Some of you here are wondering whether all of this ta1k about Jesus is true. Others here believe these things to be true but aren’t sure how to convince other people that these things are true. Coming to faith or helping someone come to faith in Jesus requires investigation. Every day, people reject the Gospel without even thinlring about it. We may present the Gospel without giving people good reasons to think seriously about it. That’s not the way it should be.
Jesus calls men and women to carefully investigate whether His claims about Himself are true. Is Jesus truly God’s Son? Is Jesus God? Was Jesus sent by God the Father? How do you know? You need to verify His claims by investigating His works. Learn to judge what you see and hear.John was an Evangelist. He was skilled in presenting the Gospel to men and women. So in His Gospel account he teaches us how to improve at getting people to investigate Jesus’ claims for themselves. And if you are wondering if all this ta1k about Jesus is true, this passage is for you too.
John gives us three prompts designed to arouse further investigation into Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God. They are intended to make us want to know more, to be like the believers in Berea who were noble-minded. When they heard the apostles teach, they examined the Scriptures to make sure that what they heard about Jesus was true. John wants his readers to be just as noble-minded. So he presents these prompts to motivate us to investigate. What are they? The seriousness of Jesus’ claim, the quality of Jesus’ works and the impact of godly testimony. Let’s look at these together
I. We are prompted to investigate further by the seriousness of Jesus’ claim (31-36). [30-33}
The religious leaders understood exactly what Jesus was claiming. He was claiming to be God. Blasphemy involves speaking evil about God or when a mere human claims to be God. It was punished by stoning (Lev 24:16). What was wrong with their response? First, they were taking the Law into their own hands. In their anger they rushed to be judge, jury and executioner. But their sinful anger was aroused by rushing to Uudg. w. .n• .without considering whether Jesus’ claim is true. If Jesus really is God’s Son and really is one with the Father, then He wasn’t guilty of blasphemy.
Instead of ducking out of sight, Jesus replied boldly by questioning their lack of sound reasoning. He asked them for which of His good works were they stoning Him. What Jesus said about His works helps us to see that they were not intended to wow the crowds. He said that these were works “that
I showed you.”His works showed them something important about Himself.Jesus asked them literally,”for what kind [of works} are you stoning Me?” You see, they had failed to investigate.
They replied that it wasn’t for the quality of His works that they were attempting to stone Him. It was for what ‘.#”‘ · You may remember that they did want to kill Him for good works done on the Sabbath earlier (5:18; 9:16). Now they deny that and claim that their reason is simply a blasphemous claim, ”You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” But they are wrong. Jesus didn’t “make” Himself God. He has always been God Gn 1:1-2). Look at vv. 34-36 [read].
The term “Law” can refer specifically to the first five books of the OT. But it can also refer generally to the whole OT. That’s how Jesus uses it here when He quotes from Psalm 82:6. And He calls it ”your Law” because He wanted His explanation to bear its full weight on their consciences. That is, He quotes from their source of authority. Now, why does He quote Ps 82? [read Ps 82]
We first need to consider what Ps 82:6 is saying. This psalm pictures God entering the assembly of Israel’s judges and finding them guilty because they are not providing true judgment. As the true judge (1, 8), God condemns those who represent God because they are corrupt (2-5). Then, Asaph gives the divine sentence [read 6-7]. Scripture does use the word ‘elohim’ (‘gods’) to refer to beings other than God (Ex 21:6; 22:8). Here in Ps 82:6 they are also called “sons of the Most High.”
Jesus’ point is this: since unjust judges are called ‘gods’ in the OT, how much more appropriate it would be to call Him the Son of God. You see, they didn’t have a category for a human being to be called God. But the OT didn’t forbid that. The person could be God’s representative or it could be God the Son (Ps 45:6-7,”TI?J throne, 0 God, is forever and evel’).Jesus is not using this to prove His deity. He calls His opponents to get over His use of the term so that they will investigate whether His claim is true.Jesus added the phrase “and the Scripture cannot be broken” to leave them no way out. Jesus declared that the Scriptures are without error and have’ ·f · ·ity over us.
Jesus claimed that the Father has sanctified Him, that is, has set Him apart for this particular office and ministry. He has also sent the Son into the world, sending Him on a special mission. Jesus is making serious claims. Use that to prompt you and others to investigate further. Second,
II. We are prompted to investigate further by the quality of Jesus’ works (37-38). [reatij
Jesus isn’t saying that a person can merely believe in the works that He performed. What He meant was that if men had difficulty believing His claims about Himself, they should start by pondering the meaning of His works. Careful investigation of His works will lead a person who has faith to realize that Jesus’ claims are true. They will come to understand tha.c Je us and His Father are one (v. 30). Jesus’ works had this impact on Nicodemus inch. 3 (“no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him”). Nicodemus recognized that they were signs that pointed to something significant about Jesus. God is behind the power of miracles.Jesus must be working with God the Father.
Jesus’ works have a quality about them that clearly identified Him with His Father and showed that these works flowed from His Father. It was God’s plan for Jesus to do them. So Jesus asked them literally in v. 32, ”for what kind [of works} areyou stoning Me?” Jesus wants them t::> think further about the quality and character of His works. Why? The quality and character of His works demonstrate that He truly is one with the Father.
Jesus called them good works in v. 32. They are morally excellent and beautiful because they are done by the Shepherd who is good (v. 11). He is beautiful and excellent, so His works are beautiful and excellent. With such excellent character, men should realize that Jesus is right when He claims that these arc the works of My Father. You see,Jesus’ works should prompt us to investigate.
God left us a way to verify it if someone claimed to be Messiah. God gave us the OT Scriptures. In Isa 35 God said that Messiah would be known by His works. He would give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, strength to the lame. Messiah had to be human to have a body to sacrifice for our sins (Isa 53). But Messiah would have to be God in order for His sacrifice to actually pay for our sins. No mere human could do that (Isa 53). We find then in Ps 45 that Messiah is called “God”. In Ps 110 Messiah sits on God’s throne at the Father’s right hand. Ps 2 commands us to worship and adore Messiah as God’s Son. The excellent character of Jesus’ works should make people dig into
the OT to investigate whether His claim to be God’s Son is true.
Jesus considered faith in His works to be inferior to faith in His teaching (v. 38). Faith in His works can lead a person to faith in Jesus. Look again at how Jesus explains the way this process happens [read v. 38]. When Jesus said that you may lmow and understand He referred to how Jesus’ works can lead a person initially to realize that Jesus is Messiah, but that faith will continually progress. So “that you may know and understand” means “that you may come to realize and then
continually grow in understanding that the Father is in Jesus, and Jesus is in the Father. That is, they are one God although two persons. Like a sign post directing us to a certain town, miracles direct us to revelation. Miracles point us to trust in God’s word. And now third,
III. We are prompted to investigate further by the impact of godly testimony (39-42).
At this point, they seek to seize Jesus. Since His crucifixion hadn’t come up on God’s calendar yet, He eluded their grasp. Such rejection and hostility prompted Jesus t – c on away from Jerusalem beyond the Jordan where John the Baptist had been baptizing (1:28).Jesus was received more openly here because John’s ministry had prepared them for Jesus’ coming. Even though he performed no sign, John’s godly testimony lingered in people’s thoughts and helped them to recognize Jesus as God’s Messiah. A godly testimony can be used by God to prompt people to investigate further to see if Jesus truly is the Messiah. So how do you put these things to use?
Use these three prompts to challenge people to investigate Jesus’ claim to be God’s Son. You can
say something like this. ”Jesus made an enormous claim about Himself. He claimed to be God. Now I know that others like Roman emperors claimed to be gods too. But Jesus claimed to be the one and only God. If He had lived a wicked life like those emp J.Or >, we could easily write Him off. But He lived a sinless life. His character was impeccable. He died for the good of others. If Jesus had
been deluded like some people who have claimed to be gods then we could easily write Him off. But
He demonstrated the clearest mind of anyone. He couldn’t be beaten in an argument because His reasoning showed a command of Scripture· · :1 .. “ind reason. He couldn’t even be trapped by verbal trickery. So the seriousness of His claim demands investigation.” Or this…
“God laid out for us the way to recognize Messiah when He appeared. Hei…:’s how we would know who the Messiah is. God described the kind of works that Messiah would perform.Jesus has done beautiful works like giving sight to the blind (Isa 35, Jn 9).Jesus brought healing to impossible cases. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. So the quality of His works demands investigation.” Or…
”There are evangelists for all sorts of religions. If they live immorally, we can write off their testimony. If what they claim about their god or even if what they claim about Jesus tums out to not be true, to nr : 1=.::_: ‘!”with Scripture, then we can write off their testimony. But if they can testify
that God has been transforming their life to be more and more like Jesus’ life and if what they claim about Jesus turns out to be true and true to Scripture, then the impact of their testimony demands investigation.”