John 10:32-42 NKJV
32 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?”
33 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.”
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 the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 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’? 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 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.” 39 Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand.
40 And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed. 41 Then many came to Him and said, “John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true.” 42 And many believed in Him there.
The Jews seek to execute Jesus because they say He speaks blasphemy as a man, making Himself God. But He is God and has shown so by His works. The Jews, however, ignore His works — and to that very same Word of God (which tells them to look for the Messiah) they ‘claim’ faithfulness as they believe they have a right to kill Him. The irony is that they put themselves in the place of God — judging and condemning Jesus by their own blasphemous human understanding. Such self-justification takes it all the way back to the Garden of Eden, doesn’t it?
Luther’s explanation of the First Commandment has us believe, teach and confess that we should fear, love, or trust in God above all things. But, as we remain in sinful flesh, our old nature continually brings us to center on ourselves — thus, every man (according to that flesh) is always putting himself in the place of God. Another truth of God’s Word, regarding our flesh is explained in Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation of 1518. Thesis #7 states: “The works of righteousness would be mortal sins if they would not be feared as mortal sins by the righteous themselves out of pious fear of God.” Basically, Luther is saying that because our fallen flesh is so inclined to turn inward and trust in any works done in the flesh — we need to fear even the good works that God brings us to do according to the New Man.
Thanks be to God, that He brings His believing/baptized children to drown the old Adam’s self-centered trust, so that the New Man rejoicingly believes Jesus’ words and trusts alone in Christ’s fully meritorious works for us!
Let us pray: Almighty, everlasting God, make us always to have a devout will toward You and to serve Your majesty with a pure heart; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.