Read John 10:30-42.
The Artist Who Proved It
During the mid 1600s there was a famous French artist named Raymond Lafage. One evening he was introduced to a crowd in a tavern, but the man impressed them as a bumpkin. No one believed this completely unremarkable person could possibly be the famous artist Lafage.
So Raymond Lafage offered to do a work of art, right there in the tavern. Someone suggested he draw Pharaoh drowning in the Red Sea. Lafage went to work. The crowd was transfixed as they watched him draw what at first seemed to be arbitrary and unrelated scratches all over the page. But by the time he was finished he had produced a complicated and detailed version of Pharaoh entering the Red Sea.
He Claimed To Be God
In our text Jesus makes the statement: “I and the Father are one.”
And the religious leadership of his day knew exactly what he was saying, which is why they immediately picked up stones to kill him. Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?”
And the Pharisees said, “It’s not for a good work that we’re going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”
The people face to face with Jesus, the religious experts who were present there in that moment, knew exactly what Jesus was saying. He was saying that he is God.
C. S. Lewis once made this famous statement:
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 said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on a 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 patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
Jesus claimed to be God Himself.
But the Pharisees rejected his claim. So Jesus reminds them of Psalm 82:6 where the scripture calls those to whom the word of God has come gods. Then he reminds them that “Scripture cannot be broken.” And then he asks if they are truly accusing the one who the Father consecrated and sent into the world of blasphemy because he claims to be the Son of God.
A Curious Thing About The Miracles
At this point Jesus goes on to say: If I’m not doing the works of my Father, then don’t believe me; but if I do them, even though you don’t believe what I say, believe the works, so you can know and understand who I am.
Jesus is talking about the many miracles he performed. And here’s a curious thing, not one of them disputed that he performed these miracles. Pharisees and synagogue leaders were often present when Jesus did something miraculous. In fact Jesus was often in trouble with the religious leadership because he did something miraculous–on the Sabbath. On these occasions they never disputed the supernatural healings, they only expressed their displeasure that Jesus would perform these miracles on the Sabbath day. The legitimacy of the miracles themselves is never in question. I find that fascinating. It builds my faith. Because it seems to me that the most natural thing for an enemy of Jesus to do would be to discredit his supernatural works. But they didn’t. The only reason I can see for them not taking that tack is because they couldn’t. Apparently others felt the same way because at the end of our passage we see that,
“many came to him. And they said, ‘John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.’ And many believed in him there.” (v. 41-42)
Like Lafage, Jesus is saying: you’ve seen what I do, and because of the great works you can discern my identity.
Because of the great works you can know that I and the Father are one.
Because of the great works you can know that I am God.
(You might also like Is Jesus God? (After all, he said, “Before Abraham Was, I Am”))
N.T. Whitman, The Drawings of Raymond Lafage, M. Nijhoff, 1963
Image of Hands Touching via Waiting For The Word – Creative Commons