Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Proof Is In The Works (John 10:31-42)

“The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands. He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” And many believed in him there.” (John 10:31–42, ESV)

Jesus finally told them in words they would accept what they were trying to get Him to say. In verse 30 He did not say that He was the Christ, but He did say, “I and the Father are one.” Now they had what they wanted—the grounds to go after Him for blasphemy or claiming for Himself something that belonged to God. He said that He was one with God, and for them that was enough. So, they picked up stones to stone Him. Having done this, Jesus challenged them in response. He spoke of the many good things He had done, and He asked them which one of them was worthy of being stoned. Which action was so wrong that He was going to be stoned because of it? Of course, He knew it wasn’t the works that He had done but rather that they could not easily dismiss Him because of them.

They responded with what He already knew—it was His claim that He was Himself God. Responding to their accusation Jesus quoted what was probably Psalm 82:6-7, “I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.”” These Jews had put themselves in the place of God and stood as gods themselves in judgment of others. According to the psalmist their outcome would be their fall and death just like any other “prince.”  Jesus went on to say that if they, as gods, were making a false claim against the One sent by God then they themselves were the ones who were guilty of blasphemy. He told them if anyone was guilty of blasphemy it was them, and not Himself. He knew from where He came and Who sent Him. There was no ambiguity here, and for them to claim otherwise they were the ones on faulty ground.

He reaffirmed that they were making these accusation because He claimed He was the Son of God, and then we restated that the works He had done were adequate proof. He told them again, “believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father.” He did not back down one bit, but rather pushed ahead in affirming that He was exactly who He claimed to be and nothing less. Of course, this did not satisfy them. They did not listen to His words, nor did they believe in His works. They were intent on one things which was to bring Him down, so again they sought to arrest Him. Our passage records for us that they were unable to do so because Jesus “escaped from their hands.”

From there He returned to the place where His ministry began, where John had been baptizing. We read in John chapter 4 that Jesus had left Judea so as not to take away from the ministry given to John by the Father. Now that John had been beheaded Jesus returned to where John had ministered. Upon His return the people came to realize that while John had not performed any miraculous signs himself, he did speak of One who would. And as they looked to Jesus they saw that He was every bit the One that John said He was. The result was that many of these disciples of John had now come to know Jesus for themselves. They had seen the works, and John chapter 10 concludes with, “…many believed in Him there.”

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