The real choice about Jesus – John 10:22-42, Part 5

The Jewish religious leaders have stones in their hands, ready to launch them at Jesus. They believe they have caught him in the act of sin. As we learned in the previous post, though, Jesus asks them a question, “But what about my miracles? Don’t they prove that I and God the Father are one?” Look at how they respond to him in John 10, verse 33:

“We are not stoning you for any of [your miracles],” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

Nope.  Jesus hasn’t convince them.  The religious leaders are fixated on their viewpoint that he is a mere man, and therefore they believe they are justified in executing him.  They are unwilling to have even a sliver of humility or teachability. Not even his miraculous works penetrate their cold hearts.

It just goes to show how stubborn we humans can be.  We can be especially stubborn about anything that might require us to change.  If Jesus is who he said he was, those religious leaders would have to admit, “Okay, Jesus, you’re right, we are wrong, and we have been wrong for a long time.  We have treated you sinfully, and we confess our horrible behavior to you.”  That kind of confession and repentance takes a lot of maturity, maturity that many people simply don’t have.  The religious leaders certainly didn’t have it.  

So with stones still in their hands, how will Jesus respond?  If the leaders wouldn’t believe in his miracles, what would they believe?  Jesus now tries a different angle.  Look at verses 34-38.

“Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 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’? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father’.”

Do you see the new tactic Jesus uses to try to convince the religious leaders to put down their stones and believe in him?  He goes to the Bible for proof.  He refers to a line in Psalm 82 in which God called people “gods.”  Jesus’ point is that if God the Father called some people “gods,” then why is it so difficult for the religious leaders to believe in the idea that the Chosen One, the Messiah, is God who has taken on human flesh?

Further, Jesus says again, the miracles he has done authenticate him.  The miracles are unbreakable evidence that he and the Father are one, or as he says it in verse 38, “the Father is in him, and he is in the Father.” 

With nearly 2000 years of hindsight, perhaps you and I hear Jesus say this, and we don’t have a hard time believing him, “Yes! Jesus, that is exactly right.”  Jesus is 100% man and 100% God.  Jesus is not just human.  He is not just some special version of humanity.  He is 100% human like you and I, and he is also 100% God.  He is both.  Fully both.  As a result, we are right to sing his praises at Christmas and Easter, and all throughout the year.  We are right to give our lives to serve him.

But the religious leaders were not convinced.  Look at verse 39.

“Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.”

I don’t know how he did it.  Had to be a miracle how he got away, and there would be no execution that day.  Instead, Jesus returns to his ministry.  Look at verses 40-42:

“Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. Here he stayed and many people came to him. They said, ‘Though John never performed a miraculous sign, all that John said about this man was true.’ And in that place many believed in Jesus.”

Over and over throughout our study of the Gospel of John, we have been presented with evidence for Jesus’ as God who took on flesh and is the Messiah, the savior of the World.  He himself claimed this.  John the Baptist said it was true about Jesus.  Jesus’ miracles provided even more evidence. 

The Gospel writer, John, is asking his readers, and that means us, “What are you going to do about Jesus?”  John has given us extensive evidence, and we have a choice.  The religious leaders refused to accept the evidence and believe in Jesus and follow him.  Belief in Jesus would necessitate change in their lives.  They knew that belief was not simply agreeing with ideas.  Of course, they refused even to believe the idea that Jesus was God. 

If it is even slightly true that we are like the religious leaders, a passage like this brings us to our knees in confession.  We have heard that Jesus is God, authenticated by his miracles, and therefore the right response is to believe in him by giving our lives to serve him.  That kind of belief will absolutely impact the choices we make in our lives.  How we spend our money, our time, and how we use our talents, how we talk about people, how we talk to people, how we interact with the world around us.  When we give our lives to Jesus, he wants to change us from the inside out. 

The religious leaders much preferred to go through the religious motions that they believed were correct, because their version of religion kept them in power.  Believing in Jesus, however, is something totally different than going through religious motions.  Believing in Jesus is a giving up of our rights, of our power in order to allow Jesus to enter our lives and make his home within us as we become the temple of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit of Jesus then grows his Fruit of the Spirit in our lives, as we continually strive to empty ourselves, just like Jesus did for us.  As Paul would write in 1st Corinthians 9, “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible…. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”

The conclusion to all of this is quite serious.  How we think about Jesus is of utmost importance.  Then make your thoughts about Jesus a discussion about Jesus. Who are you talking with about the way you live your life?  Who are you talking with about the way Jesus lived his life? 

What we are learning about Jesus can become something we talk about.  None of us have Jesus and his way of life fully understood and put into practice.  So keep learning together with the other Jesus-followers in your life. In humility, learn together, talking and listening to one another.

If Jesus is who he says he is, then it is in everyone’s best interest to give our lives to not just believe in him, but show that our belief is real by becoming like him and serving his mission wherever we are. 

Photo by Small Group Network on Unsplash

Published by joelkime

I love my wife, Michelle, and our four kids and two daughters-in-law. I serve at Faith Church and love our church family. I teach a course online from time to time, and in my free time I love to read and exercise, especially running,

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