The words of Jesus that He and the Father were ONE, had the Pharisees reaching for rocks again.
As His critics and accusers rushed to find stones to heave at Him, Jesus stood to His feet and by that simple motion, silenced and stilled them. With rocks hanging useless at their sides and breaths coming in short, shallow bursts, the would-be murderers could only stand and listen to what He said next.
“Many good works I have shown you from My Father.
For which of those works do you stone Me?”
Confusion reigned among the potential assassins until one terror-stricken leader spoke up.
“FFFFor a gggood wwork we do not stone you, bbbbut…”
Another, less-frightened Pharisee continued for him…
“…but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”
The crowd erupted in approval. Even those who leaned toward believing in Jesus could not follow Him that far.
A Whole New Thought
When their shouts subsided Jesus continued as calm as a summer evening.
“Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”‘?
Oh, He was clever, this one, quoting a rare use of the word “lord” as a reference to righteous judges proclaiming the Word of God! Historians help us understand:
“[Ye are gods] This was said of magistrates on account of the dignity and honor of their office, and it shows that the Hebrew word translated “god,” lohiym, in that place might be applied to man. Such a use of the word is, however, rare.” (Barnes’ Notes)
“…do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
A question they had never considered stunned the inquisitors. Jesus took advantage of the silence.
“If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;
but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works,
that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”
There was no answer available to them beyond the stones they had gathered.
John does not tell us how, but Jesus “escaped out of their hand.” Perhaps it was easier since the Twelve were not with Him. How we would love to know if He merely froze them with a look and “passed through their midst” as He had done before or if some diversion claimed the eyes of His attackers just enough time for Him to slip away. Somehow, they missed Him.
Surely, stupid-looking, well-dressed dignitaries with rocks in their hands stood around in His sudden absence trying to avoid each other’s eyes. Again, the muffled sound of unneeded stones falling to the dusty streets of Jerusalem punctuated another escape of this One called Jesus.
At some point His men joined Him and together they crossed Jordan and journeyed to the place where John the Baptist had baptized so many. Tired from the constant battles in the streets of Jerusalem and in the courts of the Temple, Jesus stayed beyond the Jordan for several days. Those who had experienced the ministry of John had heard about Jesus. The tales of signs and wonders convinced them that this was the Man of whom John spoke. For them, the works Jesus did were proof of His claims.
“And many believed in Him there.”
Whether in the streets of the city or in the gullies and ridges of the wild Judean wilderness, the words and deeds of Jesus pointed to Him as the Son of God.
Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”‘? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand. And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed. Then many came to Him and said, “John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true.” And many believed in Him there.
Psalm 82 NKJV
God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods. How long will you judge unjustly, And show partiality to the wicked? Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked. They do not know, nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable. I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.” Arise, O God, judge the earth; For You shall inherit all nations.
Lord Jesus, Remind me that You are still at work in this world. You are saving, healing, rescuing, delivering, binding and loosing, teaching and responding to prayers. You are not separated from us, sitting remote and removed way off yonder in heaven. You are as close as the mention of Your name! You promised to never leave us and You haven’t! Your name has always been “Emmanuel—God with Us!” I will call upon You and You will answer. I will cry out to You and You will act in my behalf! You are still at work in this world! Amen! Hallelujah!
He’s as Close as the Mention of His Name
Words and Music: Gordon Jensen
1. In the very thought of Jesus His presence can be found.
He’s as close as The mention of His Name.
There is never any distance between my Lord and me.
He’s as close as The mention of His Name
He’s as close as the mention of His Name Jesus, Jesus.
He’s as close as the mention of His Name Jesus, Jesus.
2. In my hour of struggle so many times I’ve found,
He’s as close as the mention of His Name
Just to breathe the Name of Jesus can turn ev’rything around.
He’s as close as the mention of His Name.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.