first half of chapter 10. Here, Jesus is cornered, in an overt threat, by the same religious leaders He has been castigating for years. He echoes the metaphors of sheep and shepherd He employed after giving sight to a blind man. Jesus points out that His teachings and miracles are all consistent with predictions of the Messiah, but these men refuse to accept Him. This culminates in another attempt on Jesus' life, which He somehow avoids. This represents the last time Jesus will publicly teach prior to His crucifixion.
Chapter Summary:
This passage continues Jesus' discussion with the religious leaders of Jerusalem, seen in chapter 9. Jesus lays out three separate analogies about His ministry, using the concept of sheep and shepherds. In those statements, Jesus explains why some people refuse to accept Him, declares Himself the only means of salvation, and again predicts His sacrificial death. This leads to controversy. Later, Jesus is cornered by a mob in the temple grounds. They once again try to stone Him as He repeats His divine claims, but He escapes in some way not fully described by the text. After this, Jesus leaves the area and returns to the region where John the Baptist had once preached.
Chapter Context:
Starting in chapter 7, the gospel of John describes Jesus' preaching at the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem. Through chapters 7 and 8, He debates with critics and attempts to explain spiritual truths. On the way out of the city, Jesus gives sight to a man born blind, as shown in chapter 9. That begins an extended debate which continues in this chapter. Jesus gives analogies of His mission using shepherding as a theme. Months later, He repeats those ideas when cornered by an aggressive mob in the temple. This sets the stage for His grandest miracle, the raising of Lazarus, seen in chapter 11.
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
Accessed 4/18/2024 12:42:16 AM
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