(Vs. 23) In these verses our Lord still asserts His Divine nature. All of the disputing and trouble with these Pharisees was on this point who is Jesus of Nazareth? He had given them the greatest proof imaginable of His witnesses and His works; yet they, being destitute of spiritual life, grace, and wisdom, did not believe. You are from the earth; you are of this world; you understand and judge all things according to carnal reasoning and wisdom' you have no spiritual knowledge or life. I am from heaven: I am not of this world (John 3:9-13; I Cor. 2:9-11).
(Vs. 24) Here is the bottom line! "If you believe not that I AM," (Exo. 3: 13-14) the true God, the eternal Son of God, God manifest in the flesh, the true Messiah, the only Saviour of sinners, the one and only Mediator between God and men, Prophet, Priest, and King (Isa. 9:6), ye shall die in your sins! This text plainly teaches the impossibility of salvation for those who receive not and believe not in Jesus Christ as God and Saviour (Isa. 45:21-22).
(Vs. 25) Whether in doubt, desperation, or frustration, they said, "Who are you?" To which lie replied, "Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning" of this discourse, or from the beginning of My ministry, or as he spoke from the beginning to Moses, "I am that I am" (John 1:1-2). I am the same, and no other, than I told you at the first (John 10:24-28).
(Vs. 26) Just as our Lord said to His disciples in John 16:12, "I have many things to say unto you of redemption, regeneration, sanctification, justification, and eternal glory, but you cannot bear them now," and as in Mark 4:33, "He spake the word unto them as they were able to hear it," He tells these Pharisees, "I have many things to say about you which will judge and condemn you. He that sent He is true in His revelation and judgments. I only speak to all men what I have received from Him." (John 14:10.)
(Vs. 27) "They understood not." This reveals the total depravity of even the most religious and moral of men. The Lord God Himself spoke to them of spiritual things, and they understood not (I Cor. 2:7-9). They did not understand that tie spoke to them as the One sent of the Father; or that, when He spoke of His Father (John 8:19), He spoke of the EVERLASTING FATHER (Isa. 9:6).
(Vs. 28) "When you have lifted me up on a cross (this is what is meant by lifting up the son of man John 3:14; John 12:32), then shall you know that I am He." Our Lord is saying that His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension would be accompanied and followed by such manifestations of Divine glory that His words would be fully vindicated and many would be convinced that He is, indeed, the Messiah (Matt. 27:54). Thousands of the ones who had cried, "Crucify Him," were brought on the day of Pentecost to believe on Him as both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36-41).
(Vs. 29-30) Whatever men might think of Him, His doctrine, and His office, He knew that in all He said and in all He did, He was the Father's elect servant, upheld and delighted in by Him. "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased," As He spoke these words (all that we have read in this chapter), it says that "many believed on Him." Whether they truly believed with saving faith on Him as the Son of God, the true Messiah, we cannot say. We read this in other places (John 2:23: John 7:31; John 10:43: John 11:45). Judging from the following verses, their impression was more in the head than in the heart.
(Vs. 31) Our Lord spoke to those who indicated that they believed on Him and described the marks and evidences of a true believer. If a man continues through his life believing Christ, loving Christ, and devoted to Christ, then he gives evidence that he is a disciple indeed. The word "indeed" means genuine, truly, and really saved, not just a religious professor. Enduring to the end and continuing in the gospel is not a CONDITION of salvation but is a manifestation or proof of salvation. The one who truly loves Christ will not depart from Him: and the one who departs never truly loved Him (I John 2:19: Heb. 3:6, 14).
(Vs. 32) "Ye shall know the truth," which is the truth of the gospel, the truth of God's glorious grace to us through Christ Jesus, that truth which is revealed to us by the Spirit of truth; or Christ Himself, Who is the way, the truth, and the life; or both. For how can Christ and the word of truth be separated? They are one! To know Him is to be set free from the penalty of sin, the curse of the law, the power of darkness, the practice of sin, and finally from the very presence of sin; for we shall be like Him!