30 “I and My Father are one.”
This verse is an important statement that shows the eternal relationship between the Father and the Son. This declaration is the climax of the chapter.
30 I and My Father
“I” and “Father” clearly speak of two persons. The Father and the Son are never asserted as one person in Scripture. They are two persons, yet they are one in essence or substance.
The word “are” is masculine gender while “one” is neuter gender; thus, this verse does not primarily argue for the oneness of person. God is more than one person; He is three persons. The argument from the neuter is oneness of purpose or will. Protection of the salvation of sheep is the joint task of both the Father and Son. They both operate under the unity of God.
If this passage asserted one person, it would have to use the Greek masculine word heis, but the Greek here for “one” is the neuter hen. Thus, the point of the neuter is that two persons (“I” and “Father”) have one purpose.
The word “are” is plural; the Father and Son are two persons. This denies Sabellianism, which rejects more than one person in the Trinity. This is not principally an assertion that Christ and the Father are the same person but that they are one in purpose.
However, this verse also implies that the Father and Son are one in Trinity. If they are eternally one in will, they are also one in essence. They are two persons (“I” and the “Father”), not one person, but they are one substance. One is essence is by implication.
Since the context deals with both the Son and the Father securing the salvation of the believer (Jn 10:28-29), the oneness here is primarily one of function, not chiefly metaphysical oneness or oneness of being. John previously declared that the Son was God (Jn 1:1, 18; 8:58). John would also explicitly make this declaration later (Jn 20:28). Further, this phrase is an allusion to Deuteronomy 6:4. Jesus here made a claim to deity.
The Father and Son function with one will because they are also one in essence.
The unity of which Jesus spoke is unity of purpose, but it also implies unity of being. The assertion by Jesus in this verse that He was God is evident because the Jews sought to kill Him in the next verse. They clearly understood that Jesus made claim to deity.
There is a distinction of person and roles between the Father and the Son, not a distinction of essence. The Father plans and the Son executes the plan. Both are one in essence.
Protection of the sheep is a joint role of both the Father and the Son. The Jews were so incensed by what Jesus said that they attempted to kill Him (next verse).