John 15:15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.
Romans 8:15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
Language (in general) and spiritual modes of discourse (in particular) are often ambiguous and Jesus’ teachings are no exception. At times they seem intentionally cryptic and were– more often than not, it seems –grossly misunderstood. His frequent references to himself, for example, seems to have given his critics the impression that his teachings were self-serving–that he was seeking his own glory. Indeed, his repeated use of the phrase, “I Am”, as reported in the gospel of John, must have seemed to them like shameless self-promotion which– given its association with the name of God in Exodus 3:14 –bordered on blasphemy. Jesus responds to such criticism as follows:
John 7:16 Then Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. 17 Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. 18 Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him. 19 “Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?”
“The Father and I are one” (John 10:30).
This claim followed on the heels of several of the aforementioned “I Am” expressions which, as indicated above, are provocative enough in their own right. They are itemized, below, compliments of Henry Morris:
“I am the bread of life” (John 6:35,48,51).
“I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).
“I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7,9).
“I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11,14).
Moreover, his assertion that, “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30) is, in turn, followed by three more “I Am” expressions:
“I am the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25).
“I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
“I am the true vine” (John 15:1,5).
Egoic minds are, indeed, self-serving and self-promoting–imagining as they do that the whole world should revolve around them. And perhaps it is natural that it would seem to such minds that Jesus had a similar agenda–albeit one of megalomaniacal proportions:
John 10:31 The Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.”
But looking ahead a few chapters, it does not appear that Jesus is necessarily claiming or desiring anything for himself that he does not also claim and desire for everyone else–if only they are willing to receive the Word of God as he receives it and are willing to know themselves to be in the way that he knows himself to be. For if they are willing– indeed, if we are willing –he prays for both them and for us as follows:
John 17:18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth. 20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one…
As such, it is at least questionable whether or not Jesus intended to set himself apart and glorify himself, personally, in contradistinction to the rest of humanity.