In today’s Bible reading we see Jesus’ enemies reject him even though the evidence of his words and miracles supported his claims.
22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 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 in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
A hostile group of Jews surrounded Jesus in an enclosed area and tried to provoke him to directly state that he was Israel’s King – the Messiah (v22-24).
Jesus rebukes them because he has spoken plainly enough. They will not believe he is Israel’s King, because whilst they are Israelites by name they do not really know God. Because of their failure to believe in Jesus they will not share in the eternal life Jesus will give to those God the Father has given to him (v25-29).
The crowd gets very angry when Jesus alludes to the reality that he is God and they want to stone Jesus even though Jesus has performed great acts of God (v30-33).
As his enemies stand with stones in hands ready to kill Jesus, Jesus quotes Psalm 82 and answers in a way that both stalls them and gives opportunity for him to challenge them. Psalm 82 speaks about rulers who display their unworthiness of the honorary title “gods” or “sons of the Most High”. They are rejected and punished with death by God for their evil behaviour. We might paraphrase what Jesus says here in this way: ‘Hang on – the Law of God (the OT) does name some people with the title “gods” (a title they prove unworthy to bear). So what about the one God the Father sent into the world – why do you assume that I am unworthy of the title “God’s Son”? Do not my words and my miracles display that I am worthy of the title – that the Father is in me and I am in the Father?’ What they think is clearly displayed in their lunge to seize and kill Jesus (v34-39).
Head: Think on how Jesus’ extraordinary claim to be God and a man in the one person was confirmed by the God-like things he said and did.
Heart: Allow these words of Jesus to speak to your heart: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
Hands: What are the main things you will be doing today? How might Jesus’ voice as it comes to us in the Bible change the way you do those things today?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise you for showing who you are as God by sending your Son as the man Jesus, confirming Jesus’ claim to be God and a man in the one person by the God-like things he said and did. I ask that today you would enable my heart to listen to Jesus’ voice as it comes to us in the Bible. Please bring to my mind today the ways Jesus’ words can change the way I think, speak and act today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
A song to listen to: Who You say I am
Phil Strong- Creek Road Presbyterian Church- Carina & Springfield