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March 30, 2012 – Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent. The reading is from Gospel of John 10:31-42

The Jews again picked up rocks to stone him.

Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?”

The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.”

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’?

If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and scripture cannot be set aside, can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize [and understand] that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”

[Then] they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power.

He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.

Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.”

And many there began to believe in him.

The Jews were angry and irritated by Jesus who spoke openly.

  • I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are trying to kill me, because my word has no room among you. (John 8:37)
  • But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God; Abraham did not do this. (John 8:40)
  • can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? (John 10:36)
  • You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. (John 14:28)

To vent their anger they threw stones at him. In today’s gospel reading we see an instance of the Jews stoning Jesus. John cites other such incidents as well as Luke.

  • The Jews again picked up rocks to stone him. (John 10:31)
  • So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area. (John 8:59)
  • The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there? (John 11:8)
  • They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away. (Luke 4:29-30)

Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?”  (John 10:32)

During Jesus’ period, the Jews were very apprehensive in using the sacred name of God and refreained from uttering it publically or even privately because in Leviticus it is written:

whoever utters the name of the LORD in a curse shall be put to death. The whole community shall stone that person; alien and native-born alike must be put to death for uttering the LORD’s name in a curse. (Leviticus 24:16)

Hence, the Jews naturally were irritated with Jesus when he, according to them, was making himself God, and therefore they thought it fit to punish him by stoning for blasphemy as said in The Book of Leviticus.

  • The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.” (John 10:33)
  • For this reason the Jews tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God. (John 5:18)
  • The Jews answered, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” (John 19:7)

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’? (John 10:34)

The above verse  is a reference to the judges of Israel who, since they exercised the divine prerogative to judge were called “gods” in Deuteronomy.

In rendering judgment, do not consider who a person is; give ear to the lowly and to the great alike, fearing no one, for the judgment is God’s. Any case that is too difficult for you bring to me and I will hear it.” (Deuteronomy 1:17)

The quotation “You are gods” in John 10:34 comes from Psalms 82:6.

I declare: “Gods though you be,
offspring of the Most High all of you, (Psalms 82:6)

And the continues,

Yet like any mortal you shall die;
like any prince you shall fall.” (Psalms 82:7)

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