30 July 2020John 10:22-42
'... you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.' (v. 33)
Psalm: Psalm 91
Our selected text is what this Gospel is all about, it is not like the others. Jesus’ accusers, in verse 33, as is often the way with arguments, have it the wrong way round; he never starts by telling them that he is a human being. John’s Gospel starts with God and there is never any doubt, no build up, the first confession of Jesus’ divine status appears in chapter 1. His accusers have not fully engaged with this story, they follow the same pattern as in the Synoptics, even if Jesus doesn’t.
They were irritated with him for not giving them a straight answer (which reminds me of Twitter), but they don’t like what passes for a straight answer; they respond, reportedly, with murderous anger. Their accusation is one of blasphemy, it carries a lot of weight. We note that the challenges push him to say things that he has not said before, to give more extreme expression of his divine status, be careful what you argue against! Jesus doesn’t believe in blasphemy, it’s a judgement made to maintain the status quo. In response he subverts scriptural texts to disrupt their accusation – “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’?” (v. 34). All this does is provide a rhetorical platform for him to say, or repeat, “I am God’s Son” (v. 36). Everything that he does or says provides the opportunity to make a choice, this Gospel is pointedly binary in this respect.
- What do you make of the different discussions of Jesus’ divine status in John and the Synoptics?
- How do you relate to the confrontational dialogue here?