John 10:31-36 : A Missed Opportunity?

John 10:31-36

31 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him,
32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
33 “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’?
35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken—
36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?

One would think that this would have been a great opportunity for Jesus to teach the doctrine of the Trinity. The disbelieving Jews accused him of claiming to be God, and Jesus could have responded by saying something like:

“But I am God! You see, the Father, Myself, and the Holy Spirit are one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal. As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated, but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords, but one Lord.”1

But, strangely enough, Jesus did not take that prime opportunity to elucidate the mystery of his metaphysical oneness with the Father. Instead, when accused of claiming to be God, Jesus essentially said:

“Ya? So what? Your own scriptures teach that there are gods other than the Father. What’s the big deal if I claim to be the Son of God?”

Given a prime opportunity to affirm metaphysical monotheism, Jesus instead offends the Jews even more by claiming that not only is he God (the son of God), but that there are other gods beside  him, and that their own scriptures teach it. Why would Jesus do that?


[1] The Athanasius Creed. (accessed 1-12-08 )

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6 comments on “John 10:31-36 : A Missed Opportunity?

  1. Great questions that the critics seldom ask!

  2. Steve Smoot says:

    I agree, James, this was a missed opportunity for the Savior. Of course, Peter missed his opportunity as well:

    Jesus said, Whom do men say that I am?

    And his disciples answered and said, Some say you are John the Baptist returned from the dead; others say Elias, or other of the old prophets.

    And Jesus answered and said, But whom do you say that I am?

    Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Logos, existing in the Father as His rationality and then, by an act of His will, being generated, in consideration of the various functions by which God is related to his creation, but only on the fact that Scripture speaks of a Father, and a Son, and a Holy Spirit, each member of the Trinity being coequal with every other member, and each acting inseparably with and interpenetrating every other member, with only an economic subordination within God, but causing no division which would make the substance no longer simple.”

    And Jesus answering, said, “What?”

  3. James says:

    Thanks Andrew and Steve.

    Steve, I remember first reading the joke you typed over at Barry Bickmore’s website. I laughed pretty hard when I first heard it! I just find it so ironic that a doctrine that is supposedly taught in the bible is…well…never really taught in the bible!

  4. Stan J. says:


    I have to agree that it is supremely ironic that the details of the Trinity (and, indeed the bulk of Catholic traditions) are never taught in the Bible, and yet, the most common accusation against Latter-Day Saints is that exact same thing. There’s a real disconnect between accusing the LDS of not being scripturally grounded when the schism between sects at least implies something akin to that for any denomination that is not Catholic, which, itself, has non-Biblical teachings.

    It’s a bit of a “Catch-22” cycle, but maybe it doesn’t matter?

    The joke about Peter’s reply gave me a really good chuckle as well, and reminds me of the t-shirts that say, “God said [insert lengthy mathematical equation here], and there was light.”

  5. fromthesunrising says:

    Please read this site: don’t miss to read all the blogs

    Let the truth be seen and known by all!

    Peace be with all

  6. Jr says:

    I was actually told by an Evangelical, that Jesus is speaking in the third person! Whaaaat? How does one get around that.
    (I was also told Jesus/God can be any form or shape or thing He wants to be. Where is that in the Bible, I asked. No answer!) :-)

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