The closing of chapter 10 brings to an end a lengthy section begun in 8:12 which has focused on the controversy surrounding the true identity of Jesus. The entire section has the quality of a legal drama in which charges are brought against Jesus and witnesses are marshalled both for and against him. For the reader of John’s gospel however, the verdict is in. From the very beginning, Jesus is declared to be one with God, the everlasting I Am enfleshed in frail humanity.
In this last section of chapter 10 – John’s final record of Jesus’ public teaching – the fundamental relationship between Jesus and the Father is pressed home. Therefore a point of decision has been reached. Jesus cannot be taken merely as a fine teacher or gifted miracle worker. He will allow no such middle ground. Either Jesus is one with the Father or he is a blasphemer. Either he should be rejected entirely or worshiped as Lord.
The charge of the Pharisees that Jesus made himself God, is ironically misguided. In no sense did Jesus make himself God. Before Abraham was, Jesus had always been the I Am. He and the Father are One. Jesus is the Bread of life, the Light of the world, the Gate for the sheep, and the Good Shepherd. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (1:1). What the Pharisees refused to believe was that Jesus is God who, for us and our salvation, made himself man.