The healing of the lame man and the controversy over the Sabbath raised the question of Jesus’ identity. Specifically, Jesus own words raised the issue of His relationship with the Father. The religious authorities did not recognize nor would they accept that this man Jesus was related to God in a unique way. They had not understood their own Scriptures so they did not recognize Jesus as the Divine Messiah. So Jesus pauses in order to instruct the religious authorities and correct their confusion. This is the first substantial monologue from Jesus recorded by John and one of the richest insights from our Lord into his identity.
Under the darkness of a murderous conspiracy against him, Jesus declares his identity. Along the way, there will be clear implications for humanity. It will become apparent that as Jesus addresses humanity’s confusion about God, humanity’s confusion about itself will be more clearly revealed. Confusion about God always leads to confusion about what it means to be human, a sinner, and one in need of salvation. And at the center of this passage Jesus calls upon those who hear his word to believe in him that they might be made truly alive.
Jesus does not simply declare himself to be God. Rather, he goes into detail about his relationship to the Father such that no other conclusion can be reached. Jesus’ approach is so helpful precisely because of how he provides insight into the Trinitarian nature of God. What Jesus explains is that he is so uniquely related to the Father that everything God has done in history and everything that God is in Himself is wholly inclusive of Jesus. So, to accept Jesus is the accept God. To reject Jesus is to reject God.