Friday

15 April 2011

"I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?" (v. 32)

Background

This passage opens with the dramatic image of people picking up stones to throw at Jesus. It is the habit of Jesus to calmly walk away from any threat of violence. But in this instance he remains and tries to explain his case.

Whatever his critics have been saying, in his own defence Jesus points to the evidence of his good works (verse 32).

The case against him is not directed at his ministry but at his "blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God". (verse 33)

Jesus replies it is not blasphemy to say "I am God's Son" (verse 36), and goes on to say "the Father is in me and I am in the Father" (verse 38). Jesus also quotes scripture, saying that "scripture cannot be annulled" (verse 35) even though people may choose to ignore it. How can you accept words from Scripture that acknowledge "you are gods", but find it difficult when I say "I am God's Son" reasons Jesus (verses 34-35).

Once again Jesus' critics then try to arrest him and this time "he escaped from their hands". (verse 39)

He goes to a wilderness place across the River Jordan where John the Baptist had conducted his work. Out there in the wilderness many come to believe in him.

Jesus consistently avoids violent confrontation. Public criticism can be humiliating, yet Jesus does not retaliate against his critics.

Wherever Jesus preached he drew crowds and attention, but he does not court publicity, and also refuses public arrest.

To Ponder

In your experience, what aspect of Christian witness draws the greatest objection from critics?

How do you deal with objection to your Christian witness?

Jesus was criticised for blasphemy. Do we need blasphemy laws today, either nationally or internationally? Why?

Bible notes author: The Revd Inderjit Bhogal

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