There’s a hidden indictment in this story. Let’s look…
5 The righteous person hates falsehood, but the wicked person brings shame and disgrace.
We have been looking at the passages in John where Jesus identified Himself as God’s Son and, indeed, God in the flesh. As we saw yesterday, chapter 10 is rich with revelation. In this passage, Jesus calls out the religious leadership and even gives them a chance to believe in Him,
27 ‘My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them the life of the coming age. They will never, ever perish, and nobody can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and nobody can snatch them out of my father’s hand. 30 I and the father are one.’
31 So the Judaeans once more picked up stones to stone him.
32 ‘I’ve shown you many fine deeds from the father,’ Jesus replied to them. ‘Which of these deeds [miracles/signs] are you stoning me for?’
33 ‘We’re not stoning you for good deeds,’ replied the Judaeans, ‘but because of blasphemy! Here you are, a mere man, and you’re making yourself into God!’
34 ‘It’s written in your law, isn’t it,’ replied Jesus to them, ‘ “I said, you are gods?” 35 Well, if the law calls people “gods”, people to whom God’s word came (and you can’t set Scripture aside), 36 how can you accuse someone of blasphemy when the father has placed him apart and sent him into the world, and he says, “I am the son of God”?
37 ‘If I’m not doing the works of my father, don’t believe me. 38 But if I am doing them, well – even if you don’t believe me, believe the works! That way you will know and grasp that the father is in me, and I am in the father.’
Jesus was trying to open their eyes to the fact that God can do whatever He likes. If He chose to inhabit a human body–more than that, become a human body–He could, and did! Their own term, “Elohim,” should have given them a big clue (see Proverbs 1-19). But there is more to the verse that Jesus quoted than is given. Let’s look at verse 6 and the verse following it,
6 I said, “You are gods,
And all of you are sons of the Most High.
7 Nevertheless you will die like men,
And fall like one of the princes.”
Jesus’ quote does, indeed, call all people His children, but verse 7 opens the door to a whole new level of meaning. Being the Scripture scholars that they were, many of them memorizing the entire Torah, they would have identified the Psalm in their minds and then ran through the entire Psalm (it’s only eight verses). They very well could have concluded that Jesus intended for them to see themselves in verse 7. It was at this point in the conversation that Jesus offered a proverbial olive branch, “If I’m not doing the works of my father, don’t believe me. But if I am doing them, well – even if you don’t believe me, believe the works! That way you will know and grasp that the father is in me, and I am in the father.” Instead, they tried once again to arrest Him, but to no avail (verse 39).
If we look at Psalm 82:8, we get an even greater indictment, “Arise, God, judge the earth! For You possess all the nations.” A case could be made that God was about to render judgment upon the human race. If we look back at the Messianic passage in Isaiah 35:4, we see God coming in judgment upon, in this case, those who do harm to His Son,
4 Say to those with anxious heart,
“Take courage, fear not.
Behold, your God will come with vengeance [LXX-judgment];
The retribution of God [LXX-rendering of judgment] will come,
But He will save you.”
Jesus was relentless in coming after them. In a culture of Honor/Shame, it’s no wonder they wanted to kill Him (more on that tomorrow). Would that they swallowed their pride and believed Him.
Abba, the more I look into Your life and plan, the more I see. Thank You for great teachers of the past and for the Great Teacher, O Holy Spirit. It’s all very exciting! I can hardly wait to see what revelations You will unveil tomorrow. Amen.