Monday, June 9, 2014

John 10:22-42, Part IV

I didn't mean to leave you last time with a cliff-hanger, but the Jewish people were about to try for an execution when we last studied . . .
[31] The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. [32] Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” [33] 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.” [34] Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? [35] If he called them gods to whom the word of God came — and Scripture cannot be broken — [36] 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’? [37] If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; [38] 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.”
Oh, so that is what they are thinking -- blasphemy. And they are so angry that they are going to take judgment into their own hands! No trial or defense here; no due process like in our courts today. They are in a tizzy, searching for just the "right" stones.

Look over at Jesus. Is He agitated? He doesn't show it. He is perfectly calm. He's not going to run away, though His disciples may be tugging at Him, gesturing, trying to get Him to walk away. No signs of fear -- He is going to talk to them. Discuss things.

He is going to use evidence and the Scriptures.
So, this is what He asks them: since He has done many good works, and many miracles and great signs, what is the problem?
John and the others must have been thinking, "In other words, people, you have seen so many good and positive things come from His ministry. Which of those things are you going to stone Him for?"
The testimony of His works and the transformation of lives are both very compelling evidence. But it's not evidence that would cause them to want to stone Him, is it? Shouldn't they want to thank Him?

Listen to their response:
"We're not stoning you for any good work."
"It's for your blasphemy."   "You, as a man, make Yourself as God."
This all just makes me wonder if they ever, ever stopped a moment to consider if it could be true? Do you ever imagine yourself in Bible stories?  I found myself imagining this one . . . I sure hope that if I were a Jewish woman then, that I would have started to "put two and two together" and realize that Jesus really could be Who He said He was!  Here's a nation of people anticipating a Messiah, and then seeing Jesus, hearing His teachings, and experiencing His works firsthand . . . they still didn't "get it."

So the evidence didn't faze them. To make His point, Jesus points them to Psalm 82:

[1] God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment.

[6] I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; [7] nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.”

Jesus teaches them here that the psalm applies the word "Elohim" (which if translated literally is the plural word for God) to men. In this psalm, God is referring to the judges and leaders of Israel, who have demonstrated epic fails in carrying out their responsibilities as God's representatives. There are verses in Exodus where God refers to them this way; they were given authority over the people. God gave them the job of making and carrying out judgments in the nation of Israel. God's Word came to them in the form of the sacred scriptures, and in the form of prophecies by the particular prophets of their era. And then Jesus says,
“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’?”

Attorneys would call this a special kind of logical argument, which says that "if A is true, then how much more is B true."
He points to the fact that He was sent from God, and He is the One Who can state, "I am the Son of God." Jesus says that even if they don't believe what He says, they can check the evidence of His works.
And He says that if they are willing; if they will look at and believe in the works, they will receive the insight that they need. They will understand.

1 comment:

Belinda said...

I think one reason Jesus was so calm, is that He knew how it would all go down and this was not yet the time. Even if He wound up being stoned, He wouldn't be killed because He had to go to the cross.

It's very easy for me to sit here and think, "How could they not see?!!" but when you are raised up a certain way, it's hard to see beyond your scope of experience. And as we've discussed before (I think) they were looking for a majestic Messiah. Not a humble man. The miracles didn't sway them because they were just too steeped in what they expected the Messiah to be.

I wonder if anyone actually asked them, "What if you are wrong?" I've heard it said that when talking with someone who refuses to believe in Christ, you should ask them that question. If I'm wrong, I have nothing to lose, but if you are wrong you have everything to lose. I'd sure want to err on the side of Jesus!