John 10: 31-42 Jesus Claims to be God

31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming’, because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 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 am in the Father.” 39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.

Jesus Claims to be God

When I was in college, the gospel of John came under vehement attack.  The synoptic problem was addressed and that was about all the time that we had for the first three gospels.  However, when it came to John my professor took a delight in saying almost nothing positive about it.  She really enjoyed refuting all of its truth claims, especially the claim that Jesus was God.  According to some scholars, John was composed to help construct a deity of Christ which Jesus never claimed to have.  The Trinitarian doctrines of the church, they say, came much later.

I would say that the people in Jesus’ time were baffled by what he was saying and that we see some evidence that Jesus was killed by those who understood quite well what he was saying.  We see instances where Jesus is worshiped and we see instances where people accuse him of claiming equality with God.  In this passage, Jesus’ claims come to a head.  His persistent use of the ‘I Am’ statements lead people to conclude he is claiming to be God himself.  People see the signs pointing to something extraordinary, but the learned Pharisees, in general, find it impossible to match their belief in one God with the evidence that Jesus himself is God.

Jesus is about to reveal his final sign pointing to his identity in chapter 11.  He is setting the stage for believing in him. Who exactly is it that people are expected to believe in?  The complete identity of Jesus is shrouded in mystery.  However, people are called to believe in him as a disciple.  They do not have to believe all truths about him.  They have to follow the man who heals sickness, speaks authoritatively and will soon raise the dead.

While so many people try and discredit the gospel testimonies about Jesus because they do not want to follow anyone, let alone an ancient Jew, what will your response be?

Prayer

Jesus, in light of the infinite things that are true about you, I know precious little of who you are.  I commit to knowing you better.  I will believe in you.  My faith will not be based solely in what I believe about you.  I will trust you to lead me through the darkness to a future of love and light.  Lead on Jesus.

Questions

  1. What has Jesus been talking about in chapter 10?
  2. Why does this lead to an accusation of blasphemy?
  3. In your opinion, do the onlookers believe in Jesus as God?
  4. How would you evaluate your knowledge of Jesus?
  5. Do you believe in Jesus as a disciple who is willing to follow him through the darkness?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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19 Responses to John 10: 31-42 Jesus Claims to be God

  1. Ashley says:

    1. Jesus has been talking about his identity.
    2. People view Jesus’ words as blasphemy because he is claim to be God!
    3. I think they do believe him to some extent. They do not want to admit their belief, because they are disappointed at the way in which God has come. I think that if they wouldn’t have believed him at all, they wouldn’t have gotten so riled up and would have simply dismissed him as a crazy man.
    4. I often pray, “Lord I believe; help my unbelief.” I feel that there are glimpses of truly knowing Jesus…experiencing a deep intimacy with him where I feel that I know who he is and who I am. Then I get caught up in distractions and lose sight of him, wondering who and where he is.
    5. Yes, I do. I am trying to be thankful for this time of my life that requires so much trust of him. I do feel like I will be following him into darkness…The next steps of life are very unknown and I’ve never seen God lead me in these ways before. I am learning that this is what it is all about, though. I have not been asked to merely follow Jesus when the pastures are green and lush, but to follow him when I am blind, as the earth is crusted and dry, and as the night is black.

  2. Lacy says:

    1. Jesus has been talking about his relationship with God.
    2. This leads to an accusation of blasphemy because Jesus has been openly claiming that, not only is he the Son of God, but he and God the Father are one, making him God himself.
    3. At this point, I am sure the majority of the onlookers do not believe in the deity of Christ.
    4. I think that I probably know very little about Jesus compared to all there is to know, however
    5. He has shown me enough of himself that I can trust him to follow him in the places where I don’t know everything.

  3. Dylan says:

    1. Jesus has been talking about his relationship with the father, leading up to this passage where he states that he is the Son of God.
    2. The Jewish leaders accuse him of blasphemy because they refuse to accept his claims are true. They say they believe he is a demon possesed man who should be punished. However, I think they knew who he was but were rejecting him in their hearts.
    3. I believe most did and the ones who hadn’t probably rejected him because of love of their own sin, not a lack of evidence.
    4. In some ways, I know very little about Jesus. I don’t have a record of all his miracles and dialogue, and I certainly can’t comprehend the infinite love within the trinity. However, I do know that he took the sin of the world upon himself and chose to die in my place so that I could be with him in eternity forever. For now, this is more than enough to know about Jesus Christ.
    5. I do! Yet, sometimes I feel I am dragging Jesus into my own darkness, which will not allow me to grow and breaks his heart.

  4. Kathleen says:

    Jesus has been addressing his relationship to the Father. The people accuse him of blasphemy because he is claiming to be God. I know my knowledge of Jesus is very limited. We can strive to know him more and more for our entire lives, but we will always fall short of knowing him completely. Yes I do. It is often in the times of darkness that I seem to grow the closest to God.

  5. Jenna says:

    1. Jesus has been talking about how He is the Shepherd and the Door, and how He will raise up those who are of His flock on the “Last Day.”
    2. Jesus had claimed to be the “I Am” – a term that the Jews knew was a claim to deity!
    3. They seem not to, since they are so quick to try to stone Him.
    4. I don’t know enough about Jesus, but I believe Him when He says that He is the “I Am.”
    5. Yes!

  6. Ed says:

    I gain so much knowledge from all of you and a big thanks. Jesus is my all and he knows I will fall repeatedly which helps to calm my waters while I get back on his path. More history of the past in the time of Jesus would help me get my arms around why people could not see Jesus for who he was. We are so fortunate to have the Spirit to help guide us with the Bible.

    God Bless

  7. Janice says:

    1. Jesus has been saying that He is the Son of God.
    2. The Pharisees deny that He is the Son of God.
    3. No
    4. I need to know Him more.
    5. Yes

  8. Beth Coale says:

    1. more “I am” claims about who He is
    2. because He is claiming to be God, that Him & the Father are one
    3. probably not, because they still saw Him as someone to look to for physical help; I think they probably still saw Him as too normal, too human, too ordinary (from an ordinary place and family) to be God
    4. 1st John is a good book to use to evaluate one’s faith
    5. yes. to some extent, that’s what I feel like I have done & am doing because I don’t understand everything but am getting a degree only for Christian school education and giving my life to God’s service in that way.
    This makes me think of something that Ravi Zacharius in his book “Has Christianity Failed You?” wrote: “In our effort to be relevant, we have forgotten that some things are going to be irrelevant and unexplainable to us… Sometimes we try to force God to fit our mold for Him, to fit our idea of how He should act, and when He doesn’t meet these expectations, we blame Him for not meeting our expectations… We wonder where God is. God is exactly where we have left Him – way behind, reshaped into our image… But you have to be big enough to surrender your own needs as it were and keep loving and ‘kicking against the goads.’ I believer when it is all over, you will discover that perseverance was what it was all about.”

  9. How would you evaluate your knowledge of Jesus?
    “My knowledge of Jesus is gained through His word, prayer, and daily walk. The less I am in the word and prayer, however, the less I see Him permeating every area of my life. The challenge is to keep that heavenly perspective and always be honed in on the Spiritual reality I live in light of.”

  10. Sara Cavitt says:

    1) Jesus had been talking about who He is.
    2) The people believed that Jesus was merely a man, so for Him to say that He was the Son of God was considered blasphemy to them.
    3) It seems as if they were skeptical that Jesus was God, because they constantly challenged His claims and tried to arrest Him. Maybe this was because deep down, they did believe Him but simply did not want to accept the Truth.
    4) The more I learn about Jesus, the more I realize how much more there is to learn. I know that I still have much to learn about who He is.
    5) Yes! It is definitely easier said than done, but my prayer and desire is to follow Him and to live my life for Him, no matter the cost.

  11. Rachel says:

    Jesus has been claiming to be one with God the Father. Many false prophets had made such claims, so the Pharisees were ready to call out this blasphemy. I think the onlookers were more interested to see what feats of healing Jesus could perform instead of seeking to believe that he is Messiah.

    In my apologetics class, I learned that faith can be classified as the highest form of knowledge. I have a bit of head knowledge about Jesus and some experiential knowledge, but I am seeking to move more toward faith instead of constructing my own knowledge of God. Only God can reveal himself.

  12. Mary says:

    Here goes another tangent…slightly related.

    One thing that sticks out to me in this passage is how Jesus is suffering persecution because of his relationship with the Father and for his proclamation of that relationship. As followers of Christ, we too will inevitably experience persecution because of our relationship with Him (Mt. 5:10-11; 2 Tim. 3:12). We are called to follow in the example he has set, entrusting ourselves to Him and continuing to do good in the face of unjust suffering. Peter paints a beautiful picture of why we do this:

    “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Pet. 2:19-25; cf. 3:17-18; 4:19)

    In Philippians, Paul says that his imprisonment is itself a defense and confirmation of the gospel, serving to advance it (Phil. 1: 7, 12) and his willingness to proclaim Christ boldly and without fear has given other believers confidence to do the same (Phil. 1:14). Likewise, our acts of obedience and proclamation of the gospel are an example to other believers. Paul reaffirms that proclaiming the gospel in the face of suffering is not what brings a person to faith, but rather it attests to what has already been revealed when he says, “This is a clear sign to [your opponents] of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God” (Phil. 1:28). However, Scripture is also clear that God can and does use us to advance His kingdom.

    One way that we can be made ready for use in kingdom building is spiritual formation. Conforming to Christ, actively pursuing righteousness and holiness, inevitably leads to growth of the church (building the kingdom, making disciples). Paul tells us we need to be mission minded in this way: we should aim to please our master as one unified body, sharing in suffering, studying the Word (know it and teach it with gentleness), and pursuing righteousness, faith, love, and peace (2 Tim. 2). As a result, we become vessels for honorable use by the Master, should He choose to bring our opponents to repentance, which leads to faith (2 Tim. 2:20-21, 24-26).

    Prayer – Father, you are in total control of the eternal destiny of each person you have created. I know that you love each and every one that you have made. Help me to continue to lean into the tension and to someday fully understand why you have chosen some and not all to come to know you. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part in your plan of building the kingdom. Help me to be faithful with the time, talents, and resources you have given me, and to be unified with the body of Christ in this mission, so I may be an honorable vessel available for your use. Amen.

  13. zacbodine says:

    1. His deity/trinitarian identity
    2.He keeps saying he is God by means of association
    3. I don’t know
    4. That is a tough one. I could always know more of Jesus. I have been in seasons of difference and indifference seasons leaning on or trying to lean away from. I evaluate at how much I lean into Jesus
    5. He leads me through my indifference and angry babbling to rest by peaceful waters and taste and see that he is not only who he says he is but also is super good.

  14. nataliaria says:

    Jesus’ focus in John 10 has been on His identity as the shepherd of God’s people, and upon His unity and identification with God. The Jewish leaders accused Jesus of blasphemy because they looked at His appearance, His life, and His earthly family and saw “man” and His claims to be one with God, or even God Himself, angered them.

    At the end of the chapter John tells us that many people who heard Him and saw Him did believe in Him, but it does not seem like many of those whose responses are recorded in this passage truly believe that Jesus is Christ.

    Knowledge of Christ versus knowing Christ and being in a relationship with Him are two different things, and are often placed in contrast to one another I believe that knowledge about Christ can be measured by information gained about Him, His works, and His character from the Bible and other reliable ancient sources. But I do not value that knowledge to be worth much until or if it is transformed into knowing Christ Himself.

    This is a hard question because it is one thing to say I believe and another to act on my statement and truly follow Him. But I am convinced that He is my God and my Savior, and I believe with conviction that He will never let me go, and that the Holy Spirit is working in my heart and life to make me more like Him, and enable me more and more to follow Him. And that gives me hope.

  15. Dominic Shortridge says:

    5. Do you believe in Jesus as a disciple who is willing to follow him through the darkness?
    I ask myself this same question everyday. The more I learn of who Jesus is, and mediate on him, the more and more I find that I am challenged to be a disciple who is called to follow him through the darkness. The biggest question that I face when I am challenge with this question is what darkness is he leading me through at this time. Sometimes the darkness is very apparent, and other times I find that it is more desecrate and must be objectively identified in order for me to obey Jesus commands and find obedience. Additionally, as I study Jesus I have to constantly try to connect his identity with the facts that I have learned about him and let those two be unified.

  16. karas says:

    The others were furious with Jesus because they did not think He was God. And yet He was, and was revealing Himself to them. I would certainly hope that when God is speaking to me, I will listen and not ignorantly ignore. I also find it interesting that Jesus uses reason or logic here even when those He is speaking to are not being very reasonable. In my apologetics class we discuss different apologetic methods and I find myself thinking we can present a case even if others minds are darkened. The case will not save them, but it may help cause them to think.

  17. Amy McCashen says:

    Jesus has been talking about being One with God the Father. This leads to blasphemous accusations because they believe that there is only one God and that he is not human like them. I do not think that they believe in Jesus because they are accusing me and looking to kill him. I evaluate my knowledge of Jesus through the Scriptures, prayer, and experiences. Yes, I believe!

  18. Sarah Deurbrouck says:

    1. What has Jesus been talking about in chapter 10?
    He has been talking about being one with the Father and being the good shepherd.
    2. Why does this lead to an accusation of blasphemy?
    Jesus is claiming to be one with God, to be of the same substance.
    3. In your opinion, do the onlookers believe in Jesus as God?
    No, not at all. They even say in this passage, “being a man”.
    4. How would you evaluate your knowledge of Jesus?
    Through this study, I have been realizing how much less I know about Jesus than thought. I hope to continue to grow in knowledge through this study and my own study.
    5. Do you believe in Jesus as a disciple who is willing to follow him through the darkness?
    Yes!

  19. Nick says:

    Jesus is talking about his deity in chapter 10. The Jews said that he was blaspheming because he made himself to be God. The onlookers seemingly did not believe that Jesus was God, as they went to such lengths so say that he was not God. I believe that there is so much more for me to learn about Jesus. These devotions have helped, as well as my reading of the gospels.

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