Jesus Sets His Sights on the Cross

November 18, 2012 Speaker: John Hansen Series: The Gospel of John

Topic: The Cross Passage: John 10:31–10:42

Jesus Sets His Sights on the Cross

John 10:31-42

31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 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 am in the Father.” 39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.
Jesus Gives Us 5 things to Think About as He sets His Sights on the Cross
1. The unity of the Father and the Son.
2. The evidence of His works.
3. Jesus is the Passover Lamb.
4. The value of the ministry of preparation.
5. The importance of going back to the beginning.

31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.
- Why are they wanting to stone him?
- Got to go back to verses 25-30
25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
• Claims that he comes and does His works in the name of the Father, in the name of God.
• My Sheep: Claims to be God by claiming to be the Shepherd.
o Jews knew this imagery well from the OT. They knew who the shepherd of Israel was.
o Psalm 23 – Who is the shepherd? The LORD is my shepherd. Jesus is claiming to be the Lord.
o Vs. 28: I give people eternal life.  Only God can grant eternal life.
o No one will take them out of my hand.  You religious leaders want to try. Bring it on. (Hand motion.)
o If they are in my hand, then they are in God’s hand  Jesus is working completely in line with the father. Why?
o Because, according to verse 30, they are one! [I and the Father are one.]

1. The unity of the Father and the Son.
• One in purpose and one in essence.
• Jesus was claiming deity and the Jews knew it.
• So what did they do? Verse 31 says they picked up stones to kill him.
• Why? What crime had Jesus committed?  Jesus challenges them on this in verse 32 basically saying, “On what grounds are you going to kill me? If you think you have warrant to execute capital punishment, then let’s get this out in the open. What crime am I guilty of?”
• Verse 33, they say it plainly, “For blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”
• They were right! If a mere man claimed to be God, he was guilty of blasphemy and according to the law he should be stoned until dead.
• Leviticus 24:16 – “Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregations shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shell be put to death.”
• You might respond, How did Jesus blaspheme? He didn’t use God’s name like a curse word. How was he guilty of blasphemy? What is blasphemy?
• Blasphemy:
o Dictionary Definition: 1. the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God 2. the act of claiming the attributes of deity 3. irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable
o My Definition: applying God’s name to that which is not God
o Using God’s name as a curse word is blasphemy. God’s name is meant to be honored and revered, not to be used as an expletive. It is to be used reverently when referring to him, not as some kind of swear word to emphasize your point when you’re talking to your girl-friends…or you guy friends.
o To make an idol and call that God would be blasphemy. That statue I carved is NOT God. It is the work of my hands; it is as inferior to God as an led light is inferior to the sun. The idol is not God therefore call it God would be blasphemy.
o Similarly, you are not God, so to call yourself God would be blasphemy. You are the LED light. He is the sun. Do not diminish God’s glory by reducing him to being a mere man.
o The Jews were saying, “You are merely a man and you’re calling yourself God. Therefore you are guilty of misappropriating God’s great name and slapping it onto a human, namely yourself. This misuse of God’s name is blasphemy. This is a vile offense to a holy God who is far superior to any man.”
o They were right. A man calling himself God is blasphemy and that man was to be punished with death by stoning. They were completely right…unless…unless that man was God incarnate, unless that man was the holy, righteous creator of the universe clothed in human flesh! Unless that man was not just in purpose, but in essence, ONE with God himself!
[TRANSITION] They accuse Jesus of blasphemy because he called himself God, and Jesus reminds them of the evidence of His works that back up his claims.
2. The evidence of His works.
32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?”
Was it for…
1---The miracle of water into wine (John 2:1-11)
2---Healing the noble man's son – who was sick unto death (John 4:46-53)
3---Healing the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-9)
4---Feeding the 5,000 (John 6:4-13)
5---Jesus walks on water (John 6:16-21)
6---Healing the blind man (John 9:1-12)
Jesus knew they going to stone him NOT for his good works, but rather because of his bold claims. But before they stoned him, he wanted to remind them of the works that backed up his bold claims…the works that showed that he possessed divine power, the works that demonstrated that he was kind to those in need and the works that verified that his bold statements were true.
Jealousy: On the other hand, it was partly due to his good works that the religious leaders wanted to kill him. Due to his miracles and his teaching, people were turning away from the religious leaders to follow Jesus. This aroused jealousy in their hearts, and they wanted to take him down.
It wasn’t that They weren’t so bothered by the blasphemy. They were actually hoping he’d say something they could use to condemn him. They had come to him before with verbal conundrums trying to get him to say something they could use against him.
• Should we pay taxes to Caesar?
• This woman was caught in the very act of adultery. The law says to stone such a woman. What do you say?
No. The blasphemy was not their beef. Rather, it was joy to their ears. They thought, “Now we’ve got him.”
Jesus responds, “What good work are you going to stone me for?” to remind them that their actions don’t make sense. Yes, his claims are bold. But his teaching and his miracles back up his claims.
Dean: A point of application: Our testimony carries much more weight if, beforehand, we have demonstrated acts of kindness and self-sacrifice.
If these good works are not convincing enough, in another chapter Jesus is going to do something that no one had ever done since the days of Elijah and Elisha, when he raises Lazarus from the dead in John 11:30-44.
• Elijah (1 Kings 17:17-24): son of widow of Zeraphath
• Elisha (II Ki 4:20-37): Shunamite's son
• Elisha (II Ki 13:21): dead man raised to life when it touched Elisha’s bones
When Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, he establishes that at the very least he is a prophet on the order of Elijah or Elisha.
It’s interesting, after the resurrection of Lazarus, these Jewish leaders still refuse to follow Jesus. The logical response would be, “This man raised someone from the dead. He must at the very least be a prophet of God.” Instead, their jealousy increases as more people flock to Jesus.
John 11:9-11
9 When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well,11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.
They conclude, Jesus is stealing their sheep and Lazarus is helping him. Let’s kill Lazarus too!
Back to John 10, Jesus has claimed deity. The Jews have picked up stones to kill him. It’s a tense situation. Jesus reminds them of his good works, but he needs something else to slow this crowd down. Otherwise, he’s going to be stoned at the Feast of Dedication when his aim is to be crucified at the Passover.
So, at this point Jesus makes what John Piper calls a “maneuver” aimed at throwing them off a little so they don’t stone him. They say, “You make yourself out to be God.” And Jesus responds [in VERSE 34].
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
He uses a theological argument that these men have no counter for. He takes them back to Psalm 82:6 where Asaph refers to human judges as gods. Asaph uses the word elohim, which is normally only used to refer to God.
The problem here is that Jesus not only throws off the Jews, but he throws us off too.
• Talk about muddying the waters: Jesus refers back to a very difficult passage. A passage that has two big challenges:
1. It refers to God in the plural as if there are more than one gods.
2. It refers to men as gods.

• Don Stenberg sent me some thoughts on this word Elohim for God being plural:
o Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.”
o Parallel passage in Deut. 6:4: “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
 God – Elohim, which is plural
 Lord – YHWH, the name for God
 1: eloh
 2: elohaim
 3: elohhim
 Like saying, “The Lord our Gods, the Lord is one.”
 Jesus is basically saying, I am one of the Eloh’s in Elohim.
 3 Elohs: I am and Eloh, the Father is an Eloh; he doesn’t say it here, but the Holy Spirit is an Eloh, and like Jesus says and like Deut. 6:4 says, the Elohs or the Elohim are one.
 Trinity: Speaks to the plurality and the singularity of the godhead. In the trinity, you have 1 God and 3 persons.
• Let’s look at Psalm 86:
82 God [Elohim] has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods [elohim] he holds judgment: [United Nations Scene, God arrives]
[God’s Question]
2 “How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
[God’s Command]
3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
[God’s Accusation]
5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
they walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
[God’s Threat]
6 I said, “You are gods,
sons of the Most High, all of you;
7 nevertheless, like men you shall die,
and fall like any prince.”
[Asaph: You get ’em God!]
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth;
for you shall inherit all the nations!
• Verse 6: “Sons of the most high” – refers to these small E elojim as sons of God. Jesus says, if God’s Word says that, and in light of the fact that I’m the one come down from heaven from the Father, then why do you say I’m blaspheming when I say, “I am the Son of God.” Now, he’s got them all mixed up.
• Jesus is accused of calling himself God, and he sends them to Psalm 82.
• Frustrating: If you’re like me, you might find Jesus’ response frustrating to you as well. This was your big chance, Jesus, to seal the deal and make it absolutely clear that you are God incarnate. As Christians, when the Jews accuse Jesus of “making himself out to be God”, we want Jesus to respond back. “You got that right. I am God!” But he doesn’t. What’s Jesus up to here!
• Looking Past: He’s looking past the Jewish men with rocks. He’s looking past Solomon’s colonnade and the festivity of Hanukah. He’s looking past the present moment to Mount Calvary and the time of the Passover.
• Perhaps in the back of his mind, he hears the words of John the Baptist rolling over the Judean hills as John says, “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
• Jesus sets his face like flint toward the cross. He determines, “I will not die by stoning here at the Feast of Dedication.” I must be crucified at Passover. Because…
3. Jesus is the Passover Lamb.
• About 1500 years before Christ [TIMELINE], was the time of the first Passover. Explain Timeline. … And at the end of history, you have the return of Christ, which is [pick up calendar] next Tuesday.  Just kidding! No need to condemn me to being a speaker on Family radio.
• Moses lead the people of Israel out of Egypt after God performed 10 miraculous signs, or plagues on the people of Egypt. The 10th plague was the angel of death. The 10th plague was the death of the firstborn of Egypt. On that ominous night, the angel of death alighted on every Egyptian house and killed all the firstborn of Egypt. The Hebrews were told to kill a lamb and put the blood on the doorposts of the house. If the angel of death saw the blood, then the angel would PASS OVER that house and not kill the first born in that house.

• The inerrancy of scripture: (rabbit trail)
One other thing I want to point out. Jesus had a very high view of scripture. He quotes Psalm 82, and he makes it clear that he sees God’s Word as authoritative in verse 35, when he says, “Scripture cannot be broken”.
• He sees it as authoritative and inerrent.
o Not only without error, but unable to err.
• It is so critical that we have this kind of confidence in God’s Word. Meditate on it, memorize it, use it as the rudder of your life, quote it, read it to yourself, read it to your family.
• Do not judge it by the values of your society, but judge the values of society by God’s Word.
E. J. Young is his book, “Thy Word is Truth” said: He who rejects the Biblical view of Scripture, no matter how much it may be disguised, has set up the human mind as an arbiter to decide how the Bible is to be regarded. The Bible is authoritative, therefore, whether there is any Divine-human encounter or not. The Bible is authoritative whether or not its message is borne home to me in compelling power. It is authoritative whether I believe it or not; whether I believe in Jesus Christ or not. The Bible, according to the Christian position, is authoritative in itself; its authority resides in the fact that it is the Word of God. A return to the Bible is the greatest need of the day. Unless the Church turns to this authoritative Word of the sovereign God as—let us say it boldly—an external authority; unless the Church is willing to hear the Word of God in the one place where that Word may be heard, she will soon cease to be the Church of the living God (E. J. Young, Thy Word is Truth).
Understand this church, we are, like the Jews, a people of the book. We see the world around us and it tells us certain things about God. The creation screams that there is a creator. The Bible tells us who that creator is. Our conscience screams that there is sin. The Bible confirms it so, and tells us the solution to our sin problem. Apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ, there is NO salvation. And apart from the Bible there is no understanding of how to be saved. We are a people of the book. We understand ourselves, our world, and as Dean would say, we understand the great questions of live because of the book. Despite our sin problem, we have hope because of the messiah. We know who that messiah is because of the book. Our hope and our faith is in Jesus Christ, and we can know Jesus because God’s Word is true.
[TRANSITION] Jesus is about to end 3 chapters of debating with the Jews, and he makes one more plea for them to believe. I love the compassion of Jesus. After all these arguments from unbelieving Jews and several attempts to arrest him and kill him, he’s still reaching out for their souls, trying to convince them to believe. [Look at VERSES 37-39]
37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 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 am in the Father.” 39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
• TAKE A STEP BACK: I see you’re having issues with me, but take a step back and look for a moment, not at me, not at how much I bug you, but look at the works I’ve done. And would ask you, “Are those not the works of God?” And, if you look at those works and you realize that those are the works of the Father, then I’d ask you to reconsider believing in me.
• Again they sought to arrest him (39): Notice how Jesus has shaken things up. They’re not confident enough to stone him now. In their minds, they know he’s right. His works speak for themselves. And he’s befuddled them with his argument from Psalm 82. You’ve got to have people very sure of themselves if you want to carry out an execution. That sureness is gone, but the irritation is still there, so they seek to arrest him.
• But he escaped: We’re not sure how he escaped. Maybe they had just lost the fervor so it wasn’t hard for him to get away. Maybe he did some kind of miracle, like ran around a corner and disappeared. Somehow, he got away!
[TRANSITION] At this point, Jesus turns away from those who are not listening. Those seeking to arrest or kill him. Away from those who are not believing the Word of God, those who are not his sheep. And he turns to those who are his sheep. Those who hear his voice and follow him.
He spends the last part of his public ministry with his sheep. He leaves Jerusalem and he goes back where his ministry began, back across the Jordan to where John the Baptist proclaimed the arrival of the kingdom of heaven, where John baptized Jesus, and where God said, “This is my beloved Son.” He leaves the proud skeptics behind and he goes to the believers! [VERSES 40-42]
40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.
I like a happy ending. This is the end of Jesus’ public ministry. You might say, “The end? There are still 11 chapter left of John.” That’s true, but from here on out, Jesus is away from the crowds until the last week of his life. After these last 3 verses of Jesus public ministry, he spends his final 3-4 months with his closest friends and disciples before he goes to the cross.
But right now, Jesus is going back to the beginning of his ministry, where John prepared the way.
I have two final points that come from this section. As Jesus sets his face toward the cross, he reminds us about…
4. The value of the ministry of preparation.
Do not devalue the ministry of preparation.
Who are you? People came to John asking him who he was. He told them plainly: I’m not the messiah. I’m not the prophet. They responded, “Then who are you?” He replied, “I’m just the guy that gets things ready for the arrival of the bridegroom. I am a voice calling in the wilderness. Prepare the way of the Lord.”
John prepared the way for Jesus. He died before seeing the fruit of his labor. But his labor was NOT FRUITLESS! No indeed! Do not devalue the ministry of preparation.
• Preachers: Much preparation is required. Give careful time and attention to the Word so you can present it accurately when you speak.
• Mothers: You spend so much time lovingly preparing meals for your husband and your children. Meals that are gobbled up so quickly, and at times without even a “Thanks mom!” Do not devalue your role. You nourish your family and it gives them strength for the day.
• Parents: You spend years of preparing your children for the life ahead of them. You carefully sharpen the arrows in your quiver, so that one day you may put them into the bow, pull back the string and send them flying toward the intended target.
• This Morning: I am engaging in the ministry of preparation. I don’t know what you’re going to face this week, but my heart and my prayer, is that through the preaching of God’s Word, he will prepare you for what is ahead.
• How much tilling of the land is required before the sowing of the seeds of the gospel?
• How many seeds of the gospel have you sown without every seeing any results? Keep sowing.
• How many godly saints give and give without seeing fruit from their labor? Encourage them!
• Much of our ministry is the ministry of preparation. We like John prepare the way, hoping and praying that Jesus will show up on the scene and do the work of changing hearts, the work that we are unable to perform.
[TRANSITION] John prepared the way, and John’s followers left him and started following Jesus from the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Jesus goes back. He goes back to the beginning where it all started. He goes back to the disciples of John, who now look to Him to lead the way. Jesus demonstrates the importance of going back to the beginning.

5. The importance of going back to the beginning.
I think there’s something about thinking back to where you started. Looking at your own personal Genesis. Looking at the place where you were and considering where God has taken you.
• Mary after the events of Jesus birth: Luke 2:19  19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
o Mary remembers where she was just a young girl living with her parents, and she ponders at the work of God.
• Jesus goes back down memory lane. I imagine he ponders the key events at the beginning of his ministry:
o The excitement of the first disciples when he tells them he will make them fishers of men.
o He ponders back when John the Baptist was alive, and how John said, “He must increase. I must decrease.”
o He ponders his baptism, and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove.
o He thinks about the important role of John the Baptist, and his heart is filled with compassion and a smile breaks across his face as he sees the followers of John walking toward him.
o John’s Disciples Approach Jesus: Their hearts are filled with emotion. John’s dead. The Jewish leaders are in an uproar over Jesus. They don’t know what to do. And their hopeful faces look up into his eyes as if to say, “Ok Jesus. John told us you were the one. Where do we go from here?”
• Go Back to the Beginning: Consider where you came from and ponder the work of God in your own life.
• There’s a Steven Curtis Chapman Song, that tells how we should remember our beginning, remember what Christ has saved us from. It’s called Remember Your Chains:
There's no one more thankful to sit at the table
Than the one who best remembers hunger's pain
And no heart loves greater than the one that is able
To recall the time when all it knew was the shame
The wings of forgiveness can take us to heights never seen
But the wisest ones, they will never lose sight of where they were set free
Love set them free

In the light of all that we've been forgiven of
We will find our hearts fuller and freer
To give and receive God's love
So remember your chains
Remember the prison that once held you
Before the love of God broke through
Remember the place you were without grace
When you see where you are now
Remember your chains
And remember your chains are gone

5 Points
1. The unity of the Father and the Son.
2. The evidence of His works.
3. Jesus is the Passover Lamb.
4. The value of the ministry of preparation.
5. The importance of going back to the beginning.
In Closing: Jesus makes bold claims that He is one with the Father, that He is an Eloh in Elohim. Such bold claims that the Jews want to stone him for it. But he reminds them of the evidence of his works that back up his claims. He gets them to question what they’re doing because he has set his face toward the cross. He is determined that he will be our Passover lamb; he will not be stoned and at the Feast of Dedication, but he will be crucified at the Feast of Passover. And Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, ends his public ministry by going back to the beginning where John prepared the way and ministering to his sheep.

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