Guilty of Being God.
Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?” – John 10:31-32 NLT
The people wanted a Messiah. They had been looking for him to come for generations. Now they had to confront the rumors of whether or not Jesus was the one for whom they had been waiting. But so much didn’t seem to make sense. Yes, He did miraculous works. He did inexplicable wonders right before their eyes. He healed the lame, the blind, and the mute. He even raised the dead. But something wasn’t right. Maybe it was because He didn’t look the part. After all, He was just a common-looking peasant from the backwater town of Nazareth. He had no known pedigree. They would have had no clue that He was David’s rightful heir to the throne. They simply saw Jesus as a virtual nobody who burst on the scene unexpectedly and who was stirring up excitement among the people and anxiety among the religious leadership. For many of them, Jesus had become more of a sideshow than a potential savior. He was a welcome distraction from the day-to-day misery of life under Roman rule.
So when Jesus showed up at the Temple during the Festival of Dedication, or Hanukkah, a crowd surrounded Him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly” (John 10:24 NLT). They wanted Him to come right out and declare His intentions to establish His rule and reign and begin His plan for saving the people of Israel from their oppressors. They were ready for Jesus to start acting like the kind of Messiah they had been waiting for. But the kind of salvation came to bring had nothing to do with the tyranny of Rome. It had nothing to do with earthly thrones or kingdoms. At least, not yet. Jesus came to offer freedom from sin and the gift of eternal life. And all the miracles He had done in their sight were more than proof enough that He was exactly who He had been rumored to be. “The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name,” he told them. Jesus tried to get them to understand that the miracles He performed were evidence that He had been sent by and worked for God. But the majority of the people in the crowd that day were looking for more. Miracles were not enough. But their skepticism had to do more with blindness than anything else. Jesus told them, “you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me. For my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one” (John 10:26-30 NLT).
Jesus knew that there would be those who never believed in Him. They would reject both His message and His miracles. Not because His messages and miracles were unimpressive, but because they were spiritually blind to the truth. Jesus told them point-blank, “You are not my sheep.” They didn’t belong to Him. God had not opened their eyes to the reality of Jesus’ mission and message. They were still spiritually dead and incapable of recognizing the Messiah who stood right before their eyes. And evidence of their spiritual blindness was their reaction to Jesus’ statement, “The Father and I are one.” They immediately picked up stones to kill Him. They saw Jesus as a mere man, not God. He was guilty of blasphemy and deserved to be stoned to death. But the real reason they wanted to kill Jesus was because He was exactly who He claimed to be: The Messiah, the Son of God, and the King of the Jews. He was God, and for that they wanted to kill Him. It would be the same thing that would lead to Jesus’ conviction and crucifixion at the end of His life. His crime, as proclaimed on a wooden sign hung above His head on the cross, was “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Jesus died for being who He claimed to be. He was guilty for being God and He died because of it. All along the way, Jesus had been doing the work of His Father. He had given ample evidence of His deity. And He told the people that day in the Temple courtyard, “Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s word. But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe in me” (John 10:37-38 NLT). Look at the evidence. Recognize that it is of God, not man. But their eyes remained closed and their hearts remained hardened. But many believed in Jesus that day. There were some sheep among the goats, some believers among the doubters, some converts among the crowd.
Father, there is so much evidence surrounding Your Son that validates His claims. And yet millions still reject Him even today. Their eyes are blinded and their hearts are hardened. And unless You open their eyes and soften their hearts, all the evidence in the world will never win them over. Salvation is an act of God, not man. It is completely up to You, not us. Thank You for opening my eyes and softening my heart so that I could see clearly for the first time and recognize the truth of Jesus’ claims and accept the free gift of eternal life He offered. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men