12.01.10 Jn. 10:31-39
JEWS ATTEMPT TO STONE JESUS
31 Again the Jews picked up rocks to stone Him.
32 Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. Which of these works are you stoning Me for?”
33 “We aren’t stoning You for a good work,” the Jews answered, “but for blasphemy, because You — being a man — make Yourself God.”
34 Jesus answered them, “Isn’t it written in your scripture, I said, you are gods? (Ps. 82:6) 35 If He called those whom the word of God came to ‘gods’—and the Scripture cannot be broken — 36 do you say, ‘You are blaspheming’ to the One the Father set apart and sent into the world, because I said: I am the Son of God? 37 If I am not doing My Father’s works, don’t believe Me. 38 But if I am doing them and you don’t believe Me, believe the works. This way you will know and understand that the Father is in Me and I in the Father.” 39 Then they were trying again to seize Him, yet He eluded their grasp.
“Because You — being a man — make Yourself God.” The difficulty the religious leaders had was not just that Jesus performed the three messianic miracles, but they reflected upon the horrible dictatorial Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and the Roman emperors, these and all others who ever claimed to be a god. Their fears of the past clouded their perspective of the present reality. Furthermore, their preconceived ideas of a political-messiah blinded their understanding of Jesus. The fact that Jesus could be so radically different evidently did not occur to them. Yet the time had come again when He needed to clearly state His divine authority.
“If he called them … ‘gods.’” The critics of Jesus had no difficulty with Psalm 82:6, which referred to men as gods to whom the Word of God would come. During the time of the judges (ca. 1375-1075 B.C.), judges ruled the Israelite people by divine authority. While they were ambassadors for God, they were called by the divine name “Elohim.” The English word judges is Elohim and means gods. The judges were mere humans with authority of divine delegation and their title of Elohim was one of honor and respect. At no time did the Israelites ever believe that their judges were deified. Likewise, Moses was called a “god” to Aaron (Ex. 4:16) and called a “god” to the pharaoh (Ex. 7:1). This was not because they were deified, but because they were ambassadors, who carried the divine message to the Egyptian monarch.
Therefore, if the Jews could accept ancient men being called “gods,” how could they possibly be critical of Jesus for referring to Himself as the same? In light of this context, Jesus had authority of divine delegation and in that sense, was a small g “god.”
. See 11.02.20.Q1 “What are the three examples of where Jesus claimed divine authority that brought Him into conflict with the religious establishment?”
. Barclay, “John.” 2:76-77; Fruchtenbaum, The Jewish Foundation of the Life of Messiah: Instructor’s Manual. Class 17, pages 9-10.
. The term Elohim is also found in Psalm 82:6; Exodus 21:1-6 and Exodus 22:9 and 28.
. For years scholars have debated verses 34-36 as to whether Jesus is or is not claiming deity. For further study, see W. Gary Phillips. “An Apologetic Study of John 10:34-36.” 405-19.