Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works.
For which one are you going to stone me?” They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy!
You, a mere man, claim to be God.” (John 10:31-33)
Relate: One of the big arguments atheists sometimes use and Muslims frequently use to deny the divinity of Jesus is to say that Jesus never claimed to be God. The argument, which is even found in the Quran, states that Jesus never came right out, point blank, and said, “I am God” therefore He must not be God.
This argument is ridiculous on two grounds. First, it is simply not true. We see very clearly Jesus saying in John 8:58, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM.” When Moses was sent by God to go rescue the people of Israel, he asked God, “What is your name that I might tell them who sent me?” God responded, “I AM. Say this to the people, I AM has sent me to you.” This is the very name of God and Jesus point blank uses it as His own. It is found all over the Old Testament but except for in Exodus 3:14, when it is used, we have instead the word Lord all in caps. (see Genesis 2:4, Exodus 3:2, Leviticus 1:1 and about 6,500 other times)
Not only does Jesus use the very name of God as His own, there are also many other times where either another calls him God and he does not correct them or Jesus is speaking of Himself and the people listening understand clearly that He just referred to Himself as God. An example of the former is when Thomas says, “My Lord and my God” and Jesus responds, “You believe because you have seen. Blessed are those who have not seen yet still believe.” An example of the latter is found right here in John 10. Jesus had just said, “I and my Father are one” and now the crowd is picking up stones because, “You, a mere man, claim to be God.”
The common Muslim or skeptic response to this is that when Jesus says, “I and my Father are one”, He is talking about purpose or intent. He is saying He is one the same mission as the Father, not that He and the Father are one and the same. Really? If that were the case, these listeners were downright evil. If Jesus were merely saying, “I am on a mission from God. We’re on the same team. We are one in purpose and intent” then why on earth would the people want to stone Him? Why would they be stoning someone who was claiming to obedient to God? Either the person using this argument is being intellectually dishonest or they are just plain ignorant. The fact is, Jesus claimed to be God. This isn’t the first or the last time in scriptures. It has happened before and, as we are working our way through John, we will see it again.
React: The question is not if Jesus claimed to be God in the gospels. The question very clearly is what we will do with those claims. We cannot simply call Jesus a good man. We cannot truly label Him a prophet and nothing more. If He was merely a good man, He would not have made those claims. If He was a prophet and nothing more, than He was a false prophet and should not be venerated as such. We have three choices. The first is that Jesus was misguided. He believed He was God but clearly He was mistaken. The second choice is that Jesus was a liar. He made claims to be God which He knew were false. If we are to come to either of these conclusions then Jesus was a blasphemer. He should not be respected or honored, He should be condemned. The judgment of God is on him. The only other option is to accept His claim at face value. We can either worship Jesus as God or with that crowd we must pick up the stones. There is no other choice. Which do you believe? Is Jesus God or is He a blasphemer?
Jesus, I worship You as God. You are my Lord, and I surrender my life to You. You are my Savior and I place my life in Your hands. Forgive me for the sins I have committed. I don’t deserve Your grace but I ask that You would give it anyways. Help me now to follow You. Help me to live in obedience to Your commands. Give me to courage to do so even to the point of death. You are God and I will not, I cannot deny this truth.