The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone you not; but for blasphemy; and because that you, being a man, make yourself God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The Jews answered him.—Comp for the thoughts of this verse Notes on John 10:30 and on John 5:18.
For a good work . . . but for blasphemy.—The word rendered “for” is not the causal “on account of,” which we have in the last verse, but “concerning,” the technical form for an indictment. For the Mosaic law concerning blasphemy, see Leviticus 24:10-16.Matthew 9:3.
Makest thyself God - See the notes at John 5:18. This shows how they understood what he had said.
thou, being a man—that is, a man only.
makest thyself God—Twice before they understood Him to advance the same claim, and both times they prepared themselves to avenge what they took to be the insulted honor of God, as here, in the way directed by their law (Joh 5:18; 8:59).The Jews answered him, These are not the things we are incensed against thee for; we grant that thou hast done many good works amongst us; these we gratefully acknowledge. But this is that which we are not able to bear, that whereas thou art but a mere man, by thy discourses thou makest thyself equal with God, and so art guilty of
blasphemy; which is committed as well by arrogating to ourselves what is proper to God, as by imputing to God the natural or moral imperfections of the creature; and the blasphemer deserveth to be stoned, according to the law of God. By this it is manifest, that the Jews understood our Saviour, affirming that he and his Father were one, as asserting himself one in essence with his Father, not in will only.
for a good work we stone thee not: they could not deny, that he had done many good works; this was too barefaced to be contradicted; yet they cared not to own them; and though they industriously concealed their resentment at them, yet they were very much gravelled and made uneasy by them, but chose to give another reason for their stoning him:
but for blasphemy; which required death by stoning, according to Leviticus 24:16, and according to the Jews' oral law (q):
and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God; which they concluded very rightly, from his saying, John 10:30, that God was his Father, and that he and his Father were one; that is, in nature and essence, and therefore he must be God; but then this was no blasphemy, but a real truth, as is hereafter made to appear; nor is there any contradiction between his being man, and being God; he is truly and really man, but then he is not a mere man, as the Jews suggested; but is truly God, as well as man, and is both God and man in one person, the divine and human nature being united in him, of which they were ignorant: two mistakes they seem to be guilty of in this account; one that Christ was a mere man, the other that he made himself God, or assumed deity to himself, which did not belong to him, and therefore must be guilty of blasphemy; neither of which were true: the phrase is used by the Jews, of others who have taken upon them the name and title of God; as of Hiram king of Tyre, of whom they say, , "that he made himself God" (r); the same they say of Nebuchadnezzar; and the modern Jews still continue the same charge against Jesus, as their ancestors did, and express it in the same language, and say of him, that he was a man, and set himself up for God (s).
(q) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 7. sect. 4. (r) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 96. fol. 83. 4. & Tzeror Hammor, fol. 134. 4. (s) Aben Ezra in Genesis 27.39. & Abarbinel Mashmia Jeshua, fol. 5. 1.The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 10:33. The irony is as much in the situation as in the words. The answer is honest enough, blind as it is: Περὶ … Θεόν. “For a praiseworthy work we do not stone Thee, but for blasphemy, and because Thou being a man makest Thyself God.” For περί in this sense cf. Acts 26:7. The καὶ ὅτι does not introduce a second charge, but more specifically defines the blasphemy. On the question whether it was blasphemy to claim to be the Christ see Deuteronomy 18:20, Leviticus 24:10-17, and Treffry’s Eternal Sonship. It was blasphemy for a man to claim to be God. And it is noteworthy that Jesus never manifests indignation when charged with making Himself God; yet were He a mere man no one could view this sin with stronger abhorrence.33. For a good work] The preposition is changed in the Greek; concerning a good work. ‘That is not the subject-matter of our charge?’
and because] ‘And’ is explanatory, shewing wherein the blasphemy consisted: it does not introduce a separate charge.John 10:33. Περί, for [‘concerning,’ lit.]) As the Latins say, quâ de causâ. So διά [ποῖον ἔργον], John 10:32.Verse 33. - The Jews answered him (saying), For a good (excellent, obviously, radiantly so) work we do not stone thee; but for blasphemy; and because thou, being man, makest thyself God. (Περὶ καλοῦ ἔργου and περὶ βλασφημίας contrast with the causal διὰ ποῖον of the previous verse. This preposition was used for formal indictments of offence before the tribunals.) The Jews felt the force of this indignant reproach, and would not admit that his Divine and goodly work was without meaning to them. It was, however, a melancholy reality that his beneficent work had roused their malice into fiercer activity, but they credit themselves with a higher and a doctrinal motive and with a jealousy for the honor of God. They charge him with blasphemy, and the charge is reiterated before Pilate (John 19:7). The Jews were in one sense right. He had declared his essential unity with the Father; he had "made himself, represented himself (cf. John 8:53; John 19:7), as equal with God." In the opinion of his hearers, he conveyed the idea that he possessed and was wielding Divine powers. He was making himself to be God. "Good works" by the score were no vindication of one who dishonored the Name of God by claiming equality with him.
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