21 ¶ Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. 22 Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. 23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. 25 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. 26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. 27 They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. 28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. 29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. 30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.
Jesus is talking about going back to the third Heaven (2Corinthians 12:2) and these Pharisees will die in their sins because of their rejection of Him and will not go where He is going. The Jews questioned whether or not He was speaking of taking His own life because they didn’t understand what He was saying. But, Christ here points out that they are of this world and He is not. That’s why they will die in their sins, because they do not believe in Him as the Messiah, the Christ, although He doesn’t immediately reference those words.
So, the Jews demand that He declare who He is, something that has repeatedly been done, as we have seen. Jesus has declared who He is through the mouths of people around Him and He said it Himself.
Nathanael declared Him in 1:49 and He confirmed it, not denying;
49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. 50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
Jesus declared Himself to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews in John 3, although that was not a public statement. John the Baptist acknowledged who Jesus is in John 3 also.
Jesus declared it to the woman at the well and she believed;
John 4:25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he…29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
The Jews understood His declaration of who He was and were furious.
5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
Jesus then again declared Himself.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.. 39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Again and again He has established His true identity. So this question the Jews put to Him is rather disingenuous. Jesus repeats that He is only presenting to them the will of God the Father, the soul of God, the origin of God’s will and self-identity. I have already explained how God has three parts to Him, as per the Bible, and is not three separate persons, because God is one. Each of the three parts share the same will which resides in the Father.
Verse 28 is a reference to His Crucifixion and Resurrection. He made a similar allusion before to Moses placing the serpent on the pole (Numbers 21:5-9).
John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Proof of Jesus’ power and authority and identity did not necessarily come from raising people from the dead or healing them of their sicknesses. Others claimed to be able to do that in religious traditions. The proof would come when man put His human body to death in a manner that could not honestly be contested and then He got up from the tomb. The empty tomb is the proof of Christianity.
John 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
To be a Christian you must believe that.
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Jesus states here that He is obedient to the will of the Father. Many here believe on Him even without the proof of the Resurrection, which, of course, has not happened yet. Blessed were those who believed Jesus’ words without having the reality of them fulfilled. This is a fundamental of the Bible from Job to the Apostles. As Hebrews 11 makes clear, the triumph of faith is believing what God has promised and that He will provide it long before you receive it in reality. Believing God is then the essence of salvation which is why Satan’s first effort revolved around getting a man and a woman to question what God said.
John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.