Lesson 63


The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

10:31 Therefore Jews took up stones again to stone him. 10:32 Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?"

10:33 The Jews answered him, "We don't stone you for a good work, but for blasphemy: because you, being a man, make yourself God."

10:34 Jesus answered them, "Isn't it written in your law, 'I said, you are gods?' 10:35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the scripture can't be broken), 10:36 Do you say of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You blaspheme,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God?' 10:37 If I don't do the works of my Father, don't believe me. 10:38 But if I do them, though you don't believe me, believe the works; that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father."

10:39 They sought again to seize him, and he went forth out of their hand.


 Today's Lesson 

Today's scripture is based on the reaction of the Jews to Jesus' statement that He and the Father were one. To these men, this was clearly a case of blasphemy. They took up stones in order to stone Him, which was the penalty for blasphemy from the Law of Moses. Jesus turns their actions back on them with His question; "I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?"

 

Now, when we think of this question it is an odd one. In our world a persons words and their actions can sometimes be quite different. But, in Jesus' mind and in His teachings, the words of a man and the actions of a man are always a complete unity. If a man says one thing and then does another, he is a liar. And, he is completely a liar in every sense. But, Jesus knew that His own words and actions were in total accord with one another. There was no falsehood within Him. So He calls them to consider this. "For which of those works do you stone me?" He challenges them to consider that if His actions are pure then His words must be pure as well.

 

Their response was that they were not trying to stone Him for what He had done but for what He had said. To their credit, they did understand that Jesus was making a claim to divinity. Many modern readers choose not to see Jesus' claims in this light, but His contemporaries certainly understood that Jesus was claiming Himself to be divine.

 

Jesus' response to their charge of blasphemy is twofold. First, He responds with a quote from Psalm 82:6, "Isn't it written in your law, 'I said, you are gods?'" This psalm calls on men appointed as judges to deal with the weak and poor justly. They are called "gods" with the power over the lives of the defenseless. Jesus reasons that if these judges could be called "gods" in the psalms, then since He was sent by the Father and sanctified to the work of God then it is not inappropriate that He should be called the "Son of God." Secondly, Jesus returns to His original argument. "If I do the works of the Father, believe the works." If Jesus does the works of God, then He must be sent from God.

 

Because of these statements, the Jews renewed their efforts to kill Him. Jesus departs Jerusalem because it is not yet His time to die. There are still a few more things that He must accomplish before His death. This will be His last time in the city until He returns in His last visit.

 

Jesus claimed complete unity with God the Father. He claimed that His words and His actions were completely at harmony with one another. He claimed that if one were to look at the things that He did that a person could rightly judge that He had been sent from God. Each person must decide for themselves what the words of Jesus and the actions of Jesus means to them. Each person must decide, is Jesus of Nazareth the Son of God? The consequences of this decision are profound.

 

These men of Jesus' day decided that He was a blasphemer. Jesus said that they would die in their sins because they would not accept Him. What is your decision about Jesus? Was He the Son of God as He claimed to be, or was He deluded? What does your heart and your mind tell you about this man who claimed to be One with God? Who was Jesus of Nazareth and what does He mean to your life today?

 

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