Why Would The People Want To Stone Jesus?

Renewed Efforts To Stone Jesus!


Then the people again picked up stones to throw at him.

John 10:31 (GNT)


Stone JesusThis was a violent response, and it’s the third time John recorded this happening in his Gospel account (see the first account at John 5:18 and the second at John 8:59).


It was because Jesus’ statements were clearly interpreted as Him proclaiming Himself as God. This was considered blasphemy and was punishable by death (Leviticus 24:16). Indeed, it would have been blasphemy if it weren’t true.


Jesus said to them, “I have done many good deeds in your presence which the Father gave me to do; for which one of these do you want to stone me?”

John 10:32 (GNT)


These people were about to stone Jesus, yet there was zero fear in Him (1 John 4:18). He was still in control. He asked a question of those who were seeking to stone Him. Jesus knew the outcome before it happened. That’s why He wasn’t afraid. We can do the same if we will see by faith.


They answered, “We do not want to stone you because of any good deeds, but because of your blasphemy! You are only a man, but you are trying to make yourself God!”

John 10:33 (GNT)


The Jews clearly understood Jesus’ statement in John 10:30 as a proclamation that He was God. That is exactly what it was. They wanted a clear answer (John 10:24), and they got one.


Jesus answered, “It is written in your own Law that God said, ‘You are gods.’

John 10:33 (GNT)


This was a quotation from Psalms 82:6 – “You are gods,’ I said; ‘all of you are children of the Most High.” This Old Testament passage was speaking about rulers having divine authority, not deity.


These Jews sought to stone Him because they considered what He said blasphemy. Indeed, it would have been if Jesus had been just a man.


Some people have tried to take this instance and say that Jesus was disclaiming deity by associating Himself with the gods spoken of in Psalms 82:6. However, Jesus was not saying that He is a god only in the sense that the Scriptures spoke of people with divine authority as gods (Exodus 4:16, 7:1, 22:28; and Psalms 82:1).


The verses before this where Jesus proclaimed His oneness with the Father (John 10:30) and His statements after this where He said that the Father is in Him and He is in the Father (John 10:38) make clear His claim to deity. Also the Jews were not pacified by His answer, but they tried again to stone Him (John 10:39). If they had understood His statements to mean that He wasn’t proclaiming His deity, then they would have left Him alone.


The comparison that Jesus was making was between the Scriptures clearly stating that the Christ was God (ex. Isaiah 9:6) and the Scriptures saying that rulers were gods (this refers to having divine authority, not deity). Jesus accepted their position and authority because of the infallibility of the Scriptures, and they should have done the same with Him. The Scriptures prophesied His coming and the works that He would accomplish, and He had fulfilled these prophecies as no one else could. His works proved He was the Messiah prophesied through Scripture.


Jesus had already manifested supernatural power in just walking through the midst of those who were trying to kill Him (Luke 4:30; John 7:30, 8:20, and 59), and He eventually did that same thing here (John 10:39). But first, He referred back to Psalms 82:6. In that passage, God was speaking to the rulers of His covenant people, the Jews, and He called them gods. Jesus was saying,


“If those in authority were called gods, how can you fault Me for claiming to be the Son of God when I have fulfilled so many scriptures?”


We know that what the scripture says is true forever; and God called those people gods, the people to whom his message was given.

John 10:35 (GNT)


God’s Word cannot be broken.


As for me, the Father chose me and sent me into the world. How, then, can you say that I blaspheme because I said that I am the Son of God? Do not believe me, then, if I am not doing the things my Father wants me to do.

John 10:36-37 (GNT)


If we applied this test to most ministers today, no one would believe them. Jesus was saying that the miracles He performed bore witness to His authority. Those who don’t see miracles don’t have or use authority. Don’t believe them.


Just a few verses later; the people said John did no miracles (John 10:41). But John was under the Old Covenant. In the New Covenant, signs and wonders follow believers (Mark 16:17-20).


But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, you should at least believe my deeds, in order that you may know once and for all that the Father is in me and that I am in the Father.”


Once more they tried to seize Jesus, but he slipped out of their hands.


Jesus then went back again across the Jordan River to the place where John had been baptizing, and he stayed there. Many people came to him. “John performed no miracles,” they said, “but everything he said about this man was true.” And many people there believed in him.

John 10:38-42 (GNT)


Miracles are a great witness to the power of God (John 5:36 and Mark 16:20).


No weapon formed against our Lord Jesus shall prosper. He escaped, not because he was afraid to suffer, but because his hour was not come. And He who knew how to deliver himself, knows how to deliver the godly out of their temptations, and to make a way for them to escape. Persecutors may drive Christ and his gospel our of their own city or country, but they cannot drive him or it out of the world.


John points to stories where Jesus returns to the issue of faith again and again. The crowds are fickle, believing sometimes and not others. The religious leaders refused to believe because Jesus doesn’t fit their paradigms. The disciples and close friends constantly faced situations that challenge their faith, and this especially happens when Lazarus dies. John is implicitly urging his readers to have faith in Christ, even in difficult times, because he is the source of life and well being.


The Walk Of Faith

A key word in John’s Gospel is “believe.” Faith is important to our understanding of Scripture and to the Spirit’s activity in our lives. Faith, like love, evidences itself in obedience. Faith approaches God boldly to receive from Him.
Believe in the miracles of Jesus.
Understand that the glory of God is revealed to those who believe.




Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary
Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary



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