John 10:19-42

Read: John 10:19-42

There could not be a clearer declaration of Jesus’ divinity in John 10:30. Here, Jesus says that he and the Father are one. Leading up to this, Jesus had declared that he was the Sheep Door and the Good Shepherd – that is the only and narrow entrance into the sheep fold and also the one who cares for the sheep and searches out the lost sheep. The motif of God as a shepherd is found in the Old Testament (Psalm 23, Jeremiah 31:10, Isaiah 40:10-11, Ezekiel 34:11-2) where he does just these things. The Jews did not know what to make of his words and were divided. Jesus then explains the parabolic message of the metaphors he used to describe himself, and makes the statement that those who believe in him are part of his flock and cannot be snatched away from the Father. By implication, the ones that belong to Jesus also belong to God of they are one and the same, and Jesus makes this very statement.

This is not the first time the Jews wanted to kill Jesus for claiming equality with God. After Jesus healed the lame man on the Sabbath they sought to kill him for healing on the Sabbath and claiming equality with God (John 5:18) and when Jesus says that he is the great “I Am” (John 8:58-59). Ultimately, this is the reason that the Jewish leaders gave the people for wanting to have him crucified (Matthew 26:63-66). The high priest asks him if he was the Son of God, and Jesus quotes from Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13. Hebrews 12:2 likens this to Jesus. The Jews obviously understood this to mean that Jesus was calling himself God, as they explicitly say it, and they want to kill him for it.

Jesus counters with an interesting argument, that if read incorrectly, could generate bad theology concerning people. Jesus argues that the Scriptures call men “gods” from Psalm 82. Psalm 82:1 uses the same word to refer to “rulers” in some translations as it does to most often refer to “God”, namely the word “אלהים” (pronounced, “eloheem”). In the same Psalm 82:6, the word is used to say that these rulers are “gods”, sons of the Most High, but will nevertheless die. This word is also translated “judges” in Exodus 21:6 and Exodus 22:8-9 in some translations. The word, “אלהים” is translated in the Greek Old Testament to “θεος”, the same word used to refer to God in the New Testament. Jesus is arguing that the Psalm calls some men (namely the rulers) “gods” yet they get upset and scream “blasphemy” when Jesus, the one who God sent into the world says that he is the “Son of God”. Jesus then says, if he wasn’t doing the work of God, then don’t believe him. But Jesus then says that he is doing the work of the Father and that through this they can know, even though they do not belief. This is not teaching that people are gods; rather that they are attributed qualities that make them metaphorically “gods” but not necessarily gods. Also, Jesus is not downplaying his own divinity; rather he is saying that they have a double standard. In any case, they still did not like the answer Jesus gave, and sought to arrest him. Jesus escaped them and went beyond the Jordan where John was previously baptizing. Many followed him there and recalled the testimony of John about Jesus, and they believed.

The issues of Jesus divinity has been hotly debated over the years because many have a hard time accepting that God could be a man or man could have been God or understand how God can be both a person and a divine being at the same time. They deny that Jesus was God or fully God, deny that Jesus was a man or fully man, or say that Jesus was some other kind of god but not the same thing as God. The Scriptures, as Jesus said, cannot be broken, and one cannot say Jesus is something else when the scriptures teach that he is God through applying the shepherd motif to Jesus, outright saying that Jesus is one with the Father, that the Father is in him and he is in the Father, saying he is equal to the Father (John 5:18), saying that he was the great “I Am” (John 8:58) and outright saying it in John 1:1. Jesus is God – there can be no mistake about that. Because the power of the Father and the power of Jesus are one, there cannot be anything that separates those who believe in Jesus from God. The assurance of salvation rests not on works, but on believing that Jesus can and will save them – this is only possible if Jesus is God.

Lord, You are God! I know that you and only you can save me for this reason and nothing can undo that!