Notes on John

Version Date: July 10, 2024. (Date of First Version: April 15, 2023.)


Jn 1:16-17 "And of his fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace, because the law was given through Moses. Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." The clause οτι ο νομος δια μωσεως εδοθη "because the law was given through Moses" could be explained as follows. The law was given that people might be convicted of sin, so that they might be saved by faith. Just as all things were made by Christ and without him nothing that was made has been made, so also the law of Moses came through Jesus. It is truth, and it is also grace, for it leads the hearer to repentance. When God the Son came into the world as a man, he granted much more grace besides that given through the law. In other words, he gave grace upon grace.


Jn 1:18 In the context of this verse, the statement that no one has seen God refers to God the Father. Therefore, when God appeared in the Old Testament, the person that was seen was God the Son.


Jn 2:4 "Jesus said to her, 'What do I have to do with thee, woman? My hour has not yet come.'" In Greek, addressing a man with the word ανερ "man" or a woman with the word γυναι "woman" was not impolite, as could be seen in 1Co 7:16. (In the context of married couples, such as in 1Co 7:16, the words ανερ "man" and γυναι "woman" can also be translated "husband" and "wife," respectively.) The Lord Jesus used the word γυναι "woman" when addressing a Canaanite woman (Mt 15:28), a disabled woman that he healed (Lk 13:11), a Samaritan woman (Jn 4:21), and Mary Magdalene (Jn 20:15). It is remarkable, however, that he used it also when addressing his mother (Jn 2:4, 19:26). Though fully man, Jesus is also fully God. With respect to his divine nature, he was Mary's maker, the one who had formed her in her mother's womb. Just as he made Mary, he made also the other people. With God there is no partiality, so it should not be surprising that Jesus addressed Mary the way he addressed other women. He also said that "my mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it" (Lk 8:21). These words were telling his family and relatives that the only way to be close to him was by receiving and doing God's word. When a woman stated that Mary was blessed because she was his mother, the Lord said that "blessed are rather those who hear the word of God and keep it" (Lk 11:28). With God there is no partiality, so the only way Mary could truly be blessed was the only way everybody else could be blessed, that is, through faith in Jesus. It was not sufficient that she was Jesus' mother. Just like everybody else, in order to be blessed, she had to repent and believe in Jesus. Lk 11:27-28 indicates that at that time Mary was not yet believing in Jesus. She became a believer later, for she was praying with the disciples at the time of Ac 1:14.

The phrase τι εμοι και σοι "What do I have to do with thee" appears also in Mk 5:7 and Lk 8:28. It corresponds to מה לי ולך in Jdg 11:12, 1Ki 17:18, 2Ki 3:13, 2Ch 35:21 and מה לי ולכם in 2Sa 16:10, 19:22 (23), which are translated in LXX with τι εμοι και σοι "What do I have to do with thee" and τι εμοι και υμιν "What do I have to do with you," respectively. In each case, both versions of the Hebrew phrase are similar in meaning to "Leave me alone." The only exception is 2Ki 3:13, which refers to a past instance; there, מה לי ולך would correspond to "Why did you not leave me alone?" Considering now ουπω ηκει η ωρα μου "my hour has not come yet," the hour of the Lord normally refers to the time of his suffering (Mk 14:41, Jn 7:30, 8:20, 12:27) which preceded shortly his departure and glorification (Jn 13:1, 17:1). The Lord spoke also of the hour in which he would be glorified (Jn 12:23) and of an hour when he would begin speaking plainly to the disciples (Jn 16:25). Clearly, in Jn 2:4, the Lord referred to the time following his glorification with the glory that he had before the world came into existence (Jn 17:5).

The context of Mary's request in Jn 2:3 must be the Lord Jesus testifying about himself and God's kingdom. Doubtless, he used the opportunity provided by the wedding to speak on these topics. The reply of the Lord in Jn 2:4 indicates that Mary was asking for something that he was not supposed to do while he was on earth. Now Jesus' family was not yet receiving his message (Mk 3:21, 31, Ps 69:8 (69:9)). Doubtless, if they thought that Jesus is God, they would have believed him. Thus, it is clear that they were not believing that Jesus is God. They had been with Jesus many years and they knew what he was saying and implying about himself, for he was not silent about it (Lk 2:49). Somehow, they did not believe him. By asking Jesus to do something that was not right for him to do while he was on earth, Mary was challenging him to prove that he is God. The Lord declined (Jn 2:4), while knowing the sign that he was about to do and how Mary would respond to his words. Though Mary's eyes were not yet opened to see the deity of Jesus, God was at work and was somehow directing Mary to help with the circumstances of the sign that Jesus was about to give. So she asked the servants to do whatever Jesus said (Jn 2:5). She knew by experience that Jesus could find a solution to any situation, and she was probably thinking that the servants could help. The fact that she asked the servants to help is evidence that she was not thinking that Jesus would do something supernatural. In fact, Jesus had not performed miracles before (Jn 2:11).


Jn 2:6 The six jars were in two sizes: some had two measures, and the others three measures. The word for "measure" in this verse is μετρητης. It does not appear elsewhere in the New Testament. In LXX, it appears in the context of liquids and translates סאה "seah" in 1Ki 18:32 and בת "bath" in 2Ch 4:4. It also translates the default liquid unit of Hag 2:16. Thus, μετρητης "measure" appears to denote בת "bath." Note that בת "bath" appears as βατος in Lk 16:6.


Jn 2:11 This sign of the Lord Jesus resulted in water being turned into wine, the opposite of wine being diluted with water in Is 1:22. In this way, people had a sign that through Jesus they are saved from their sins (Is 1:18) and made fit for God's kingdom.


Jn 2:25 The fact that Jesus knew what was in the heart of men testified to his deity (2Ch 6:30). Related to this is the sign of Jn 4:29, 39, when Jesus demonstrated he knew everything about a person he had not met before.


Jn 3:5 As could be seen from Tit 3:5 and Eph 5:26, the Lord uses the word "water" figuratively in Jn 3:5. The rebirth of a person involves a washing (Tit 3:5), and the washing is done through God's word (Eph 5:26, Jn 15:3). Noting word order in 1Co 6:11, it would follow that the spiritual washing of a person precedes his rebirth. Jn 3:5 also mentions water before the Spirit. Now a saved person needs also spiritual washings (1Jn 1:9), but not to the same extent; he is already clean, and figuratively speaking, needs only to wash his feet (Jn 13:10).


Jn 3:8 "The wind blows wherever the Lord wishes, and thou hearest its sound but knowest not whence it comes and where it goes. Thus is with everyone that is born of the Spirit." By saying these words, the Lord made a reference to Ec 11:5 which states, כאשר אינך יודע מה דרך הרוח ... ככה לא תדע את מעשה האלהים אשר יעשה את הכל "as thou knowest not the way of the wind ... so thou knowest not the work of God who makes everything." (The original language has the same word for "wind" and "spirit," and thus some translations of Ec 11:5 have "spirit" instead of "wind".) In Jn 3:8, the conversation was not about what a born-again person is like, but about how one is born again. Here, the Lord was answering Nicodemus' question in Jn 3:4 about how one is born again. Thus, the verse does not say that a born-again person is like the wind, but that the manner in which one is born again is not known to man, for God's work is not known to man. When considering the Greek text of "Thus is with everyone that is born of the Spirit," namely, ουτως εστιν πας ο γεγεννημενος εκ του πνευματος, it is possible to see once again that the verse is about the manner in which a person is born again, not about what he is like. Note that ουτως "thus" is an adverb that modifies εστιν "is." The adverb is not modifying the subject, that is, it is not indicating what the subject is like, but modifies the verb, indicating how the subject came to be. This observation is confirmed by examining other instances in which ουτως "thus" modifies the verb ειμι "to be." Mt 1:18 and Mt 24:37 provide two clear examples. Mt 1:18 does not introduce a passage describing what the birth of Jesus was like, but rather the circumstances in which it happened. Moreover, Mt 24:37-39 is not about what the coming of the Lord will be like, but about the circumstances in which it will happen.


Jn 3:10 Nicodemus was supposed to know these things from the Old Testament. Somehow he did not associate the circumcision of the heart with the spiritual birth of a person.


Jn 3:13 The passage emphasizes that people had no good reason to reject the words of Jesus. Through Jesus, the persons of the Holy Trinity were testifying to the world, as indicated by the plural number of the subject in Jn 3:11. In spite of this, people were not believing Jesus even when he spoke about things on the earth (Jn 3:12). They could not justify their unbelief by asking "Who will go for us to heaven?" (De 30:12) for through Jesus the Holy Trinity, from heaven, was speaking to them. Moreover, Jesus, the one speaking to them, was one who had ascended to heaven, for he came down from heaven on multiple occasions, as mentioned by the books of the Old Testament; each time God appeared to a person, God the Son was the one who appeared, for no one has seen the Father (Jn 1:18). When Jesus entered the womb of Mary, he came to the earth as a man. With respect to his human nature, Jesus was on earth. However, with respect to his divine nature, he was also in heaven and far above all heavens. He stated this plainly in ο υιος του ανθρωπου ο ων εν τω ουρανω "the Son of Man who is in heaven" (Jn 3:13 in the Byzantine text.) He spoke about it also in οπου ειμι εγω υμεις ου δυνασθε ελθειν "where I am ye cannot come" (Jn 7:34), noting that he said "where I am" and not "where I will be."


Jn 4:54 "Once again, Jesus did this second sign after he departed from Judea for Galilee." Here, ελθων εκ της ιουδαιας εις την γαλιλαιαν was translated "after he departed from Judea for Galilee." Another view is that the text states "after he came from Judea to Galilee." Now the verb ερχομαι "to go" can be translated "to come" in the context of an arrival. However, the context here is not that of an arrival but of describing in what sense the miracle that Jesus performed was his second sign. Thus, the phrase ελθων εκ της ιουδαιας εις την γαλιλαιαν simply states "having gone out of Judea for Galilee," and resembles αφηκεν την ιουδαιαν και απηλθεν παλιν εις την γαλιλαιαν "he left Judea and went from there again for Galilee" (Jn 4:3) and εξηλθεν εκειθεν και απηλθεν εις την γαλιλαιαν "he went out from there and went from there for Galilee" (Jn 4:43). Reasoning this way, Jn 4:54 speaks of a sign that Jesus performed after he departed from Judea for Galilee.

Considering the meaning of the statement that this was the second sign of Jesus, the text does not imply that this was the second sign since the beginning of his ministry because it states that he performed many signs at the feast (Jn 2:23). Moreover, there was another sign when Jesus demonstrated he knew everything about a person he had not met before (Jn 4:29, 39). Therefore, "the second sign" cannot mean "the second sign described in this book," for the signs described in Jn 2:6-11 and Jn 4:7-29, 39 took place before Jn 4:46-53. Rather, it must be the second sign that Jesus performed after he left Judea. It follows that Jn 4:7-29, 39 describes the first sign he did after he left Judea.


Jn 5:4 The fact that an angel would stir up the water of the pool does not imply that the people could see him. Moreover, the fact that the first into the pool was healed illustrates the eagerness that people should have for the Lord. They should pursue him with the eagerness of one that runs a race so as to win (1Co 9:24).

Since Jn 5:4 describes something very unusual and supernatural, it is not surprising that some manuscripts lack this verse. Since the Scripture is perfect, Jn 5:4 must be part of the original text, for without it there is no explanation for the stirring of the water mentioned in Jn 5:3, 7. Moreover, this verse also explains why there were invalids at the pool.


Jn 5:10 Under normal circumstances, carrying a burden was not supposed to be done on the Sabbath (Ne 13:15). However, the circumstances were not by any means normal, for God had acted supernaturally. The law forbade whatever kept people from spending their Sabbath learning about the Lord. By carrying the mat, the man was testifying to God's work, pointing people to God, in conformity with the purpose of the Sabbath. By this action, the man himself was not hindered from knowing more about God but on the contrary, by causing conversations about what had happened, he himself had more opportunity to turn to God. The alternative was to leave the mat where it was, and come back later to take it after the Sabbath was over. Had he done this, most people would have been unaware about God's work among them; the opportunity to learn more about him would have been wasted.


Jn 5:17 The Lord indicated here that he was doing the kind of work that the law expected to be done on the Sabbath. See the note on Lk 6:11.


Jn 5:28 The word ωρα "hour" often denotes an interval of time of unspecified length. For example, in Jn 5:35, ωρα "hour" refers to an interval of time in which the message of John the Baptist was received. Moreover, it refers to seasons in the LXX translation of De 11:14 and Zec 10:1. Note that ωρα "hour" can refer to a long interval of time, for the hour mentioned in Jn 5:25 corresponds to the age in which people hear the Gospel, repent, and become spiritually alive. Now Jn 5:28 speaks of bodily resurrection. Since the word ωρα "hour" is used, the verse indicates that not all people will be raised from the dead at the same time, but that there is an interval of time in which this will happen. In fact, in view of other passages, it can be seen that there are more than 1000 years between the rapture and the last judgment.


Jn 5:39 The form ερευνατε can be imperative (meaning "Seek ye") or indicative (meaning "Ye seek.") The immediate context of the previous verse favors an imperative interpretation; since God's word was not abiding in them, they were not searching (carefully) the Scriptures. Thus, Jesus was urging them to search the Scriptures. The general New Testament context also favors an imperative interpretation, since the Lord Jesus kept pointing to the people things that they were missing from the Scriptures. There is no passage in which Jesus commends somebody for knowing well the Scripture. Finally, the fact that the form ερευνατε is at the beginning of the sentence, favors an imperative interpretation. For example, note βλεπετε in Lk 8:18 and Eph 5:15.


Jn 6:1 From a grammatical viewpoint, the phrase της θαλασσης της γαλιλαιας της τιβεριαδος is similar to על ירדן ירחו in Nu 26:3 and לירדן ירחו in Nu 22:1. The Greek phrase must refer to the Sea of Galilee near Tiberias, and the Hebrew phrases to the Jordan river near Jericho.


Jn 6:12 God's word is not wasted but accomplishes the purpose for which it is sent (Is 55:11). So also in Jn 6:12, food was not to be wasted, for it was a figure of the spiritual food of the believer.


Jn 6:32-33 "Therefore, Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father. He gives you the true bread from heaven, for the bread of heaven is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.'" The manna that the Israelites ate in the desert is a figure of the true bread of heaven, which is Jesus (Jn 6:35, 48). Since the present tense is used in the phrase "he who comes down," this phrase is not about the incarnation of Jesus but about him coming down through the Spirit to those to whom he gives life. Since man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Mt 4:4) and since Jesus is the Word of God, it follows naturally that Jesus is the true bread of God.


Jn 6:50 Concerning the present tense of καταβαινων "coming down," see the note on Jn 6:32-33.


Jn 6:51 In the Scripture, the word "flesh" can refer to the physical body or to a part of the spiritual body of the soul that affects how the soul responds to the circumstances of life. For ordinary men, the flesh of the spiritual body is also known as the sinful nature. Jesus, however, did not have a sinful nature though he certainly had the soul of a man and the spiritual body of the soul. In his case, the part of the spiritual body known as the flesh was God's word, for the Word became flesh (Jn 1:14). In particular, the law was in his flesh (note την εχθραν εν τη σαρκι αυτου τον νομον των ενθολων εν δογμασιν "the enmity that was in his flesh, namely, the law of commandments in decrees" in Eph 2:15, which also was crucified when Jesus was crucified, as mentioned in Col 2:14.) This flesh of the soul, not the physical body, is referred to in this passage. One should receive and "eat" the words of God. Now Jn 6:51 could be related to Ex 29:33. The food that the priests would eat involved both flesh (meat) and bread (Ex 29:32). Both represented God's word.


Jn 6:53 Note the word ουν "therefore". As they wondered about the meaning of the words of the Lord, he added more detail to help them understand what he meant when he said that they should eat his flesh. By emphasizing the relationship between eating his flesh and having life, the Lord could remind them about what the Scriptures were saying that is necessary for life (De 8:3, 32:46-47). In this way, they could understand what he was talking about. The Lord mentioned also the blood. Since blood was associated with life and since the Scripture mentioned that the Spirit gives spiritual life (Eze 37:5-6, 10, 14), it follows that the blood represents the Spirit. Jn 6:63 confirms this observation as the Lord states there that the Spirit gives life. One has to receive the words of the Lord (the flesh) and allow the Spirit (the blood) to teach the meaning of the words.


Jn 6:60 The message of the Lord raised several issues to those who heard it. Since they believed that Jesus was nothing more than a mere man, they had trouble with Jesus' statement that he came down from heaven (Jn 6:41-42). Initially, they had conflicting views about what Jesus meant when he spoke about his flesh (note εμαχοντο "disputed" in Jn 6:52), and since they thought Jesus was no more than a mere man (note ουτος "this fellow" in Jn 6:52), they were not reaching any good conclusions. By the time the Lord finished his words, they were saying that the message is difficult and nobody can accept it (Jn 6:60).

The reply of the Lord in Jn 6:61-65 can be examined to see why they considered the message difficult. If Jesus were claiming that he has a supernatural way to give them his physical body to eat, this would have been difficult for them, and he could have replied that with God all things are possible. However, he did not say anything to make a point that all things are possible with God. In case some thought that Jesus meant that he would literally give them his physical flesh, his words in Jn 6:63 answered their concern. In Jn 6:63, he said that the flesh does not profit. In case some did not understand the message, he answered them in Jn 6:63, where he indicated that he spoke about God's word and the Spirit. However, his answers did not keep them from departing (Jn 6:66). Their actual problem was with what Jesus was saying about himself. In his message, the Lord stated that he came down from heaven and that he is the Word that they needed for life. This was too much for them to accept (Jn 6:60, 64). However, those who believed it remained with him (Jn 6:68-69).


Jn 6:61-62 " ... Does this offend you? So if ye would see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before, would this still offend you?" There was nothing unreasonable in the words of the Lord. In fact, his words would have seemed right to them also if they had a very visible sign of the fact that Jesus is God, such as by seeing him ascending to where he was before, far above all the heavens. However, salvation is by faith, not by sight, and they were lacking faith (Jn 6:64). The reason they were offended was that they did not believe in him. It was well understood that in God's word one has life (Jn 5:39). The issue here was that Jesus was saying that in him they have life, by this identifying himself with God's word, while they were unwilling to accept that he was more than a mere man (Jn 6:42).


Jn 6:63 The Lord said that the flesh is not profitable. Perhaps some were thinking that Jesus might mean that he would give them some of the flesh of his physical body to eat. As he said, eating that flesh would have not profited them anything. His message was not about his physical flesh and blood but about his words and the Spirit.


Jn 7:16 See the note on Rev 17:8.


Jn 7:22 In Greek, the verse begins with δια τουτο "For this reason." The Lord Jesus mentions here that in God's infinite wisdom, as he knew from the beginning everything that would happen, one of the reasons that he gave the commandment for circumcision was to point out that it is alright to do good on the Sabbath. Since a male baby was circumcised on the eighth day even if it was a Sabbath, circumcision provided an example that it is fine to do good on the Sabbath. The Sabbath commandment was not above the commandments to love God and to love the neighbor.


Jn 7:23 One would receive circumcision on the eighth day even if that day was a Sabbath. Circumcision made right one of the members of a man's body. If it was fine to make a body member right on the Sabbath, was it wrong to make the whole body right on the Sabbath?


Jn 7:34 With these words, the Lord predicted his resurrection. When a person died, his body could be found in his tomb. The body of Jesus, however, could not be found because of his resurrection. The Lord also mentioned that they were unable to go where he was going, that is, they were unable to go to heaven. He put it this way: οπου ειμι εγω υμεις ου δυνασθε ελθειν "where I am you cannot come." He did not say "where I will be" but "where I am." In this way, he was testifying one more time that he is God. With respect to his human nature, Jesus was on earth. With respect to his divine nature, he was also in heaven. He did not stop being God when he became a man.


Jn 7:38 Translations of the word κοιλια of this verse include "heart," "within him," "innermost being." Literally, it means "belly." The usage of the word κοιλια "belly" in this verse could be related to the usage of בטן "belly" in Pr 22:18, in which "belly" refers to the place where a person keeps the spiritual food that he receives. As a believer receives the words of the Lord and retains them, the Holy Spirit enables him to speak them. Then, the words that he speaks are like streams of living water to those who hear them. Note that the phrase υδατος ζωντος "water of the living," that is "living water," denotes fresh water when it is not used figuratively. For example, in Ge 26:19, the LXX translates מים חיים with υδατος ζωντος "living water."

The reference that the Lord makes in Jn 7:38 appears to be to the Hebrew text of Pr 20:30-21:1; see the note on Pr 20:30. Note that בטן "belly" and פלגי מים "streams of living water" appear in Pr 20:30-21:1. Though the common interpretation of the Hebrew text of Pr 20:30-21:1 divides the text into a sentence ending with בטן "belly" and a sentence beginning with פלגי מים "streams of living water," a literal interpretation of the text leads to בטן "belly" and פלגי מים "streams of living water" in the same sentence, which results in the following translation: "The stripes of a wound thou shalt cleanse in adversity, and with the wounds of the inward parts of the belly are streams of living water. The heart of the king is in the hand of the LORD; he inclines it wherever he wishes." Pr 20:30-21:1 speaks of spiritual truths that are spoken by the believer as a consequence of adversity. The Lord Jesus, however, mentioned spiritual truths that are spoken because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, regardless whether the believer faces adversity or not. Therefore, Jn 7:39 begins with τουτο δε "but this," for the text states, τουτο δε ειπεν περι του πνευματος "but this he said concerning the Spirit."


Jn 8:25 "Therefore, they were saying to him, 'Who art thou?' And Jesus told them the beginning, 'which is also what I say to you.'" Note that Ge 1:1 begins with בראשית "in the beginning." The Greek translation of בראשית is εν αρχη "in the beginning," which has the same word for "beginning" as Jn 8:25. Moreover, εν αρχη "in the beginning" also appears at the beginning of Jn 1:1. Thus, the statement that ειπεν αυτοις ο ιησους την αρχην "Jesus told them the beginning" must refer to the Lord speaking about the beginning of Genesis so as to indicate that he is the one through whom everything was created (Jn 1:3). Indeed, elsewhere he has stated that εγω ειμι το α και το ω η αρχη και το τελος "I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end" (Rev 21:6). Considering ειπεν αυτοις ο ιησους την αρχην ο τι και λαλω υμιν "Jesus told them the beginning, 'which is also what I say to you,'" the text inserts directly the quotation "which is also what I say to you," without any introductory words. Such changes from indirect to direct discourse are not unusual as they can be found also in other passages (Lk 5:14, 7:40-41, Ac 1:4, 17:3); see also the paragraph 10.XII.f.4 in Robertson's Grammar.


Jn 8:44 "Ye are of the father of the slanderer and ye wish to do the desires of your father. Your father was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks of his own, because he is a liar and the father of the liar." Though these opponents of Jesus were descendants of Abraham (Jn 8:37), their actions were not like those of their forefather, and in this sense they were not his children (Jn 8:39). They were not children of God either because their actions were so contrary to his will (Jn 8:42). They were slandering, lying, and bringing false accusations; they also intended to murder Jesus. So their actions were like that of the devil, and in this sense he was their father. Though the Lord never named the devil in this passage, he implied clearly that they were children of the devil in the sense that they sought to do things that pleased the evil one.

Note that the phrase πατρος του διαβολου cannot be translated "father of the devil" but means "father of the slanderer." Another passage in which the word διαβολος is used with the meaning "slanderer" is 2Ti 3:3. Now the antecedent of the pronoun in ο πατηρ αυτου "its father" is το ψευδος "the lie." Indeed, the fact that the enemy is the father of lies explains why what he speaks, when he lies, is his own. Moreover, the fact that he is a liar and the father of lies also implies that he is not just the father of the slanderer, but also the father of the liar.


Jn 9:7 The word σιλωαμ "Siloam" appears in the LXX translation of שלח "Shiloah" in Is 8:6.


Jn 10:34 The response of the opponents of Jesus (Jn 10:30, 33) was not at all meaningful. The Old Testament Scripture shows that the Messiah had to be God. (For example, the Lord spoke about it when quoting Ps 110:1 in Mt 22:41-45, Mk 12:35-37, and Lk 20:41-44.) Therefore, there was nothing wrong when a person providing ample evidence that he is the Messiah, indicated also that he is God. According to the Old Testament Scripture, this is how it was supposed to be. However, the opponents of Jesus did not know sufficiently well the Scripture. This may be why the Lord replied with words that help one see that the Messiah had to be God (Jn 10:34-35) and that challenged his opponents to respond to the ample evidence that God was providing for him (Jn 10:37-38).

The reply of the Lord in Jn 10:34 begins with, ουκ εστιν γεγραμμενον εν τω νομω υμων "Is it not written in your law." The word νομος "law" has been used not only in reference to the Bible books dealing with the law of Moses, but also for the entire Old Testament (Jn 10:34, 12:34, 15:25, 1Co 14:21). This should not be surprising, for the Greek word νομος "law" translates the Hebrew word תורה "law" that also means "teaching."

In Jn 10:34, the Lord quoted Ps 82:6. The text of Ps 82:6-7 is, אני אמרתי אלהים אתם ובני עליון כלכם אכן כאדם תמותון וכאחד השרים תפלו "I have said, 'Ye are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High.' However, ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes." Just as כאדם תמותון "ye shall die like men" mirrors כאחד השרים תפלו "ye shall fall like one of the princes", so also אלהים אתם "ye are gods" mirrors בני עליון כלכם "all of you are sons of the Most High." Thus, the meaning of "ye are gods" is that "ye are sons of the Most High." In this way, the Scripture calls God's children "gods" not in the sense that they have some special power in themselves (for they don't, apart from him they can do nothing) but because they are children of the Most High.

Reasoning as follows, it can be seen that the statement "ye are gods" proved that the Messiah is God. The Scripture cannot be broken, so "ye are gods" had to be fulfilled somehow, that is, it was necessary somehow for those to whom Ps 82 was spoken to become sons of God. Since by nature they were not sons of God, the phrase "sons of the Most High" speaks about adoption. However, one cannot adopt something that is not his, and by nature people are not God's but are separated from God by sins. So to become sons of God, people had first to be saved from sins. The Messiah came to save people from their sins. By redeeming them from sin, they became his. So they belong to the Messiah, not to God, unless the Messiah is God. Since the Scripture predicted that they would be adopted as God's sons, they have to belong to God. So the Messiah has to be God.


Jn 10:41-42 Those who were unwilling to accept that Jesus is the Son of God (Jn 10:36) were also rejecting the testimony of John the Baptist, who had testified that Jesus is the Son of God (Jn 1:34). The people mentioned in Jn 10:41-42 that came to faith in Jesus had heard the words of John the Baptist and realized that he spoke the truth.


Jn 11:34 With these words, the Lord indicated his intent to go to Lazarus' tomb. He did not need their help to find it, but desired to express his intent to go there.


Jn 12:6 The word γλωσσοκομον is often translated "bag" or "moneybag." However, in LXX the word translates ארון "chest" in a passage that refers to a box in which money donated for the temple was placed (2Ch 24:8, 10-11). The box had a hole (2Ki 12:10) through which people would insert money into it. In the New Testament, the word γλωσσοκομον refers to something that Judas had (Jn 12:6, 13:29). Judas himself would carry what was put into it, as could be inferred from τα βαλλομενα εβασταζεν "he was carrying what was put in" (Jn 12:6). Since Judas was carrying the money and the money was not left into the γλωσσοκομον, it follows that γλωσσοκομον does not refer to a bag but to a box, as in LXX. The money placed into this box was used for the ministry of Jesus (Jn 13:29) and for the poor (Jn 12:6, 13:29). Additionally, as could be seen in Jn 12:6, Judas would use some of the money for himself. Since a person close to Jesus had to betray him in order that Scripture might be fulfilled, Judas became an apostle in spite of his character and unrepentant heart.


Jn 12:7 The words of the Lord are understood here as indicating that what she did had significance for his burial, not that the fragrant oil was used at the time of his burial (see the note on Mt 26:12.) The Scripture does not mention elsewhere that this fragrant oil was used when Jesus was buried. To anyone who did not consider how great Jesus is, the fact that precious perfume was used to anoint his feet must have seemed very wasteful indeed.


Jn 12:21 The conjunction ουν "therefore" indicates that the Greeks came because of what had happened earlier, that is, because of the triumphal entry of the Lord in Jerusalem.


Jn 12:40-41 This passage makes a reference to Is 6:10. It is also related to Is 44:18. Now Is 6:10 has, השמן לב העם הזה ואזניו הכבד ועיניו השע פן יראה בעיניו ובאזניו ישמע ולבבו יבין ושב ורפא לו "he has made the heart of this people gross, their ears heavy, and their eyes blind, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them." In this translation, השע, and הכבד, and השמן are parsed as hiphil perfect third person singular masculine forms and רפא as a qal active participle singular masculine. The verb שמן "to become fat" is clearly used unfavorably in Is 6:10, indicating hearts that became thick and slow, that is, minds slow to reason correctly about spiritual truths. Comparing Is 6:10 and Jn 12:40, השמן לב העם הזה corresponds to πεπωρωκεν αυτων την καρδιαν "he has made their heart thick" in Jn 12:40. Note that the Greek verb πωροω, when referring to internal organs, can denote something that has thickened (see the Friberg lexicon.) Moreover, ועיניו השע corresponds to τετυφλωκεν αυτων τους οφθαλμους "he has blinded their eyes," while פן יראה בעיניו ובאזניו ישמע ולבבו יבין ושב ורפא לו matches ινα μη ιδωσιν τοις οφθαλμοις και νοησωσιν τη καρδια και επιστραφωσιν και ιασωμαι αυτους "lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them." Notable in Jn 12:40 is the absence of the phrases ואזניו הכבד "and their ears heavy" and ובאזניו ישמע "and hear with their ears." The fact that these phrases were not applied to the context of Jn 12:40 is consistent with the observation that while Jesus was in the world, God was speaking in person to the people; their ears were hearing like never before.

Note that in Is 6:10 (and also in Is 44:18) the Lord is speaking, so the subject of τετυφλωκεν αυτων τυος οφθαλμους "he has blinded their eyes" is not the Lord. Rather, the subject is the enemy, as mentioned also in 2Co 4:4. The Lord is the subject only at the end of the verse, in ιασωμαι αυτους "I would heal them." Now Is 6:10 is in the context of Isaiah seeing in a vision the glory of the Lord (Is 6:1-13). As stated in Jn 12:41, Isaiah saw in the vision God the Son. Isaiah spoke about Jesus as he wrote Is 6, after seeing his glory. The fact that Isaiah ελαλησεν πρερι αυτου "spoke about him" (Jn 12:41) refers to Is 6. Note that Isaiah did not speak about Jesus in "he has blinded their eyes" but in "I will forgive them." Indeed, note that Is 6:10 is in the context of "who will go for us?" (Is 6:8). Thus, Is 6:10 speaks about the work of the adversary against which the Lord sent Isaiah.


Jn 12:50 η εντολη αυτου "his command" refers to εντολην "command" in the previous verse. The words of the Lord are life to those who receive them.


Jn 13:15 The Lord would often speak figuratively when teaching in the presence of unbelievers. Judas, an unbeliever, was present at that time. Therefore, one has to consider whether Jn 13:14 is about a literal washing of the feet or about a teaching that the Lord wanted to illustrate by washing the feet of his disciples. That feet washing illustrated a teaching of the Lord is confirmed in Jn 13:12, where the Lord said γινωσκετε τι πεποιηκα υμιν "Do you know what I have done to you?" (Jn 13:12). When washing the feet of his disciples, the Lord spoke about inward purity (Jn 13:10) not about a literal washing of the body. The disciples were already clean (Jn 13:10) because of the word that Jesus spoke to them (Jn 15:3). However, they were to help each other stay pure. When pointing something wrong, they were to do it with humility, like one who washes the feet of another, watching themselves (cf. Ga 6:1). The Lord himself humbled himself greatly by becoming a man and living among us so that he might teach us and die for our sins.


Jn 16:7 εγω την αληθειαν λεγω υμιν "I tell you the truth" resembles אמת אגיד לך "I tell thee the truth" in Dan 11:2. It is also related to εγω δε οτι την αληθειαν λεγω "but because I speak the truth" in Jn 8:45, and αληθειαν λεγω εν χριστω ου ψευδομαι "I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie" in Ro 9:1 and 1Ti 2:7. Note that αληθειαν λεγω "I speak the truth" appears in the context of truths that some have found difficult to receive.


Jn 16:8-11 The work of the Holy Spirit by which the world is convicted helps people get right with God. Jn 16:9 indicates that the Holy Spirit convicts people concerning sin so that they may believe. In other words, sin keeps people from faith. Jn 16:10 also mentions that the Holy Spirit convicts people concerning righteousness. This is done so that people may have righteousness. The righteousness of faith is available because people do not see Jesus; if they saw him, there would be sight and not faith, and so the righteousness of faith would be impossible. Apart from the righteousness of faith, there is no way man can be righteous before God. Jn 16:11 also mentions that the Holy Spirit convicts people concerning judgment. This is done so that people may respond to the Lord and escape judgment. Anyone who does not repent remains on the side of the ruler of this world, and so will be judged because the ruler of this world has been judged. In conclusion, Jn 16:8-11 mentions that the Holy Spirit convicts people in order that they may come to faith and have eternal life.


Jn 17:11 Note that Jn 1:9, in its context, is related to the statement of the Lord in Jn 17:11 that ουκ ετι ειμι εν τω κοσμω "I am no longer in the world." In the context of Jn 1:9, John was beginning his ministry and Jesus was already physically present in the world. Though Jesus was physically present, his ministry had not began. His ministry was about to begin, and in this sense the light was coming into the world. At the time of Jn 17, in a sense, Jesus was no longer into the world since his ministry had ended. However, since he was still physically present, in this sense he was still in the world, as he stated in Jn 17:13.

Those who are kept in the name of God are his possession, they are known to belong to him, and are called therefore by his name (De 28:10, 2Ch 7:14, Is 43:7, 63:19, Jer 15:16, Dan 9:19, Am 9:12) by those who know the truth. For example, the phrase "man of God" calls a person by God's name.


Jn 17:12 The phrase ο υιος της απωλειας "the son of destruction," which appears also in 2Th 2:3, could be likened to οι υιοι της απειθειας "the sons of disobedience" in Eph 2:2, 5:6, Col 3:6 that refers to persons remaining in disobedience. It could be contrasted to τεκνα οργης "children of wrath" in Eph 2:3, which refers to a condition that does not have to be permanent. Note that the word υιος "son" implies a more mature condition than τεκνον "child." Thus, the phrase "the son of destruction" must refer to a person headed to destruction that will not turn away from it.

Though at the time of Jn 17:12 Judas was not yet dead, in a sense he had already perished. Indeed, Judas had been exposed to the faith, departed from it, and was not going to return. The reason the other disciples did not perish is that they had found favor with the Lord and he guarded them. Those who believe with saving faith have found favor with the Lord, and nobody can snatch them out of God's hand (Jn 10:28-29).


Jn 18:17 Note the words oυν "therefore" and και "also" in λεγει ουν η παδισκη η θυρωρος τω πετρω μη και σου εκ των μαθητων ει του ανθρωπου τουτου "Therefore, the girl who kept the door saith unto Peter, 'Art not thou also one of this man's disciples?'" The other disciple was able to enter the court because he was known to the high priest (Jn 18:15-16). Apparently, it also was known that he was a disciple, for the girl at the door asked Peter whether he was a disciple too.


Jn 19:6 Pilate's words, "Take him yourselves and crucify him," are related to "Then he delivered him to them to be crucified" in Jn 19:16. Pilate "washed his hands" (Mt 27:24) and made them supervise the execution. Just as he gave them later soldiers to guard the tomb, so also here he gave them soldiers to carry out the execution of Jesus.


Jn 19:25 In the original language, the mother of Jesus and her sister do not have the same name. Mary's name is μαριαμ, while the name of her sister is μαρια. Mary's name is the same as the name of the sister of Moses and would be more accurately translated "Miriam."


Jn 19:27 This verse makes an indirect reference to the brothers of the Lord. When considering that Mary stayed with John, one could ask why she did not stay instead with those who were brothers of Jesus according to the flesh. Previously, they were mentioned in Jn 7:5, which states that they were not believers. In the absence of any other reference to them between Jn 7:5 and Jn 19:27, the text implies that they were still unbelievers at the time of Jn 19:27. As for the identity of the brothers of the Lord, note that Lk 2:7 states that Jesus was the firstborn son of Mary. (The same is stated in the Byzantine text of Mt 1:25.) Since the Scripture states that Jesus was the firstborn son of Mary, instead of stating that he was her only child, it follows that Mary had at least one more child after she gave birth to Jesus. In fact, four sons besides Jesus are listed in Mt 13:55-56 and Mk 6:3 (see the note on Mt 13:55-56.) These brothers of Jesus were sons of Mary and Joseph. Strictly speaking, they were half-brothers of Jesus, as he did not have a biological father. Concerning the brothers of the Lord, see also the note below on Jn 20:16-17. Note that Jn 19:26-27 is the first instance in the New Testament in which Mary is associated with the disciples of the Lord. Since the Lord did not arrange before this time that she should stay with the disciples, it is plain that Mary was not following Jesus. In fact, the Scripture says nothing about Mary supporting the ministry of Jesus during his time on earth. On the contrary, Mk 3:21, 31 mentions an instance in which the brothers of Jesus and his mother tried to stop him. However, at the cross, when the Lord associated Mary with the disciples, he indicated that she had become a disciple. Apparently, she started believing at the cross. By staying with more mature believers, Mary was likely to grow in her faith. On the contrary, by staying with Jesus' brothers, Mary's faith would have been challenged, not nourished, for they were unbelievers. Later, however, the brothers of Jesus also came to the faith (Ac 1:14). In particular, James, the brother of the Lord, saw Jesus after his resurrection (1Co 15:7). However, the instance in which he saw Jesus is listed towards the end of the list of 1Co 15:5-8, which indicates that he was among the last to see him. Considering also the order in which believers appear in Ac 1:14, it can be seen that the new converts were mentioned at the end. Notably, Mary is mentioned before the brothers of Jesus, for she believed before them. It is interesting to note that the brothers of Jesus are not mentioned as being present at the cross. This fits Ps 69:8 (9), stating, "I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother's sons."


Jn 20:16-17 The answer of Mary Magdalene shows reverence. She did not say "Jesus!" but ραββουνι "Teacher!" In view of Mt 28:9-10, which took place later, she was probably bowed down and taking hold of his feet. In 2Ki 4:27, 30, the lady who took hold of the feet of Elisha did not want him to leave but to come to her house and revive her son. (The phrase of 2Ki 4:27 that is translated "she took hold of his feet" is ותחזק ברגליו.) So also in Jn 20:16-17 and Mt 28:9-10, the ladies did not want Jesus to leave. It is right to cling to Jesus, but it was not the right time then. Thus, Jesus did not say to Mary that she should not cling to him but that she should cling after his ascension to the Father. The statement that αναβαινω προς τον πατερα μου "I ascend to my Father" indicates that he was on his way to the Father. When he rose from the dead, he departed from Sheol. On his way, before ascending to the Father, he spent 40 days on earth (Ac 1:3). As for the fact that one should cling to the Lord, note ובו תדבק "and hold fast to him" in De 10:20, ובו תדבקון "and hold ye fast to him" in De 13:4 (13:5), and ο δε κολλωμενος τω κυριω εν πνευμα εστιν "but he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit" (1Co 6:17).

In Jn 20:17, the Lord asked Mary Magdalene to speak with his brothers. However, in view of Jn 20:18, he meant his disciples. As mentioned in the note above on Jn 19:27, the brothers of the Lord according to the flesh were not yet believers. They likely heard the words of the Lord in Jn 19:26-27 and Jn 20:17. His words were testifying once again (see Mt 12:48-49, Mk 3:33-34, Lk 8:21) that without faith they were not really his brothers. These words were urging them to come to the faith and become true brothers of the Lord.


Jn 20:22 "And having said this, he blew in them the Spirit and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" The verb εμφυσαω "to blow in" does not appear elsewhere in the New Testament but appears several times in the LXX. Two interesting occurrences appear in Ge 2:7 and Eze 37:9. In Ge 2:7, this verb was used when translating ויפח באפיו נשמת חיים ויהי האדם לנפש חיה "and he blew in his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul." In Eze 37:9, the verb εμφυσαω "to blow in" was used in the translation of באי הרוח ופחי בהרוגים האלה ויחיו "Come, O Spirit, and blow in these slain ones, and they will live." So also, in Jn 20:22, the Lord arranged that the Spirit should enter the believers at that time. This was in fulfillment to his promise that the Spirit would indwell them (Jn 14:17, Jn 7:38-39). Thus, when the Holy Spirit came upon them on the day of Pentecost, he came so as to empower them (Lk 24:49); he had been indwelling them since the day of Jn 20:22.


Jn 21:13 Considering Jn 21:9 and Jn 21:13, it can be seen that Jesus prepared only one loaf and one fish. Though they ate from only one loaf (cf. 1Co 10:17), they apparently ate from more than one fish, for the Lord told them to bring from the fish that they had caught (Jn 21:10). This passage uses the same Greek words for bread and fish as Jn 6:11.



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