James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.John 10:22-11:57
FEAST OF THE DEDICATION
The Feast of the Dedication took place midway between that of the Tabernacles and the Passover, or some time corresponding to our December or January. It is mentioned nowhere else in the Bible, and it is not positively known just what it commemorated.
Where Jesus had been in the meantime is not revealed except that it is not stated that He returned to Galilee. We dwell on this period to call attention to the same features as in the previous one, viz: the putting forth of the boldest claims on Jesus’ part, followed by conflict with His opponents. For the claims consult John 10:28 and John 10:30, and the conflict, John 10:31 and John 10:39. What was the sequel of this appearance so far as Jesus was concerned (John 10:40-41)? Notice that in the face of all the criticism and opposition, the disciples continually increased (John 10:42).
We should not leave this without a further word on John 10:30, which literally translated is, “I and My Father are one thing.” Christ does not say “One” in the masculine, but in the neuter gender. That is, He and His Father are not one in Person, but one in nature, power, will. It silences those who say there is but one Person in the Godhead, and those also who say that the Son is inferior to the Father.
Our Lord’s defense of this language against the charge of blasphemy (John 10:33-36), is an argument from a lesser to a greater. In Psalms 82, the inspired writer is speaking of the position and duties of princes and rulers, whose elevation above other men and consequent responsibility was so great, that compared with them, they might be called “gods.” If then no fault is found with them, who receive this honor by grace, how can He deserve blame who possesses this honor by nature? “Sanctified” (John 10:34) means “set apart,” and the verse teaches the eternal generation of Christ. The Jews did not understand Christ to claim to be “god” in the sense of Psalms 82 or they would not have threatened to stone Him; but God in the sense of Deity, and hence Christ’s acceptance of that claim, as in chapter 5, is an assertion of that fact on His part.
THE HOME IN BETHANY
We now come to chapter 11, where we find Jesus in Bethany. Here occurs the raising of Lazarus. In the synoptics we read of the raising of Jairus’ daughter and the son of the widow of Nain. In the first case death had just ensued, and in the second but a single day had intervened. Here, however, Lazarus had been four days dead. Of course, with God it is no harder to restore life in the one case than in either of the others, and yet all must be impressed with the gradation of difficulty illustrated in the three, and that the most difficult, humanly speaking, should be recorded only in John’s Gospel. This, like so many other features, shows the purpose of this gospel to set forth Jesus in the highest aspect of all, that of the Son of God the Son of God giving life to the world. What a wonderful declaration that in John 11:25!
Speaking of this miracle in general terms, Bishop Ryle makes three good points: (1) it was intended to supply the Jews with one more incontrovertible proof that Jesus was the Messiah (compare again their question in John 10:24), (2) it was meant to prepare their minds for our Lord’s own resurrection. They could not say when the tomb of Jesus was found empty, that His resurrection was an impossibility; and (3) it is the most credible of all our Lord’s miracles, and supported by the most incontrovertible proof.
1. When did the Feast of Dedication take place?
2. Explain John 10:30.
3. Explain John 10:33-36.
4. With what circumstances are we impressed in comparing the raising
of Lazarus with the other two restorations to life?
5. Quote from memory John 11:25-26.
6. What three good points on this miracle are made by Bishop Ryle?