I Am the Son of God
The Jews took up stones again to stone Jesus. Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.” Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If those to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’ —and the scripture cannot be annulled— can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Then they tried to arrest him again, but he escaped from their hands. He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and he remained there. Many came to him, and they were saying, “John performed no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” And many believed in him there.
As we draw nearer to Holy Week, the gospel readings take a dramatic shift away from themes on how we may order our lives in relation to God and our neighbor to the focus on the growing hostility toward Jesus by the religious leaders. Today’s Gospel opens as several of the Jews are again ready to stone Jesus. Jesus does not run or hide. Rather, he turns and confronts them.
Jesus addresses them directly, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?” After all, Jesus was simply doing these good works for his Father. But the religious leaders tell Jesus that it was not because of his works.
What is interesting here is we see that although there was skepticism about Jesus among the Jewish leaders, they had to admit that there was actually something good about what he was doing among the people, admitting, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you.” They want to stone Jesus for blasphemy saying, “because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.” But Jesus goes on to qualify this accusation, “I am the Son of God.” Jesus was judged to be speaking in ways that were typically identified exclusively with God. In response to the accusation of blasphemy in this morning’s gospel reading, Jesus speaks of himself as the one whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world and as the one who is doing the work of God his Father.
This fully captures what we believe about Jesus. He is the one whom God has sent into the world to do the work of God. He has a unique relationship with God; he is the Son of God. In the coming week we will be contemplating the humanity of Jesus in his pain and brokenness, his passion and death. This morning’s gospel reading reminds us that in looking upon the suffering of Jesus we are also looking upon the face of God, the God who so loved the world that he gave his only Son.
O Lord, you relieve our necessity out of the abundance of your great riches: Grant that we may accept with joy the salvation you bestow, and manifest it to all the world by the quality of our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.