John 10: 31-42: ‘Liar, lunatic or Lord?

“31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’33 ‘We are not stoning you for any good work,’ they replied, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’34 Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, “I have said you are ‘gods’? 35 If he called them “gods”, to whom the word of God came – and Scripture cannot be set aside – 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, “I am God’s Son”? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.’ 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptising in the early days. There he stayed, 41 and many people came to him. They said, ‘Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.’ 42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.” NIV

 

I once heard a preacher say that, whatever the human reasons given for the death of Jesus; the real reason He died was because He clearly claimed to be God, and His opponents realised this (33). For them, this was blasphemy. So Jesus had to die. (Although our passage again intimates that they could not take His life from Him before God’s appointed time: verse 39. As we have seen, Jesus had the authority to both lay down His life and take it up again: verses 17, 18). When Jesus declared that He was the good shepherd, that was tantamount to claiming equality with God, who is portrayed as the Shepherd of Israel in the Old Testament.

It has often been pointed out by writers, like C.S. Lewis, that a man who made the sort of claims Jesus made could not be just a good man. Either He is who He says He is, or we have to say something terrible about Him. Basically, when you consider the claims of Christ, you are shut up to three possibilities: He’s either, mad, bad or God; liar, lunatic or Lord. In His days on earth, many believed in His Lordship (40-42), and many still do.

It is also encouraging to note that, in later days, there was fruit from John the Baptist’s ministry that he never knew about (40-42).So, as someone rightly observed, judge each day, not by the harvest, but by the seeds sown.