In today’s passage, Jesus is on the Temple Mount in the cold month of December for the eight day Feast of Dedication which celebrates the Macabees regaining control of the Temple Mount and rededicating the Temple in 164 BC.
Any stoning that took place legally was proceeded by a judicial investigation and a death sentence from a court of law. The Jews' response to Jesus’ words in this passage is to pick up
stones to stone him, which came from a knee-jerk reaction to his statement: “I and the Father are one.” It should be noted that riots and lynching where common among the Jews who lived with tense emotions and the fragile political situation in a Roman oppressed first century Jerusalem.
To the Jewish ear Jesus’ statements “My Father” and “I and the Father are one” are statements that speak against the Great Shema (“Hear”) from Deuteronomy 6:4 states the basic doctrinal point::
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
To claim deity along with God was a blasphemous break in monotheism among a people who
lacked a full understanding of the Trinity. In Jesus’ statement, “I and the Father are one,” the
word “One” is neuter which indicates “one thing” and not “one person.” Since the Jews picked up stones to stone Jesus clearly indicates that they understood Jesus to be uniting himself with
God as deity, instead of associating his nature with mankind.
Instead of running in fear of a public stoning, Jesus presses the issue by presenting evidence
that He and the Fatherare the same divine essence, citing the miraculous feats (“good works”)
he had produced, that no mortal man is incapable of producing. This presentation of evidence by
Jesus forces the crowd of Jewish leaders to clearly state their charge against Jesus:
“You, a mere man, claim to be God!”
Correct! And, now the Jews are trapped by the evidence and by their words. The evidence
indicates that Jesus’ works (“miracles”) are the work of God. Then, the Jews indicate they
understand Jesus’ “claim to be God.” So, since Jesus claims to be God and he is doing the
work of God the only question that remains unanswered is: What are the Jews going to do
with this factual information?
The Jews are now in a position where they will have to either accept Jesus’ statement, which
they admitted is supported by evidence, or they will have to reject the Truth that they now
understand and accept a lie.