Closing Arguments (John 10:22–42)

24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me.

—John 10:14–25

“Who is Jesus?” is a unique question. When asked, you may think it is Jesus who is on trial and that you are acting as judge. In reality, we all sit in the dock already condemned. The question is not an opportunity for judgment, but an offer of pardon. If we answer sinfully, we bring even greater condemnation on ourselves. Sinner, you sit in the dock today. The Holy Judge of heaven, by His living word asks you, “Who is Jesus?” Pardon unto life eternal or condemnation to an eternal hell are certain based on your answer to this singular question.

This episode begins to close the end of the first half of John, known as “the book of signs” which runs from chapters 1–11. In this “book” we find seven signs. These signs, John expressly tells us, are central to the purpose of this gospel. “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30–31).

Beginning with chapter 5 we came to a distinct subsection of the book of signs called “the festival cycle.” With this text that cycle comes to a close. Throughout this cycle “witness-testimony-judgment” language have been so constant that they have created a legal atmosphere, a courtroom ambiance over all of Jesus’ interactions with the Jews. In John’s narrative, this is the last interaction Jesus will have with “the Jews” —meaning, the leaders. These are the closing arguments.

The next chapter serves as a transition between the two halves, with the seventh sign, the resurrection of Lazarus. This is the final sign in John, save for the sign of signs—the death and resurrection of our Lord, which is the sole focus of the second half of John. In Chapter 12, Jesus will interact with the crowds some, ultimately pronouncing the same judgment on them as he does on the leaders in chapter 9, leaving them to their blindness.  In chapters 13–17 Jesus interacts intimately with the disciples before His betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion. So again, this is the last interaction of Jesus with “the Jews.”

John records no trial before the Sanhedrin like the synoptics do. We will see Jesus brought before the high priest, but quickly the baton is passed to Pilate. John, instead of highlighting that later private trial, has this earlier and extensive “public trial,” and He brings it to bear on us. In John’s narrative, these are the closing arguments. And the testimony is brought to bear on you. Who is Jesus?

They think they are putting Jesus on trial. But it is Jesus who is the judge. It is they who sit in the dock as condemned. Pardon is set before them. But they are blind. And believe their places are switched. Sinner, “Who is Jesus?” I ask you this not because I’m interested in who you say that Jesus is as though you were some authority. I ask you out of concern for your soul.

Pardon is set before you with this question. Scripture is telling you the answer. Who is Jesus? He is the Bread of life. Eat and Live. He is the Light of the world. Turn to Him, be delivered from darkness and walk in the light of life. He is the Door. Enter by Him and find salvation and life. He is the Good Shepherd, He laid down His life for the sheep. He is one with the Father. The life He gives to His sheep is absolutely secure. He is one with the Father and the Father is one with Him.

These men demand that Jesus plainly tell them if He is the Christ (v. 24) . He has been telling them so much more. He has been telling them that the Christ is God. He is not a man making himself God (v. 33). He is God who has made Himself man.

Sinner, this might be your last interaction with Jesus. Do not harden your hearts, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and receive secure and certain eternal life in the Son of God.

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