Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus establishes his authority for his words and actions.
You will recall that when at the outset of his ministry the Lord spoke in the synagogue at Capernaum, what first got the attention of the crowd was not what he said but the manner in which he said it. What did they notice? “The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.”
We might miss this, but the relevant point is that rabbis and scribes taught through appeal to authorities beyond themselves, ultimately to the authority of Moses. But Jesus did not speak in this manner; rather, he spoke with exousia (authority).
What is being implied is that the Word, which spoke to Moses, and through Moses to every other teacher in Israel, is now speaking on his own authority. Don’t believe those who say that the divinity of Jesus is affirmed only in the prologue of the Gospel of John. This passage is, for a Jewish audience, just as clear an affirmation of Jesus’ divinity as John’s “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”