John 5:18 tells us that “… the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him (Jesus), because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”
What a wild claim! Equal with God! What sort of arrogance does it take to claim equality with God? No wonder the Jews – fiercely protective of the ‘oneness’ of God – wanted to shut Jesus up.
Every good Jew knew that God is one – and only one. The verse sometimes known as the ‘Sh’ma’ says it plainly; “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one” [Deut 6:4].
There had been plenty in the past who had the audacity to claim to be what they were not – prophets, messiahs, saviours of the people. And each one ended in disappointment at best, captivity and slaughter at worst.
In fact, this desire to be like God goes back a long way. Back to the Garden of Eden, in fact, where the devil enticed Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit with the promise “… when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…” [Gen 3:5].
So, for another to come along declaring Himself to not only be the Messiah, but claiming to be equal to God Himself was just going too far for them.
Jesus’ claim that He is God in the flesh is, then, an audacious claim. And it’s a claim that led to His execution as a heretic, a blasphemer, executed like a common criminal.
But in John 5, Jesus not only stands by His claim before His accusers, He ‘ups the ante’ by making more claims to prove His Godhood.
And each claim enraged the religious leaders more.
So, what are some of those claims?Continue reading