Of gods and God

Scripture

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came–and the Scripture cannot be broken – what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?
John 10:34-36

Observation

Context

  • The tension is high in this final passage where Jesus speaks to the Jewish religious leaders to persuade them to believe in Him after He is cornered at in the Temple courts and challenged by them
  • Jesus has just questioned the Jewish religious leaders about the charge that they are stoning Him for
  • Even in questioning them, He gracefully tried to help them see the errors in their reasoning
  • Here Jesus answers to the charge of blasphemy and pleads His case

Passage

  • “Is it not written in your Law” the verse that follows is from Psalm 82:6 (v34)
    • The Psalm is technically not a book of Law and does not feature in the Torah, however there have been times where law was used to mean OT books (John 12:34 and 15:25 are similar cases)
  • “‘I have said you are gods’”, Psalm 82 is about God exalting judges not to “judge unjustly” (Psalm 82:2) and “give justice to the weak and the Fatherless” (Psalm 82:3) (v34)
    • gods here  (and Psalm 82:1) are used to describe the Jewish leaders who judge according to the OT Law
    • Psalm 82 reminds the judges that God is the ultimate Judge and as judges, they too are men and will one day die and face judgement before God, therefore judge justly
  • “If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came”, the word of God (here refers to the OT Law) is administered by the Jewish authorities, so it is said that it came to them (v35)
    • Jesus is saying, “if you judges who are mere men are called gods”
  • “and the Scripture cannot be broken”, what is written in the Scriptures cannot be “broken” meaning changed or altered, therefore what is said in Psalm 82:6 about judging justly cannot be changed or altered (v35)
    • Jesus says here, “and what is written stays true”
  • “what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?”, a comparison is made between the judges and God’s son (v36)
    • Here Jesus makes a point that God’s son is more special than any judge who is a mere man, He is “set apart” by the Father, and is His “very own” and is “sent into the world”
    • This is the logic: If a small fry like a man can be called God, surely God’s son can also be called God
  • “Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?”, that exactly is Jesus’ claim – to be God’s son (v36)
    • We start to see the development of His case when we put it together – “If you judges who are mere men are called gods and what is written stays true, then I can claim myself to be God’s son and be called God as well!”
    • He is argument is that if the judges who were men can be called God, then His claim to be God (as God’s son) isn’t blasphemy, if not, the judges themselves would be blaspheming as well (or the word of God would be).

Very quickly we see how the Jewish religious leaders have double standards. They would allow themselves to be called gods and not be blaspheming, but once anyone calls themselves god, they scream out “blasphemy”! But they are both mere men, yet the Jewish leaders elevate themselves over others with the Law rather than use the Law to provide justice and protection.

Application

Do I have double standards? Do I look at people one way and myself another, just because I think know God (more)?

Prayer

Father, help me to see through your eyes and feel through your heart. I want to see the injustice that happens around me and bring justice to them. Let me first see the plank in my own eye before pointing out the splint in other’s eyes. Let me first apply your Word to my life and not use it on others. At the same time, give me wisdom and courage to speak the truth in love to myself and to others. Father, where I lack, would you transform me.

Amen.

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