Thursday, April 19, 2012

John 10:34-42

Each morning, if I have time, after I finish writing this study in the morning and send it out there into Internet space, I actually read it for the first time. And sometimes I’m amazed that God has written it just for me that day. Yesterday, when I was reading back to myself I was struck by the idea of the Shepherd going before me and mercy and goodness following after me all the days of my life. That was exactly what I needed yesterday as I headed to work. I was scheduled to meet with a parent who has been trying to get me to change her daughter’s report card. She’s written several LONG emails to me and to the district and has met with someone at the district office in an attempt to change the report cards of all three of her children. Anyway, although I was not at all worried about meeting with her, I was also not looking forward to explaining to her yet again (after more than 2 hours of meeting already), why I would not be changing the report card.

So reading this reminded me that God has me covered! And, in fact, I had been praying that somehow God would use me to show her love through this. Well, when I got to school I received an email from the district that the meeting had been cancelled. The woman has just decided to put letters of complaint in her children’s cum folders! Not the way I expected it to end, but so grateful that God took care of it! :) By the way, let me make a correction to yesterday’s lesson. I mentioned the name of the pastor who spoke on Psalm 23 as John Farrar. His name is Steve! I had it written correctly twice in the margin of my Bible so I’m not sure why I got it wrong (must have been thinking on my father...).

Today’s passage, at the end of chapter 10, is Jesus’ response to the Jews’ charge against Him of blasphemy, for claiming to be God. Jesus’ answer is confusing if you don’t understand the context of His reference:

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’? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp. (John 10:34-39)

The reference to “gods” comes from Psalm 82. Read in context you understand that God is referring to judges and earthly rulers as “gods” in the sense that they are responsible for making judgments on earth. God is charging them with partiality toward the wicked and warning them that they need to defend the cause of the weak and needy, for even they, the judges, are “mere men” who will die and “fall like every other ruler.” Worldly rulers often act as if they have the power of God, but Jesus actually DID have that power and had displayed it over and over.

Jesus’ argument is that the Jews had no problem ascribing lordship to other rulers, but when the Son of God came, performing miracles that affirmed His identity, they called His claim blasphemy. They again tried to seize Him but He slipped away. This scene happened a little over three months before Jesus was actually crucified. He was coming to the end of His earthly ministry and He knew what lay ahead. So after this final rejection by His own people, Jesus retreated to the place where His ministry began, the Jordan River, where John had baptized Him. Do you think there’s a message for us in that???

Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. Here he stayed and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a miraculous sign, all that John said about this man was true.” And in that place many believed in Jesus. (vs. 40-42)

There will be one more huge miracle recorded by John, but for the most part, we’ll see that Jesus spent the rest of this time preparing His disciples (and Himself through prayer) for the crucifixion. I love that verse 41 points out that John the Baptist never performed a miracle (unlike Elijah, for instance), and yet Jesus calls him the greatest prophet who ever lived, because he spoke the truth about Jesus; he pointed everyone to the Messiah. Isn’t that our job, too? We don’t need to accomplish the performance of miracles, although certainly God does continue to use some of His servants to perform miracles even today. Our job is to proclaim Christ to a needy world!


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