If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)If I do not the works of my Father.—He has met the charge of blasphemy on technical grounds. In this and the following verse He advances from that defence to the ultimate test. Whether He is a blasphemer or not depends upon whether He represents God or not, and to prove this He appeals again to the works. Are they or are they not the works of the Father? (John 10:32; comp. John 5:17; John 5:36; John 9:3; John 14:10.)John 10:37-39. If I do not the works of my Father, &c. — When I claim the character of the Son of God, I do not expect to be credited merely on my own affirmation: if I do not such glorious works as could not be performed by any but a divine agent, believe me not: but if I do — If it be apparent that I do such works, though you believe not me, and are regardless of my own testimony in the case, yet, at least, believe the works; and let their evidence remove the prejudices you have entertained; that ye may know, &c., that the Father is in me, and I in him — Namely, by such a union as abundantly justifies the expression which seems to give you such peculiar offence. In other words, Though ye do not believe what I say concerning my personal dignity, on my own authority, you ought to believe it on account of my miracles, which are plainly of such a kind, that it is impossible for any deceiver to perform them; they are the works of God himself, and therefore you ought to consider them as such. Therefore they sought again to take him — For this defence was so far from pacifying them, that they were rather the more enraged at him through it. But he escaped out of their hand — Withdrew himself, as he had done before, in an extraordinary manner. See John 8:59; Luke 4:30.John 5:17; "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." See the note on that place. The works of his Father are those which God only can do. As Jesus did them, it shows that the name "Son of God," implying equality with God, was properly applied to him. This shows conclusively that he meant to be understood as claiming to be equal with God. So the Jews naturally understood him John 10:39, and they were left with this impression on their minds.
that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him—thus reiterating His claim to essential oneness with the Father, which He had only seemed to soften down, that He might calm their rage and get their ear again for a moment.
works of his Father; by which he doth not only mean works that are pleasing and acceptable to God, as acts of obedience to the will of God performed by men may be called, and are, John 6:28,29; nor (as I conceive) only those works which he did by commission and authority from his Father, which, John 17:4, he calleth the work which his Father had given him to do; but those works which none but God could do; such were the multiplication of the loaves, John 6:1-14, the curing of him who was born blind, John 9:1-41, &c. If (saith our Saviour) I do not do those works which no mere man ever did, give me no credit; but if I do those works which can be done by no human art or power, you have reason to believe me.
believe me not: Christ appeals to his miracles as proofs of his deity, sonship, and Messiahship, and desires no other credit than what they demand; see Matthew 11:3.If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 10:37-39. Your unbelief, which lies at the foundation of the judgment ὅτι βλασφημεῖς, would then be justifiable, if I were not, etc. In the other case, however, you ought to believe, if not me, at all events my works, in order that you, etc.
εἰ οὐ ποιῶ] if I leave them undone. Comp. Buttm. Neut. Gr. p. 297 [E. T. p. 346]; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 278.
τὰ ἔργα τοῦ πατρ. μ.] which my Father works; compare on John 9:3, John 14:10, also John 10:23.
μὴ πιστ. μοι] not merely permissive, but an actual command, as in the case of the following πιστεύετε (see the critical note). The alternative is decided: they ought not to believe Him, if, etc.
ἐμοί] My person in and by itself, apart from the actual testimony borne to it by the ἔργα.
To believe the works, is to hold for true the testimony which is contained in them (John 5:36). The object of faith is that which Jesus declares concerning Himself, and what, in agreement therewith (comp. John 14:11), the works prove concerning Him. According to the reading ἵνα γνῶτε κ. γινώσκητε (see the critical note), which Hengstenberg, notwithstanding, rejects as giving an unbearable meaning, Jesus describes this as the end to be attained by His prescription: in order that ye may attain to knowledge, and may (permanently) know, etc.—drawing a distinction between the act and the state of knowledge. Compare ἐπιμεληθῆναι καὶ ἐπιμελεῖσθαι, Plat. Legg. viii. p. 849 B.
ὅτι ʼν ἐμοὶ ὁ πατ. κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ] This now is the unity which He meant in John 10:30; not essential unity (old orthodox explanation of the περιχώρησις essentialis patris in filio et filii in patre, see Calovius), although it is metaphysically the fundamental condition, but dynamic unity: the Father lives and moves in Christ, who is His active organ, and again Christ is in the Father, so far as Christ in God is the power which determines the execution of the divine ἔργον. The thought that Christ has in God “the ground of His existence and working” (De Wette), lies far remote from the words κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ, because the relation of the clauses of the proposition must be equal. But this relation is nothing else than that of inner, active, reciprocal fellowship. In accordance therewith, the Father is in the Son, as in the executor of His work, as the Son is also in the Father, because Christ is the regulative and determining agens et movens of the work of redemption in the Father. Comp. the many Pauline passages which represent all the divine redemptive activity as taking place in Christ; e.g. Romans 8:39; Ephesians 1:3 ff.
John 10:39. οὖν] In consequence of this defence, which averted the threatened tumultuous stoning, for which the Jews had begun to prepare themselves. The supposition that πιάσαι denotes laying hold of with a view to carrying out the stoning, is opposed by the πάλιν, which refers back to John 7:30; John 7:32; John 7:44 (against Calvin, Luthardt, Hengstenberg).
καὶ ἐξῆλθεν, etc.] And yet they were unable to carry their plan into execution; He escaped out of their hands, which are conceived as already stretched out after Him. How this deliverance was effected must be left undetermined. (Kuinoel: by the arrival of His adherents; Hengstenberg: by the indecision of His enemies); of any miraculous element (e.g. becoming invisible) in His escape, although assumed by many early commentators, and even yet by B. Crusius and Luthardt, John gives no hint. Comp. on John 8:59. Euth. Zigabenus: ἀναχωρεῖ διὰ τὸν θυμὸν τῶν φθονερῶν, ἐνδιδοὺς αὐτῷ λωφῆσαι καὶ λῆξαι τῇ ἀπουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ.John 10:37-38. εἰ οὐ ποιῶ … πιστεύσατε. “If I do not the works of my Father, do not believe me: but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works.” That is, if you do not credit my statements, accept the testimony of the deeds I do. And this, not to give me the glory but “that ye may know and believe [cf. John 6:69] that the Father is in me, and I in the Father” [for αὐτῷ read τῷ πατρί].37. believe me not] A literal command. If His works are not those which His Father works, they ought not (not merely have no need) to believe what He says. Comp. John 5:24; John 5:46; John 6:30; John 8:31; John 8:45. His works are His Father’s (John 9:3, John 14:10).
37, 38. Having met their technical charge in a technical manner He now proceeds to justify the assertion of His unity with the Father by an appeal to His works.John 10:37. Τὰ ἔργα τοῦ Πατρός μου, the works of My Father) Those very works of a divine nature, which My Father doeth, ch. John 14:10-11, “The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself; but the Father, that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.” His words are characterized by the accompanying works.Verse 37. - "I and the Father are one," and "I am the Son of God." These two mighty utterances are equivalent to the following: "I do the works of my Father." My works are his works, his works are mine. "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." The recognition of the Divine is a sign of the regenerated mind, and a test of fitness for a place in Christ's flock (cf. "I know my sheep, and my sheep know me"). The Jews had not recognized the true reciprocal relation between the Father and Son. He had come out from God, and been sent from the Father to produce this impression, to make known the Father by his Sonship; and he had taken steps to convince even unbelieving men of the identity of his nature and Spirit with that of the Father. He is content to rest his claims upon their belief, on the character of his works. He is content to leave the question as to whether he be a blasphemer or one with the Father, a sinner of sinners or Son of God, on the evidence of his works - on the God-like, Father-like character of his entire ministry (cf. ver. 32; John 5:17, 36; John 9:3). If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. "If the evidence be insufficient, I acquit you of blame in not taking me at my word. My own words and Person and life might be enough for you; but if my works are not in perfect harmony with the best you know of the Father, believe me not." Christ's appeal to the reason of his hearers, to the sufficiency of the evidence he had given, would justify unbelief in case of a proved failure.
Notice believe, with the simple dative; believe me, not on me. It is a question of faith in His testimony, not in His person. See on John 1:12.
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