What was your last argument?
This is a passage which looks like a big argument. The thing is, people liked to debate things in those days, and one of the reasons that the Jewish leaders were questioning Jesus so much was because they were intrigued by his identity. Who was this man who could do so many amazing things in the time when everyone else was having a snooze?
Jesus didn’t make things any less controversial. He claimed a close relationship with his Father in heaven, considered to be blasphemous as they thought he was comparing himself to God. This was huge. Not done.
The thing is though, that is exactly who Jesus is – he is the Son of God and he is God. He is participating in all that the Father does, even raising the dead and bringing new life.
They keep on asking him why he has the right to make these claims about himself. The answer is that it is not only him that is making them. John pointed out who Jesus was. The signs or miracles that Jesus has been doing have pointed out that he is not simply a human. God himself has testified about Jesus throughout the Old Testament in the Bible, where there are so many passages that point to the coming Saviour.
But the question is, do you recognise who Jesus is? Do you know him as Son of God and Saviour? Or do you prefer to keep him as a nice man in a toga and sandals? C S Lewis (author of the Narnia books) wrote that
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Lord God, we thank you that you are making yourself known in this world. Help us to see who you really are. Help us to understand the complicated thoughts in this passage. Amen.
Write down as many names you can think of for Jesus. Pray that he would demonstrate his identity in those names to you today.