Wanted for Blasphemy
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Read John 10:31-33 (ESV)
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.”
Why is it important to understand that Jesus really did claim to be God? What difference does it make that Jesus is God and not just a man?
I often hear skeptics assert that Jesus never claimed to be God. But as we discussed earlier in our study of John 10:22-26, Jesus told the people very clearly that He is God with both His words and His works. In fact, that is the purpose in John’s Gospel account! He wrote “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).
In fact, while modern day readers may miss the significance of some of the things Jesus said and did, His opponents did not miss the significance. If someone told the Jewish religious leaders at that time that Jesus never claimed to be God, they’d think you were pretty dense. The fact that Jesus presented Himself as God was so clear to everyone that, as we’ve previously discussed, Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic, or He was who He said He was—Christ the Lord. But the argument that Jesus never claimed to be God doesn’t appear to have been on the table in His day.
In today’s passage, the Jews were mad at Jesus because He said: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). This ignited an angry mob with a textbook mob mentality. Even though the Jews had no legal authority to execute Jesus without Roman authorization, they picked up stones to kill Him for blasphemy. They clarified that they wanted to stone Him because He made Himself out to be God. That kind of blows up the theory that Jesus never made any claims to deity, doesn’t it? It’s the whole reason the Jews wanted Him dead!
The Jewish leaders completely understood what Jesus was saying. They just didn’t like what they were hearing and they didn’t believe it to be true. In their minds, because He made Himself out to be God, He must be stoned for blasphemy. Apparently, they weren’t willing to consider the other option which is that Jesus really is, in fact, the Messiah, the Son of God.
But remember, Jesus wasn’t asking anyone to simply take His word for it that He is the Son of God. He did miraculous works that were witnessed by many different people. He fulfilled hundreds of messianic prophecies. God the Father bore witness about Him at His baptism when He said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). John the Baptist testified that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Still, the Jews wanted to execute Him for blasphemy. Why? Because they were not His sheep. They didn’t get it. They were spiritually deaf and blind to the truth right in front of them.
Friends, we all have a choice to make. If you are reading this and you’ve never accepted the truth that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, why not? How do you explain all of the evidence that testifies to the truthfulness of Christianity? If you are a believer in Christ, doesn’t this bolster your faith and encourage you? Jesus did claim to be God but He didn’t just claim it. He proved it. The only question is—do you believe it?
Lord, I believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God! You are my Lord and Savior. Thank You for the evidence that You gave and for the testimony of Your witnesses. My faith is strengthened knowing I have good reasons to put my trust in You! Amen.
Reveal: Pray about who needs to hear that Jesus is God, then share this devotional with them. Continue to pray that God would open their spiritual eyes and ears to His truth.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford