I’m going to invite you to John 10 this morning. John 10 is where we are together. And this morning, this is what I need from you if we’re going to dive into this text the proper way. Jesus is going to say a couple of things in this text that are head-turning and a little bit complex because he’s diving into the nature of who he is. This is a very important section of scripture for us to look at together, because this is the last public presentation Jesus gives to us concerning his identity. As you read along in the story of John, all that Jesus has done to this point, this is his last real public declaration of his identity before it leads to his crucifixion. So after this point, it’s really the last few days of Jesus’s life and into the crucifixion of Christ.
And so, this is the last declaration of who he is, and it centers on the identity of his nature. Right? So Jesus is going to really answer the question, “Who are you?” Because in verse 24, that’s the question that Jewish people ask. They’ve gotten the feeling to this point. They’re thinking, “I really feel like Jesus wants us to understand who he is.” He’s been so polarizing to this moment that we should probably come to understand who Jesus is. He’s done some really exceptional things. I mean, he’s given sight to the blind. Right? I mean, he’s healed a lame man. Jesus has done some incredible things. Who is this guy? We want to know. Apparently, he wants us to know. And in John 10:24 you see this, the question here is, “The Jews then surrounded him and began saying to him, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.'”
Which, this is a very jaw-dropping statement. If I were Jesus, I probably would just throw my arms up and just quit right there. If you read the gospel of John at all, Jesus has given multiple occasions where he has clearly identified who he is for us. I mean, you remember, we started at John 1. John presents this argument from the very beginning of who Jesus is. In the beginning was the word. The word was with God. And the word was God. John very plainly says that. But in chapter two starts the miracles of Jesus, the declarations of Jesus in that identity. He turns water into wine, which is a bizarre thing. We’ve looked at the importance of what that represented in John 2. When Jesus turned water into wine, as it relates to him being our ultimate bribe. Don’t have time to go through it all.
But it’s an incredible miracle. Strange miracle when you don’t understand it. But when you understand the context of it, it’s a powerful miracle that Jesus does. John 3, he tells Nicodemus that he’s here to bring life like fulfill the promises of Ezekiel 36 and 37. And then he goes to the woman at the well, and the woman at the well even says, “We’re waiting on the Messiah.” And Jesus says, “I am the Messiah,” right? And Jesus heals a lame man in John 5, Jesus declares himself the light of the world, the living water in John 7:10 Jesus give sight to the blind, John 9. And he tells the blind man, “I am the son of man.” I am, which is a name of deity, a name of God in the old Testament in Daniel 7. I mean Jesus, over and over.
In John 8, he says, “Before Abraham was, I am.” And in that moment, that’s a declaration of him being God, that’s the name of God in the old Testament. The Jews tried to kill him. Over and over Jesus said who he was. And now in John 10 they’re thinking, you know what? It’s probably pretty important we understand who this guy is. And they say, “Tell us plainly who you are. Don’t keep us in suspense any more. We can’t stand it, Jesus.” And Jesus is like, I could imagine the frustration at this point, because anytime that you ever have to repeat something, do you find yourself just a little irked sometimes? Like, “I told you. You didn’t pay attention. I don’t even want to say it again.” Right. And Jesus, and this morning is like, “I’ve said it a hundred times,” right? And in John 10, Jesus one more time is going to answer this question. “Who are you, Jesus?”
Who Jesus is, is the most important question I think any of us could answer in life. In fact, in John 8:24, Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.” In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul warned that people will come after Jesus and teach about Jesus, but it won’t be the same Jesus. It’ll be the name of Jesus, but a completely different identity than Jesus. And when you study world religions, world religions have differing views on who Jesus is. Like Buddhism says, “He was wise and an enlightened man who taught similar things like Buddha.” Christian Science says, “He’s a wise man, especially attuned to the divine Christ.” Hinduism, “Incarnation of God, akin to Krishna or a Wiseman.” Islam, “A prophet of God whose message has been corrupted.” Jehovah’s Witness, “The word of God. God’s first creation.” The Archangel Michael.” Unitarian Universalism, “He’s a great teacher, a faith healer incarnation of God’s love.”
You look at all the different religions of various views of who Jesus is and you’ve got to deal with Jesus. I mean, he’s the most revolutionary figure in all of history, right? I mean, he changed the world without holding a political office, leading an army, really holding no position, never writing a book. And yet Jesus has re centered the world around him. So you’ve got to go with Jesus, but what’s more important rather than what religion says about Jesus is, who does Jesus say he is?
And the whole point of today is not to be contentious or argumentative over the identity of Jesus, but just to simply see what Jesus says about himself, because Jesus plainly said in John 8:24, “Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” So the Jews asked this question of Jesus. So in verse 22, if I pick it up from the beginning here, we’re going to cover verse 22 to 42 very quickly. But in verse 22, it says this, “At the time the Feast of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem, it was winter and Jesus was walking in the temple area in the Portico of Solomon.” So here’s what it’s saying for us. If you started reading in John 5 it tells us in John 5 the time of the feast was at hand and John 5 to John 10, it covers Jesus’s life as it centers around the feast. And so what it’s saying to us is, what Jesus does in Israel is not something done in a dark room.
Starting in John 5, Jesus was present before Israel during their festivities, their feast that they would celebrate. Jesus goes into the public spotlight in Jerusalem where everyone would gather to make the declarations of his identity before his own people. So Jesus is not beating around the bush and this Jesus is being very upfront in the way he’s giving the declaration his presence in Israel and here at the end of John 10, this is the last feast Jesus attends to publicly declare his identity before his crucifixion.
And it tells us that the Feast of Dedication and Jesus was walking around in Solomon’s Portico. And so you reading this, the feast of dedication might be surprised to know that you were actually very familiar with this piece or at least to a degree. This is probably out of all the Jewish feasts, the one that you might even be most familiar with. We don’t call it the Feast of Dedication today. What you’re typically used to hearing referred to as, is Hanukkah. Now this might blow your mind because some of you might think, “Well, I thought Hanukkah was the Jewish Christmas because it happens around Christmas time.” But lo and behold, this Jewish holiday existed before Christmas exists. We celebrate Christmas, came in later sort of celebrating around the birth of Jesus. And you might think, “Well, I thought the Jewish people were piggy-backing off of our holiday of Christmas, trying to give themselves a holiday.” It’s kind of like Kwanza, right? Like you got Hanukkah. They celebrate during Christmas. It’s like the Jewish version of Christmas and Hanukkah has nothing to do with Christmas.
In fact, Christmas is probably not celebrated when Jesus was born. I hate to… there’s a couple of spoiler alerts for us this morning, but Jesus is walking around in Jerusalem, celebrating Hanukkah or as they referred to it, in the Feast of Dedication. And because this is towards the end of the year, it tells us he’s under a covered area of Solomon’s Portico. This would have been a covered area. Jesus out of the elements, but he’s still publicly teaching people about his identity during this celebration. So if you want to know a little bit about why the Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, Hanukkah began because of a man named Antiochus Epiphanes. He was a Greek leader. He came into Jerusalem. He conquered the Jews. He goes into the temple. He steals its treasure. He makes a sacrifice of a pig on the altar, which is an unclean animal for the Jewish people, right?
That’s not kosher at all and he erects a place of worship for the god Zeus. So Antiochus Epiphanes he establishes all this and then he sets up a rule for the Jewish people that they need to bow down to these gods. In fact, if they engage in their Jewish worship, they continue in their system of wars that they had previous to this, Antiochus will kill them. And some of the Jews tried to revolt and he did. 80,000 Jewish people. He slaughtered, he put another 80,000 into slavery. He wrote laws that said, “If you try to circumcise your children, you’ll be killed. And if a mother attempted it, he would crucify the mother and hang the baby on the neck of the mother as she died on the cross.” This man was ruthless. In fact, you can read about… There’s a span of history between the Old and New Testament called the intertestimonial period where no books in the Bible were being written a span of about 400 years from where the Old Testament ends to the New Testament begins.
The Jews still wrote during this period, but we don’t include them in the Bible. They wrote first and second Maccabees, especially about this time period. If today you do nothing else but if you want to learn about this time period, if you pick up 2 Maccabees and just read chapter seven. I thought about throwing up some verses from it but it’s honestly so awful, I was worried about the ages of people in our room that might read it. It’s horrific, but it records what happens during this time. Well, it was also during this time a man named Judas Maccabeus and his brothers led a revolt and they were successful in bringing liberation to the Jewish people.
And in their liberation they celebrate by lighting the lights in the temple again, but they didn’t have the oil to burn the lights. And for eight days, the candles remained lit as they reproduce the oil again to burn the lights within the temple. And in honor of those eight days that the candle burned and the liberation of the Jewish people, they established this holiday, Hanukkah. And so two days, they continue for eight days to burn candles to remind them of how God liberated his people and didn’t let the candle go out in the temple.
Jesus is in Jerusalem during this festivity and again, he answers the question of his identity and he’s in this place where he’s out of the elements so the crowds can gather. So he’s not doing this in a dark room, but he wants people to understand who he is. And verse 25 goes on from there. It says, “Jesus answered them. ‘I told you, and you did not believe.’ The works that I do in my father’s name, they testify of me. But you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice and I know them and they follow me.'”
Jesus is saying, “Look, I’ve already answered your questions. In fact, not only have I answered them verbally, I’ve also demonstrated it in the things that I’ve done. So everything that I’ve said, I’ve backed up. I’ve proven, I’ve shown you.” Right. But he’s also saying, “Here’s the reason why you don’t understand is because you don’t want to understand.” You ever have the conversation or maybe this has been you where someone’s trying to explain something to you or you’re trying to explain something to someone, but you can tell their mind isn’t grasping it because they’re expecting a completely different answer than what you’re saying? And when you get to the end of what they’re saying, they’re like, “Oh, hold on, wait a minute. Can you just repeat that again? Because my mind thought you going to say something else. You said something different and I didn’t grab it at all.”
It’s like where the Jewish people are here in this moment. They have this expectation of the Messiah. Jesus isn’t fitting into that mold and so they aren’t embracing what Jesus is saying even though Jesus has clearly said who he is and he’s demonstrated that to them. So you can understand in this moment, maybe if Jesus were to express any sort of frustration, why it would be there, but Jesus is still patiently teaching the people to the point that he’s still out in public and he’s still answering this question. And when we get to this section of scripture, verse 28, Jesus, he’s going to answer exactly who he is once again for the people. So verse 28 to verse 30. This is a very theological statement that Jesus is about to give us. Okay.
So I got to say, if you’re going to answer the question, “Who is Jesus?” this is an important passage of scripture to just let your mind tune into for a minute and not just believe what I say or just listen to what I say, but understand this passage yourself, because this is a declaration in your own life that you should be making about Jesus.
So Jesus answers a question and he says it in verse 28, “What he gives,” in the second half of verse 28, “What he promises,” and then in verse 30, “Who he is,” okay. What he gives, what he promises and who he is, verse 28 he says this, “And I give them eternal life.” Remember he says, “You’re not my sheep,” verse 27, “But I have sheep. They follow me and this is what I give. I give them eternal life.”
When you think about this phrase, eternal life, it’s important to know eternal life isn’t just about a quantity. Eternal life is about a quality. You believe in Jesus. Jesus gives you this promise. The promise is eternal life in him. This is life forever in Jesus and it’s not just the duration, but it’s also a quality that God gives you new identity, new meaning, new life. He makes all things new in you. New position in him because you have been adopted. We talked about the importance of adoption last week, but you belong to the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Royal priesthood. That’s what God calls you to do. You’re both priest and you’re both a possession of kingship because you belong to him. Then you’re in the Royal family. You can connect to God anytime. You can relate to God now. God gives you this quantity of life and this quality of life. Very important.
But I know in talking about this, I’ve had this conversation with people enough as a pastor where we’ll say, “Okay, you put your faith in Jesus. You put your trust in Jesus. Jesus came to give his life for you. Jesus paid it all for you that you could know him and enjoy him for all of eternity. God made you for relationship. God desires to know you to the point that God came to this earth. God gave his life for you and he calls you to put your faith in what he has done for you on the cross. If you put your trust in Jesus, not religion, not yourself, but in Jesus, Jesus promises you eternal life.” But even then sometimes we worry, right?
Jesus says that, but we worry. How do I know? How do I know I’m not going to lose it? How do I know I’m not going to say the one thing that ticks him off and he never comes back? I’m good at that sometimes in relationships. How do I know that I’m not going to ruin this relationship, right? We sometimes ask that question. Well, Jesus goes on further and he explains it and he says this, “And they will never perish. And no one will snatch them out of my hands.” I mean, just think about those two phrases. “Will never” and “No one.” And when the Bible talks about words that are absolute or when the Bible uses words that are absolute, those are words worth clinging to.
What Jesus is saying is, “Look, you did nothing to earn your salvation. Jesus paid it all. And you do nothing to keep your salvation. Jesus paid it all. No one, no one will snatch them out of my hands. My father who has given them to me is greater than all and no one is able to snatch them out of the father’s hand. I and the father are one.” Here’s what Jesus is saying. Your eternity is secure. Not based on who you are, but based on who he is. Did nothing to earn your salvation. You do nothing to keep your salvation. It’s because of who Jesus is. Now there’s sometimes on the back end of that people get concerned. “Well, what’s going to make a Christian to not walk out of here and just live like hell of Jesus pays for it all?
The answer to that, the reason we choose to respond the way that we do because we’re God’s people, it’s because of the incredible grace that he has demonstrated to us, that you could know God, a God would become flesh for you, that God would give his life for you so that you could experience both the quality and quantity of what eternal life is. There is no one who has ever loved you like Jesus has loved her. There is no one who has ever pursued you like Jesus has pursued you. This is the very reason for which you were made. Forgot. Why not live for that purpose? If Jesus went through such an extent for you, why not live for him? Our motivation for what we do as Christians, isn’t fear that we might lose it, but love because we have it. This moment we do what we do for the sake of Christ, because Christ has given everything for us.
That’s beauty in relationship to think that in any relationship that you have in this world, the motivation behind it is not fear, but love. That’s where healthy relationship thrives. And that’s why Jesus has paid it all for you. That’s what God desires for you more than anything this morning is not to know him out of fear, but to know him because of who he is in his love and that you would love in response willingly. That’s what this faith is about. Putting your trust in him willingly. And then Jesus, in verse 30 gives this the reason all of this is possible. How do we know God you can give eternal… Or how do we know Jesus, that you can give you eternal life and how do we know that you’re not going to allow us to be snatched out of your hand?How’s this even possible? He says it in John 3. “I and the father are one.” It’s based on who He is. “I and the father are one.” It’s based on His identity.
So let me just say it like this because when you talk about what Jesus is saying here in just a minute, but when you think about what His identity is, the reason you can have what He promises is because of who He is. So when you think about the precarious nature of our faith, like, how do I know when I screw up that Jesus isn’t going to forsake me? Great verse to learn, John 19:30. John 19:30, Jesus says, “It is finished.” While He’s hanging on the cross. “It is finished.” And then He defines for us what is finished means. He says, “Paid In full.” And when he talks about paid in full, he’s talking about your life, right? Whatever it would cost to cover your sins, Jesus has paid it in full. That’s why you can’t be snatched.
Hebrews 10:10-14, I think I have in our slides as well, but Hebrews 10:10-14, look at this passage. This is another important passage to know, “By this will, we have been sanctified through the offer of the body of Jesus Christ once for all times.” So, they’re saying when Jesus made this sacrifice for you, it was sufficient forever. Once for all time, 11, “Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time, the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all, all times sat down at the right hand of God, the father.” Verse 14, “For by one offering, He has perfected for all times, those who are sanctified.” So Jesus knows you’re going to sin, right? It says in 1 John 1:8 “If we say we have not sinned, we’ve deceived ourselves. But if we confess our sins, [inaudible 00:21:17] faithful and just to forgive us.” God knows you’re going to sin. But even in knowing that you’re going to send Jesus 2000 years ago, went to the cross to pay for all of your past, present, future sins.
One offering for all time, your sin covered. That’s why you can’t be lost. That’s why no one can snatch you out of his hand. All of it. Every sin in your life, past, present, and future paid for in Jesus. One sacrifice sufficient. And it’s because of his identity in John 10:30, he said it right. “I and the father are one.” What’s Jesus claiming here? “I and the father are one.” I want to tell us, when you read this verse, I’ve heard two interpretations of this verse. One is right, and one is wrong.
And there’s really no way to make that difference. It’s a bit pretentious. Isn’t it? Maybe a slight bit arrogant to say, you’ve heard two interpretations and one is right, and one is wrong. And I will tell you, we just work through this verse just a minute, we’ll get to the end of it, and you’ll be like, “Oh yeah, he’s right. One is right. One is wrong,” because the Jewish people interpret this for us in just a moment and you’ll see it.
But Jesus, in this statement says, “I and the father are one.” What did Jesus mean by this statement? Some say right interpretation, I’ll say, Jesus means that he is God, “I and the father are one.”
Wrong interpretation. “I and the father are one in purpose.” Now let me just explain why and as we look through this text, okay. So why don’t I say, what Jesus is claiming here is deity and not just simply one in purpose. It’s important because we’re dealing in this passage with his identity. And Jesus wants to clearly articulate this to the people, right? They ask the question, “Who are you.” And one more time publicly, Jesus has given this declaration, “I and the father are one.” Everything that Jesus promises you is possible because of who he is. If he isn’t who he says he is, then the things that he says that we should believe in, you should not believe, right? Because he’s just nothing more than maybe a powerful man but the type of promises Jesus gives, he could only deliver if He is God.
And so His identity matters to us. I and the father are one. What is Jesus saying here? Well, Jesus is causing the Jewish mind to immediately think of Old Testament declaration about the identity of God. In fact, I would say here, probably the most prominent thing that we could consider as Jesus is giving this statement is Deuteronomy 6:4. Deuteronomy 6:4 is the Shama of Israel. Faithful Jews will quote Deuteronomy 6:4 every morning when they wake up, every night when they go to bed. Judaism is monotheistic. Meaning they only believe in one God, right? It’s in the 10 Commandments. There is one God, right? It’s written throughout scripture. The Bible gives that declaration. There is only one God, Isaiah 43:10, Isaiah 44:6-8, James 2:19, Deuteronomy 4:35, Deuteronomy 6:4-5. And it goes on and on. The Bible over and over says, “There is only one God,” that is it. And if you read Deuteronomy 6:4, it says this, “Hero, Israel, the Lord is one and you shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The Lord, your God is one.”
Meaning there is only one god, Elohim is one. That’s what it says. Jesus in noting the Shama of Israel takes his name with the father and gives the same statement, “I and the father are one.” Because Israel sees this as a declaration to the identity of God, Jesus, by giving the statement is giving himself a declaration in the identity as being God. Jesus is saying, “I am 100% God. I and the father are one.
I know this is Trinitarian teaching, Trinitarian teaching for… We look at that sometimes like our eyes go cross and we perplex in our brain, our brains in knots to try to just figure out what Jesus is saying in the statement like, what is Trinitarian teaching? Trinitarian, when you think about the theology of Christianity is the most difficult theology in all of Christianity, I think and it’s because it’s the theology that dives deeper into the nature of God than anything else. I and the father are one. And Jesus is giving that declaration towards Trinitarian teaching that Jesus has gotten… The father has gotten… Trinitarian teaching is simplistic in its statement, and its comprehension fully is very difficult because there’s nothing that can fully relate to the identity of God. Nothing in this world can fully compare it to the identity of God. We look at it today and we think, “Okay, there’s Jesus, there’s the father, there’s the spirit. One plus one plus one equals three, right? So simple.
So Christianity worship three Gods and we say, “No.” Bible plainly declares there’s only one God. There is only one God. All three persons call themselves God and they’re equal to each other and distinct from one another. That’s Trinitarian teaching. There’s one God, all three persons call themselves God and they’re equal and distinct. That’s what we say. That’s Trinitarian teaching in it’s understanding. The best way to think about it is like this, rather than one plus one plus one, it’s one times one times one, meaning Jesus is 100% God. The father, his nature’s 100% God. And so is the spirit. That’s why in Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus tells his disciples, “Go to all the world and make disciples and baptize in the name of the father and the son and the holy spirit,” because they carry equality in worship. Right? They’re distinct, but they’re equal. And so when we’re baptized and we’re honoring or worshiping in the name of the father, son, holy spirit, one times, one times one.
Now the best way maybe if I gave the illustration, is that like this. Picture in your mind a taco, we all like tacos, right? I hope. Unless you don’t eat meats, I guess, picture a vegetarian taco. I don’t know how to help you all there, but picture a taco. Right? And you had the privilege this morning of making the taco however you want. And I don’t know. Maybe you’re like me, but I like sour cream on my taco, but I have a particular way with my sour cream. I can’t just have a glob of sour cream in one section of my taco. It must go through all sections of my taco equally because when I take a bite, I don’t just want to just savor the one section with sour cream. I want to savor every section of sour cream. But suppose I take my taco and I cut it into sections and I eat my taco.
That’s a delicious taco. It’s 100% taco every bite, right? And I go onto the next section and it’s 100% taco in every bite until I get to the end. And I have experienced the joy of 100% taco in every bite. And this is what it is to understand the nature of God and father, son, and spirit. The father is 100% God. Jesus is 100% God. The spirit is 100% God. All of them, 100% God. Now I’ll tell you that that illustration breaks down in saying, when you cut a taco three ways, it doesn’t work that way with God. It’s not one third, God, one third, God, one third, God. It’s all 100% God. And Jesus is giving this declaration. That’s the right declaration. I and the father are one. How do I know that? Well, let me move on quickly here.
Jesus, His statement Is defined for us, right? How do I know that Jesus doesn’t just simple mean one in purpose? How do I know Jesus has given a declaration to God? Well, Deuteronomy 6:4 the Shama. He always go, “Lord. your God is one.” Jesus is saying, “I am one,” in this passage. Right? But how do I know it’s not one in purpose? Well, two problems with that interpretation. One is that Jesus doesn’t say one in purpose, right? He clearly says, “I and the father are one.” He doesn’t say, “I and the father are one in purpose.” If Jesus was saying, “I and the father are one in purpose,” here’s what would have happened. The Jews would have been like, “Wait, wait, wait, wait. You’re trying to accomplish the same thing that we’re trying to accomplish. Like you want to fulfill God’s plan in this world. The father’s plan in this world. We want to fulfill the father’s plan in this world. Hey, you know what we should do. Let’s all get together, hold hands and sing Lean On Me.”
Right? Or some little bit of kumbaya or something. That’s what the Jesus would’ve said. “Hey guys, guess what? We thought Jesus was against us. But Jesus is on the same team. We’re all one in purpose. Let’s gather together and just hug this out.” Right? That’s what they would’ve said about Jesus. But that’s not what they said because that’s not what Jesus meant. And they understood it. They understood it because when you read in verse 31 look what it goes on to say, the Jews interpret the statement for you and they interpret it correctly. It says, “The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.” Now, if Jesus just means one in purpose, why in the world would you pick up stones and stone me?” We’re on the same team guys.” Right? Jesus asked that question.
Verse 32, Jesus replied to them, “I showed you many good works from the father. For which of these are you stoning me?” Hey guys, if we’re all just one in purpose, why are you stoning me? Right? Like, I mean, Jesus asked the question, “Why are you picking up stones?” And then they gave the answer. Verse 33, Jews answered him, “We’re not stoning you for a good work, but for blasphemy because you, being a man, make yourself out to be God.” They understood exactly what Jesus was saying or monotheistic Jesus. I don’t know if you know that. We only believe in one God and you’re calling yourself that God. So there’s only one of two options here. It’s true or you’re committing blasphemy. And Jews understood if someone committed blasphemy to this degree, the immediate punishment was to stone. And so their desire in this moment was to kill Jesus.
They didn’t want to accept what Jesus was saying, but Jesus, in verse 34, he encourages them one final time before really he leaves this public spotlight. Jesus encourages them, verse 34, to consider what he said and what he did. It says and Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your law? I said you are Gods. If he called them Gods to whom the word of God came and the scripture cannot be nullified, are you saying of him whom the father is sanctified and sent to the world, you are blasphemy because I said, ‘I am the son of God.’ If I do not do the works of my father, do not believe me. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works that you may know and understand that the father is in me and I am the father.”
Let me explain this. Well, this is interesting what Jesus does here. Jesus is saying, “Look, you want to know how to believe me is one, listen to the words I’ve said, but don’t just listen to the words I’ve said. Look at what I’ve done. Here’s my identity. Look at what I’ve said and what I’ve done. And that’s, guys, that’s how you examine it. What I’ve said, what I’ve done. We’ve examined this together for 10 chapters now. What I’ve said, what I have done. But Jesus says something interesting here when he talks about what He says and what He’s done.
He calls them God. Did you see that? Has it not been written in your law? I said you heard God’s. [inaudible 00:33:05] That’s crazy because I just spent all this time talking about there’s only one God. And now all of a sudden he’s like and your God and that completely contradicts everything I just told you, does it not? Like how in the world do we just call in a monotheistic religion Jesus, God and now all of a sudden now Jesus is calling them Gods? How does this work?
So this is what I say. Jesus makes two very head-turning things, statements, right? I and the father are one. That’s a complex statement to work through together, but you can have the interpretation, verse 31 and 33. And now in verse 34, Jesus was now calling other people God. So how do you deal with this? Well, Jesus is actually quoting from a Psalm and what’s important to understand about this term, Gods is this is actually, this specific term Gods is the Hebrew word Elohim and the Hebrew word Elohim can refer to God. Israel, the Lord, your God is one. So it says, the Lord is Elohim is one. It could refer to the Lord that we know as God. It could refer to false Gods, Elohims, right? Or, it can even refer to rulers and judges. I mean, this was a generic name for anyone that had any position of authority in life and I think Jesus has giving this play on words here to mock the situation a little bit or poke at the situation a little bit, but also identifying the judgment of these people.
So He’s saying, “Look, you guys think you’re better than me, you God’s,” right. I think He’s kind of saying that here, but more importantly, He’s saying, “Look, you can judge for yourself. I want you to judge for yourself what I’m saying and look at what I’ve done as well as what I’ve said. You think you’re the judge? Well consider this.” And the reason I would say that Jesus is saying, or teaching that we can become Gods or Jesus and we’re all a bunch of Gods is because he’s quoting from Ps 82:6 and look at this. Ps 82:6, “When Jesus was saying this, he said, ‘I said, you are Gods and all of you are sons of the most high.'”
If you look at this entire Psalm and it’s context, Ps 82, Jesus is talking to rulers that are judging unjustly. He’s talking to authorities in this world that are judging unjustly. He’s not talking to people that are Gods. He’s not talking to Gods or anything like that. But he’s acknowledging, “Look, you are, judges or Gods and all of you are sons of the most high…” Meaning, you’re in a position to represent God of this world because you have authority. But rather than doing that the right way, look what it says in verse seven. “Nevertheless, you’ll die like men,” acknowledging these aren’t deities. These are people and they’re going to die like people. And the reason they’re going to die like people is because God’s going to put them under judgment for not living in their position correctly. They’re not using their authority to bless people. They’re using their authority to hurt people. And so God is going to judge them and they’re going to die like men to be reminded that that’s what they are.
“Who are you, thinking you’re high and mighty?” That’s the point of Psalm 82. “Don’t you understand that there is a God over all of this and this God will judge you here? You are sitting in a place of a judge and you’re not using this position to bless others, but to hurt others. Therefore, I’m going to judge you and you’re going to die like men, because that’s what you are.” And that’s what Jesus is quoting in John 10, because I think Jesus is saying the same thing. You’re judges? You see yourself in this position of authority. You have the scriptures. Well, you need to judge what I’m saying in both word and deed, because if you judge incorrectly, you’ll die in your sin. Who I am matters.” And that’s the declaration Jesus has giving to this people.
He’s proven it, both word and deed, water into wine in chapter two, healing a noble man’s son in chapter four, healing a lame man in chapter five. He’s walking on water. He’s feeding 5,000 in chapter six. He’s declared himself the light of the world, the living water in chapter seven and eight. And he’s healing a blind man that couldn’t see. And now he can see, and he’s going to the, next chapter, raise the dead.
The point is, both his word and his deed gave this declaration to his identity and we started in the beginning, just listing all the things that religions in this world say about Jesus. But out of all the religions in the world, how many of its founders claimed to be God? One. One. Of all of the major religions in this world, only one claim to be God, which means really only one thing about Jesus. Either he is the devil himself or he is who he claimed to be.
The choices we have with Christ. And it says in verse 39, “Therefore they were seeking again to arrest him. And he alluded their grasp. They didn’t believe. They didn’t embrace him because their time has passed. I think for us, the more important question is, do you believe what Jesus said? Who do you believe Jesus is? Who is Jesus? And Jesus escapes this moment and it’s an important lesson for us because it’s saying to us, “No one really takes Jesus’s life. Jesus decides when Jesus will lay down his life.” And when he went to the cross, Jesus, didn’t go to the cross kicking and screaming. He went with his arms wide open, embracing the nails for you and for me.
When you look at a story like this, it’s a little more heady theologically, in this final declaration that Jesus gives. A little more heady theologically. And so we could very easily drift off in this kind of teaching Jesus has provided. Sometimes we don’t like to think this way. We look at Jesus and we think, this is great, Nathaniel, but men are, right now… my workplace is falling apart. My marriage is struggling. My kids, my family, things are just not going well. I mean, right now, it’s fine that we want to talk about the theology of Jesus, but I need to know how God intervenes in something like that. Why does this matter towards that situation in my life that we’re facing? Right?
And I would say that this lesson matters tremendously. Because if Jesus isn’t who he says he is, then all of these stories that we’ve read are simply just great stories from a great guy. But if he is who he says he is, the promise for us then is that these stories continue to happen in the miracle of knowing Jesus. His authority matters tremendously in everything we’re reading about him in these pages, because the same God you’re reading about here, would be the same God who’s living and active today. The same miracle-working God that transforms the life of people in the first century is the same miracle-working God that transforms lives today. And so who he is matters because of who he is is true, than who he is still changes you and me, even in these moments. Understanding his identity is the miracle because that’s where life is found. You may not be able to solve ultimately, or just right now in this moment, you may not be able to solve the complexity of some relationship that you’re facing, but you can walk with the God who can. That’s why this matters.
And so in verse 40 to verse 42, “And he went away again beyond the Jordan, to the place where John was first baptized and he stayed there. Many came to him and were saying while John performed, [inaudible 00:41:55] everything John said about this man was true and many believed in him there. And guys, when I think about the importance of the ending of this chapter and many of us come from different places in different points to this passage and we may not have put our faith in Jesus, but to look at this passage and understand how important it is to put your faith in Jesus, that’s what Jesus wants you to know. Unless you believe that I forgive your sin. But if you see the significance of who he is, that he can only save you because he’s God.
But because he’s God this is beautiful because he pursued you and he gave his life for you and he said it is finished, eternal life, quality and quantity, yours and no one can ever snatch that because he is the great I am, He is the one, I and the father are one.
If you would put your faith in him and for us as a church, I wanted to read the end of the story. I think this is so important to see that if he is the same God today as he records himself in this passage of scripture, the very last verse as has many believe is his name. Many believed in his name. And I think for us at this valley, like we need to live with that same heart of understanding with conviction, the deepness of who Jesus is because this same God in this story is the same God who works today and lives can be transformed in our valley if we would just embrace with deep understanding, conviction, the identity of this God that can transform life. And we share that with passion, knowing the goodness of this God that has pursued people, he has pursued you. And he can come into this world and make a difference that you would know him and let him live through your life, if we could see him as that same life-giving, life-transforming God, I think many in this valley could believe in him.
Unless you didn’t [inaudible 00:43:54] this story. This past week, I hope this doesn’t surprise anybody that knew Pat and Larry Thomas, but Larry Thomas passed away Thursday night and Pat and Larry… Pat passed away about April of last year. And Larry passed away this year, but probably no one has made more of a difference to see Alpine Bible Church exist than Pat and Larry Thomas. I met Pat and Larry 18 years ago, finishing up my degree in theology. I had no intention of ever living in Utah. I didn’t even really know anything about Utah. I came out to Utah just to see the Rocky Mountains. And when I came out to see the Rockies, I met Pat and Larry Thomas and Pat and Larry said to me, “We have been praying.” Larry came to the Lord about in his late fifties, early sixties. And Larry and Pat said to me, “We have been praying for someone to come to Lehi and start a church.” And they said to me, “If you come back here and you start a church, we will be the first people here to see that it happens.
And a few years later came back and we started Alpine Bible Church. First people in the church, Pat and Larry Thomas. Jesus, radically transformed Larry’s life. Larry would even tell you, when we bought this building. There was a little bit of trepidation for him coming here, because Larry used to visit this building before it was a church. If you know anything about this building, the six to eight year old room was where the beer cooler was kept. And the backroom where the nursery is, is where the pool section was. And before that it was where people could get their haircut while they came to the bar. You guys on this side are sitting near the bar and Larry would come here and he would grab a beer and go get his hair cut. Right? And God changed his life. And Thursday, I thought I had a little bit more time with Larry, but I happened to stop in for a visit. And I just said to Larry, “Larry, you’re not doing good physically, but how are you spiritually?”
And he’d just lost his wife and he’s struggling. But he says to me, “But I will never say anything bad about my God.” Larry in his time of need has found his whole trusting in the goodness of this Jesus. And with anticipation in these moments, he’s still, he had a hope in his suffering and guys that is so vital for your life.
You may look at a passage like this today and think, I mean, “This is good, but I don’t really need it.” But rest assured in your life, you’re going to get to a place where you’re going to have wished you’ve come to John 10 and you really took time to get to know this Jesus, because this Jesus has come for you and this Jesus can transform you and the reason he does it is because he’s God and he loves you.