By Tyson Thorne

August 8, 2019

John 33 Large

The rest of chapter ten takes place during the Feast of Dedication, more commonly known today as Hanukkah. This feast celebrated the military victory of the Maccabeen Revolt and the purification and re-dedication of the second Temple. All this took place a couple hundred years before the time of Jesus. John specifies that it is winter time, which is appropriate since Hanukkah usually takes place in December (and occasionally in late November). Jesus is walking through Solomon's Portico, a porch with a roof on the east side of the Temple, which also links to the holiday as told in 2nd Maccabees.

The portico opens to the Court of Gentiles on one side and has a door leading into the temple on the other and was about 30 by 15 feet with the roof about 27 feet above. It had a view of the Golan Heights and was a beautiful place to meet. This is the location Peter and the others after Pentecost would preach to the gospel to the people. It is in this place that the Pharisees would surround our Lord to question him: “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly" (verse 24).

Jesus demonstrates that he is tired of their questions, which is clear from his opening phrase, "I told you...". Jesus makes four claims in his answer. First, he has told them plainly, and they didn't believe him. He proved himself to be the Messiah through miracles and good deeds, which they discount. Since he is the Messiah, and they do not believe in him, they are not a part of his flock — and being a part of his flock has advantages such as being in God's grace and eternal security. His final and fourth point is that he and the Father are one — not just in purpose and desire but in essence.

Since the Jewish leaders do not believe Jesus, they see his statement as blasphemous and pick up stones to kill him. In stark contrast to their anger, Jesus calmly interjects with a question of his own asking, “I have shown you many good deeds from the Father. For which one of them are you going to stone me?” His peace de-escalates the situation a bit, prompting them to explain that they are going to kill him because he claimed to be God. For this rational, Jesus has a surprising argument.

In Psalm 82.6 judges of the Israel are called gods (note the small "g") because they participate in God's responsibility of judging people. Jesus argues that if humans can be referred to as gods (small "g") then how much more should he — who performs all the acts of God — be called God (capital "G"). The argument is completely logical and shows a great deal of respect and patience with the religious leaders. If it were me, I'd have turned them all into charcoal briquettes and asked, "Now who's bad?" The lesson here is that we should all be glad I'm not Jesus.

Jesus concludes by saying, "If you don't believe me, believe my deeds which are obviously performed with God's power." Frustrated, they try to seize Jesus. He escapes, however, and travels across the Jordan to the place John used to baptize people. He stayed there awhile and performed many miracles before the locals who, in contrast with the religious leaders who should have, believed in Jesus.

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