21stcr.org Verses & Words Explained
I and the Father are one (NASB).
A. What John 10:30 is saying -
In this verse, Jesus is saying that he and the Father are of one mind and one accord with regard to his work and his people. In the verses immediately before Verse 30, Jesus speaks of his relationship with his people and says:
28 "and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand." *
No one will snatch them out of Jesus' hand because he is the good shepherd who gives his life for his sheep (v. 11). He is always ready to defend them. He is unshakable in this. He will never abandon his true followers. He and his people are one!
Jesus gives absolute assurance regarding these things by indicating that he and his disciples are not alone in this matter. God himself is guarantor of the welfare of Jesus' disciples and empowers Jesus in his work:
29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand."
Jesus directs attention to his Father's involvement in these matters. It is on the basis of the Father's participation that Jesus can assure the welfare and safety of his people. Notice v. 29 again:
1. His Father gave Jesus these disciples. (God himself is tied to their welfare.)
2. His Father is greater than all. (God has the power to guarantee the welfare of Jesus and his disciples.)
3. No one can snatch them out of the Father's hand.
Then Jesus affirms:
30 "I and the Father are one."
"I and the Father are one" are wonderful words of assurance for the disciples. Their shepherd will never abandon them – and God will never abandon him. No one can separate Jesus from his people. No one can "snatch them away" from his hand (v. 28). No one can separate Jesus from the Father – the mightiest one in the universe. They are wholly and completely united in their care for the people. They are one!
Jesus expresses all of this again in John 14:11, 20.
11 "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me"
20 "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
Jesus, his people and the Father are all one. They are one relationally. They have a relationship in which the people are "in Jesus" while Jesus is "in them" and Jesus is "in the Father" and Father is "in him."
Jesus gives a full summary of this "oneness" in his prayer to the Father in John Chapter 17 -
21 "that [my disciples] may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us..."
B. What John 10:30 is not saying -
John 10:30 does not say that Jesus and the Father are one "person" nor does it say they are one "God."
The assertion of the Oneness point of view that Jesus is saying he is the Father doesn't make sense. It is ipso facto that Jesus in these very words is distinguishing himself from the Father. The one saying "I and the Father..." is in those words making a distinction between himself and God.
Likewise, the oft heard Trinitarian view that this verse is indicating that Jesus and his Father are of the same "substance" or "essence" completely misses the mark. This verse says nothing about "substance" or "essence." It is entirely mistaken to say that Jesus means by these words that he and the Father are both of the same "God" substance or the same "God" essence. That idea is clearly post-Biblical and efforts to read such a non-Scriptural notion back into John 10:30 are faulty at best and deliberately calculated at worst.
Let Jesus Decide -
If we allow Jesus himself to decide the matter about what sense he and the Father are one, then there is no room for doubt. Note for example statements he made regarding his people in the prayer he prayed to the Father in John 17 (NASB) -
11 "... so that they [the disciples] may be one, as we are one.
21 "...that they [the disciples] may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
22 "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one.
Jesus' words are "That they may be one, just as We are one." The sense in which Jesus and the Father are one is the exact same sense in which Jesus can pray that his people would be one. Jesus is not praying that his people would be one "person" nor that they would all be one "substance" or "essence." Such notions would not even make good sense. His desire is that they would be one in will, purpose and work. Just as Jesus and his Father are one in will, purpose and in their work.
Clearly, if one believes in the Oneness or Trinitarian points of view, they cannot rely on John 10:30 to support those ideas. John 10:30 is not a statement about the "composition" or "essence" of God nor is it a statement that Jesus and God are one "person." When Jesus speaks of his being "one" with the Father, it is always set in the framework of unity, work and love. That is the exact same way in which Jesus desires that his people would be "one." John 10:30 is a statement about the unshakable unity between God and Jesus regarding their love and protection for his people – his sheep.*Unless otherwise indicated Scriptures quoted in this article are from the NASB.
John 10:30 - Ten Scriptures of Interest
A. For people to be "in Christ" and Christ to be "in them" / and for Christ to be "in the Father" and the Father "in him" is about "oneness" of relationship:
John 15:4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me" (NIV).
John 17:11 "so [Father] that they [the disciples] may be one, as we are one" (NASB).
John 17:21 "that [the disciples] may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us..." (NASB).
John 17:22 "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one" (NASB).
John 17:23 "I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me" (NASB).
B. To be of "One Mind" does not mean to have one physical brain. It means to be "one" in unity and accord:
Acts 1:14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer (NASB).
Acts 2:46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple... (NASB).
Acts 15:25 "It seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul..." (NASB).
1 Corinthians 3:8 Now he who plants [Paul] and he who waters[Apollos] are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor (NASB).
2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you (KJV).
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Did Jesus Claim to Be God in John 10.30?
by Kermit Zarley