John 10:31-42

The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.” Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If those to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’—and the scripture cannot be annulled— can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Then they tried to arrest him again, but he escaped from their hands.

He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and he remained there. Many came to him, and they were saying, “John performed no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” And many believed in him there.

Reflection – Donna Fitch

This incident takes place in Jerusalem during Hanukkah. Jesus is walking in the temple at Solomon’s porch (John 10:22-23) and is soon surrounded by people who demand He state plainly if He is the Messiah. In verse 24, they say, “How long will you keep us in suspense?” According to the NIV Application Commentary, this sentence can also be translated as, “How long will you annoy us?” Jesus is not meeting their expectations about what the Messiah should be, what He should say or how He should act. In the verses before today’s text, Jesus basically says, “I answer your questions, but you don’t believe. I perform miracles and you don’t believe. I’m the shepherd, but I don’t recognize you as my sheep.”

Today’s scripture confused me at first, because I was hung up on who was being referred to as gods. I fell into the same linguistic trap as the Jews did. The issue isn’t who is a god or why, but that He (Jesus) and the Father are one. Jesus turns their arguments against them, as He frequently does. But so many times they (and I) miss the whole point. I can just see Him putting his face in his palm and shaking His head.

The Jews are much more interested in things that don’t matter. They want to shape Jesus into the image they want, and when He refuses, they seek to kill Him. I know I am guilty of trying to shape Jesus into the image I want rather than following Him. They want to argue words rather than deeds. “We are bombarded,” according to the reading on Sacred Space, “with words, by advertisers, politicians, media and every sort of preacher. To each of these, as to myself, I say: If your works do not square with your words, then I will not believe you.”

A Prayer

Show me, Lord, where my life falls short of what I profess. I close the Bible up; show me how The Christ you talk about is living now and how I regard His image. Amen. [prayer adapted from Sacred Space]