I said, “Ye are gods” | John 10.34-36
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’?
John 10.34-36 | ESV
Jesus nearly snickered. “Why does such a statement have you so riled up? Your own Scriptures, right there in your own law book, say the same thing, ‘I said (God speaking here to human beings!), ‘You are ‘gods’ – awesome beings clothed with immense power!” What, are you going to stone the Psalmist now? If we find that kind of language used about human beings receiving a divine charge right there in Scripture – and Scripture is unbreakable, is it not? – then why freak out about the same kind of language being used for the unique Entity that the Father set aside and sent into the world to accomplish his unique task? But no, all I have to say is ‘I am the Son of God’ and accusations of ‘blasphemy!’ start flying right and left – with stones not far behind the accusation. MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
They were using the wrong organ.
They needed ears, but all they could do was keep sniffing at Jesus.
He didn’t smell like their system or their assumptions, so it mattered precious little what they actually saw or heard from him.
So Jesus tries again to engage their ears with one of their own Scriptures frequently heard chanted in synagogue and temple. It was a Psalm directed to the judges, the “movers and shakers” on the human scene, the power brokers, the string pullers, the “gods.” Human powers entrusted with the divine responsibility of governing in this world.
The basic Hebrew word for God we transliterate into English as “El” and “el” is essentially power. The plural is “elohim.” Used of the Ultimate Power through whom heaven and earth and all that is within them were made, it is “Elohim” – God. Used of lesser powers in heaven (angelic/demonic) or powers on earth (kings/presidents) it’s “elohim.”
Jesus’ point to his detractors who are ready to stone him to death, again, is simply “If human judges can be called ‘sons of God’ or ‘gods’ – awesome beings clothed with immense power,” then why balk at such a label on me – the One and Only from the Father?”
I suspect that thought makes us chew a bit too.
And while we’re at it, how about we chew on the whole Psalm, not just to get the context for this one statement, but to get the point of the entire Psalm – a Psalm that could easily be addressed to all of us in this powerful, wealthy nation of ours:
God calls the judges into his courtroom,
he puts all the judges in the dock.
“Enough! You’ve corrupted justice long enough,
you’ve let the wicked get away with murder.
You’re here to defend the defenseless,
to make sure that underdogs get a fair break;
Your job is to stand up for the powerless,
and prosecute all those who exploit them.”
Ignorant judges! Head-in-the-sand judges!
They haven’t a clue to what’s going on.
And now everything’s falling apart,
the world’s coming unglued.
“I commissioned you judges, each one of you,
deputies of the High God,
But you’ve betrayed your commission
and now you’re stripped of your rank, busted.”
O God, give them their just deserts!
You’ve got the whole world in your hands!
No more head in-the-sand judges. Lord, we would hear.
When have you really been impacted by hearing the voice of God? How did you hear it? What happened?
Abba, you do have the whole world in your hands, so when I see everything falling apart and coming unglued, let me not sit clueless like a head-in-the-sand judge. Let me see and hear and engage in this world defending the defenseless and standing up for the powerless. Empower me to do what you do. Through Christ.