(Today's post by Chris Queen)
Pretty much anybody who knows me knows who I am. If you know me, you know that I’m a Georgia Bulldog through and through, that I’m a big-time Disney fan, that I have three nieces whom I love with all my heart. Those who truly know me know my commitment to Christ and to my church and ministry. All these things (and more) make up who I am – my identity.
Jesus spends a significant amount of time in the gospel of John talking about his identity. In chapter 10, he gets the Jews riled up about who He is:
24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
Then later he says:
37 “Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father.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 in the Father.”
The key verses here are 30 and 38. Why are they significant? Because they clarify Jesus’ identity as the Son of God, part of the “three-in-one” of the Trinity.
These verses relate to one of the most important verses in the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 6:4, the first verse of the Sh’ma, which practicing Jews recite at synagogue: “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Of course, this is why the Jews wanted to stone Him for blasphemy.
This is going to sound like a simplistic statement, but it’s important for us to always be aware of Jesus’ identity as God. Why? Because of the reassurance we have in that fact. In his Jewish New Testament Commentary, the brilliant Messianic scholar and translator David H. Stern writes that because Jesus is God, “we who are in Yeshua’s [Jesus’] care have complete assurance that nothing ‘will be able to separate us from the love of God which comes to us through the Messiah Yeshua (Romans 8:31-39).”
Isn’t that an amazing promise? That’s why an awareness of Jesus’ divinity is so important. My hope and prayer for everyone who reads these words (and for myself) is that you will be able to spend every moment in that awareness.