Truly God or Merely Man?

“We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”  (John 10:33)

In our verse for today we see Jesus’ enemies attempting to vindicate their actions because of their zeal for the law. In an effort to gloss over their vile and murderous ways they set forth a pretense of blasphemy.

“As nothing is more courageous than a well-informed conscience, so nothing is more outrageous than a mistaken one.” -Matthew Henry

Their allegation was that Jesus claimed to be God. The problem was that what Christ had stated of Himself was true! He had said He was One with the Father. He had said He would give eternal life. We find Jesus giving a clear statement of His deity in Matthew:

The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”

“He is worthy of death,” they answered. (Matthew 26:63-66)

The fact that eluded these Jews was that Jesus was no ordinary man. While He was fully man, He was also fully God. Paul gives us an unrivaled description of our Messiah in Colossians:

“The only Christ for whom there is a shred of evidence is a miraculous figure making stupendous claims.” -C. S. Lewis

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. (Colossians 2:9)

Paul also writes:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to deatheven death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)

The writer of Hebrews also gives us the following:

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (Hebrews 1:3)

The Jewish leaders could not prove any evil against His miraculous works and therefore clung to the shreds of pretense of honoring the law. They did themselves great harm.

Take It to Heart

These Jews did not want to believe because they did not want to change. When confronted with truth we must always do something with it–embrace and apply it or refute and deny it.

“It costs much to obtain the power of the Spirit: It costs self-surrender and humiliation and a yielding up of our most precious things to God; it costs the perseverance of long waiting, and the faith of strong trust. But when we are really in that power, we shall find this difference, that whereas before, it was hard for us to do the easiest things, now it is easy for us to do the hard things.” (A J. Gordon)

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