Sermon – December 8, 2019
John 10:31-42 – Of God and Gods (mp3)
Often has man dreamed of having the rights and privileges of God. Men dream of having unlimited creativity, of having unsearchable power, of having unrestrained authority. Christians instinctively know that such things are not ours to have. Yet, in John 10:34 we have one of the oddest passages in Scripture quoted and affirmed by Jesus. Here, we are told, God has looked at us and has said “you are gods.” What does it mean to affirm it, not allowing Scripture to be broken? And how do we make sense of it in John? Today, we have the opportunity to look at this difficult passage of Scripture today, and to see once again the brilliance of our Christ.
1. The point
The point of the passage before us is a simple one: focus on Jesus’ miracles and works before you fuss about his words. He has many difficult things to say to us, and we will find many of them hard and distasteful. Yet, once we understand fully that God is with him, that he speaks for God, and that he cares for us, we will find such words much more palatable. The miracles provide a solid foundation for our faith, and a tonic to accept as good many other doctrines that we find difficult.
2. The problem
The problem is, however, Jesus’ somewhat strange argument before the crowds, as he cites Psalm 82:6. At the very least, Jesus means to take their attention back off of his words and place it on his works. But the quotation does more than this. God, or gods, is something of a functional category in the OT. This does not mean that our God is not unique and alone, but that the functions that he shares with others categorizes them as “gods” as well. Some of these he shares with us, as noted in Psalm 82. Here, the nation of Israel has failed in these functions, not judging, managing, or aiding in the right manner (or at all!). But Jesus’ miracles show that he is doing these very things! So, far from just blowing off their arguments, Psalm 82 actually supports Jesus’ focus on works, and is meant to lead them to the knowledge of him as the true and unique Son of God.
3. The payoff
First, we need to see that Scripture is a sure and steady guide. It is quite easy to think that it is confusing and erroneous when we don’t keep Jesus as the center and guide. But when we do, it makes much more sense. We never need to be embarrassed by Scripture. Secondly, we are strongly encouraged to consider Jesus’ works when we doubt his words. His miracles prove he has both the authority to keep his promises and the compassion to only give us good things. Thirdly, the end of our passage reminds us that our works are not an issue. We do not have to carry that weight. John the Baptist performed no signs, but everything he said about Jesus was true. Let us speak well of Jesus, and see many believe!