Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Christ's Miracles Point to His Divinity (Jn. 10:31-39)

This is a personal summary of the preaching of Rev Dr Stephen Tong on 28 August 2011 in True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 10:31-39

The Son of God came into the world. What He said and did brought unavoidable tension. The Jews felt that Jesus has insulted their God so they picked up the stones to stone Him. Religious zeal is often used as an excuse to persecute the children of God. The Jews in their religious zeal persecuted many Christians.

When they picked up the stones to stone Jesus, Jesus said, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” (Jn. 10:32) Jesus had done many miracles which are clear signs of His divinity. He made the blind see, the mute speak, the sick healed, the dead raised to life, the demon-possessed set free. All these brought great wonder and amazement. Eversince God created the world, they had not seen a man born blind healed. They had not seen the dead raised to life. Elijah did it once, Elisha did it once, but Jesus did it 3 times. This happened in their era, before their very eyes, how then should they react to Him? He stilled the wind and storm. And the disciples responded by kneeling down before Him and worshiping Him. This is the right attitude.

Here Jesus Christ reminded the Jews of all He had performed. They should have repented in tears and asked for forgiveness for all their wrong responses. But instead they were repugnant and used their mind to think of all possible wrongs against Christ. When they see good things, they only think about the bad possibilities. But these Jews already absolutised their thinking process so they have no heart to respond to whatever Jesus said.

“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” (Jn. 10:33)

This is a dichotomy response from the Jews. They viewed Christ’s deeds totally apart from His words. They did not see the need to consider His deeds and words together. However, we usually call a person a hypocrite if his words and deeds are not integrated. There are many people who can talk without doing. But when one’s deeds are consistent with what one’s preaching, the person is genuine. In Christ, we see such genuinity. Both His words and deeds point to His divinity. However, no religious leaders except Nicodemus properly acknowledged Jesus.

The Jews’ way of segregating Christ’s deeds from His words is incorrect. This is also where the liberals failed. They only want to accept Jesus’ morality, not His divinity. Like the Jews they accepted Jesus’ good works but not His divine claim. The liberals took Jesus as the best and highest example of humanity, but not God Him. They have abandoned the possibility of God become flesh. Yet if Jesus was not God He could not have done those miracles. Since He did those miracles, He must be God. When you truly obey God, if you are truly God’s sheep, you will be able to accept this.

“Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside—36 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’?” (Jn. 10:34-36)

Jesus responded to the Jews’ protest that in the Scripture, the people who received and obeyed the word, not the Word Himself, who are made in God’s image, but not God Himself, are called ‘gods’, how then can Christ, the very Word sent by God, not be called God’s Son? This is the Word proclaimed in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God.” This is the Word through whom all things were made. The Word who is distinct and separate from the created world. This Word became flesh and dwelt among men. How then can He not be called the Son of God? How then could they accuse Christ of blasphemy?

His miracles are divine indeed. His miracles demonstrates He is divine, He is God. His deeds show who He is. Yet the Jews accepted the miracles, but refused to acknowledge that the One who does the miracles is God. They reject the divinity of Christ. How foolish and stubborn. They cannot see their own ignorance. All that He has done clearly show He is who He claims to be. They think nothing is wrong with His miracles, but everything is wrong with what He says.

Jesus said, “Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 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 in the Father.” (Jn. 10:37-38)

This is the best answer which cannot be improved. Christ did the works which only God can do. But the Jews still could not understand. They still wanted to stone Him. This is because they are not His sheep.

Many people listen to sermons over and over again without truly listening and receiving. The Scripture says faith comes from hearing the Word of God. If you do not listen, how can you believe? If we are not listening, we cannot understand. May we truly hear His Word and follow Him as His sheep.


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