“”I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone you, but for blasphemy; and because you, being a man, make yourself out to be God.”” (John 10:30-33)
Most people use this passage to debate the divinity of Jesus – not today my good theological compadres – not today; we have more pressing issues to discuss.
Something kind of strange happens in this conversation – let’s see if I can detail it clearly:
Jesus proclaims ‘he is one with the Father’ to the chagrin of the people in the crowd. Mind you, there is a good reason for the chagrin – the crowd thinks he is proclaiming himself to be God. Jesus states something kind of interesting ‘which of these good works are you stoning me for?’ Good works is what Jesus is worried about…actions…deeds…not his wording.
Isn’t this a problem for every era? We have Christians in this day in age proclaiming other Christians are not ‘saved’ because of what they proclaim (speak) and not what actions they commit themselves to (deeds). Jesus’ refutation of such an idea seems to be – debate the actions of a person concerning their faith – not their wording.
This is such a common problem in Christian denoms because of the statements of faith and their theological importance in the ‘conversion’ of the believer. You have a list of things to believe and if you do not ‘add up’ – then you have serious problems according to that denom. It is important to note that most (if not all) denoms in the Christian faith have statements of faith that have nothing to do with your actual deeds.
Of prime importance to Jesus in this story – and to myself also – is the fact you are defined by your actions – not your beliefs. In job interviews – they don’t care if you believe in the trinity. Trying to get across the border – better make sure you know the bible is inerrant first. Need a loan from the bank – well we need to see hear your beliefs on God first. Life doesn’t work that way – in fact nothing in life works that way except clubs. You are defined by your actions in this life from getting a job, to crossing the border, and to even getting a loan. What you do is more definable about you than what you claim are your beliefs.
Now if you want to be part of a club type faith – go ahead – they appreciate numbers in those places anyways. True faith in God is all about the way you live and conduct yourselves in your every social situation – defining who you are to others and is a constant introspection of what it is you can change.
Churches of this time and space – they are the ones picking up stones now. For good cause also, we are saying things that do not resonate with their club/crowd. But I ask, as Jesus did in this story, for what ‘deed’ is it you are condemning me?
***Sorry Yael about the passage using wording like ‘Jews’ to set up a big antithesis for the story – you know John’s gospel – he was writing to a gentile crowd that was being kicked out of synagogues and had to draw a sharp comparison…I just like the point of the story.