Now we come to the supreme claim, ‘I and the Father are one,’ said Jesus (John 10:30). What did he mean? Is it absolute mystery, or can we understand at least a little of it? Are we driven to interpret it in terms of essence and substance and all the rest of the metaphysical and philosophic notions about which the makers of the creeds fought and argued? Has one to be a theologian and a philosopher to grasp even a fragment of the meaning of this tremendous statement?
If we go to the Bible itself for the interpretation, we find that it is in fact so simple that anyone can grasp it. In John 17:11 we read of the prayer of Jesus for his followers before he went to his death: ‘Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, that they may be one, as we are one‘. Jesus conceived of the unity of Christian with Christian as the same as his unity with God. In the same passage, he goes on: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 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. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one’ (17:20-22). Jesus is saying with simplicity and with a clarity which none can mistake, that the purpose of the Christian life is that Christians should be one as he and his Father are one.
~ William Barclay, The Gospel of John Volume 2, pp 86-87.
William Barclay (died 1978 in Glasgow, Scotland) was a Scottish author, radio and television presenter, Church of Scotland minister, and Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow. He wrote a popular set of Bible commentaries on the New Testament that have sold over 1.5 million copies.