“In your Scriptures doesn’t God say, ‘You are gods’? You can’t argue with the Scriptures, and God spoke to those people and called them gods. So why do you accuse me of a terrible sin for saying that I am the Son of God? After all, it is the Father who prepared me for this work. He is also the one who sent me into the world. If I don’t do as my Father does, you should not believe me. But if I do what my Father does, you should believe because of that, even if you don’t have faith in me. Then you will know for certain that the Father is one with me, and I am one with the Father.”
Again they wanted to arrest Jesus. But he escaped and crossed the Jordan to the place where John had earlier been baptizing. While Jesus was there, many people came to him. They were saying, “John didn’t work any miracles, but everything he said about Jesus is true.” A lot of those people also put their faith in Jesus. (John 10:34-42)
In Jesus’ day, the Caesar of Rome believed himself to be a god. So had many other kings throughout history. Jesus told his critics that even God called some of them “gods.” Of course, when God called the kings “gods,” he was being sarcastic. In Psalm 82, God referred to the kings of the Earth as “gods” as he criticized them for their actions. In Ezekiel’s prophesy, God addressed the king of Tyre as a “god” and then inquired if he’d continue to insist on his divinity in the face of those who killed him.
Why did Jesus reference such Old Testament usage to respond to the criticism of a religious establishment objecting to Jesus’ claim to be God? The religious leaders of Israel would never accuse God of blasphemy for calling monarchs “gods.” They understood the reason God did it. Therefore, Jesus suggested that they should not be so quick to judge him a blasphemer. Instead, they needed to consider the miracles that Jesus was performing, miracles that went far beyond any miracles ever performed by anyone. Unlike the kings of the world who claimed to be God, Jesus had proof.
Jesus said that he is God. He challenged those around him to either believe or not, based on what he said and based on what he did. Jesus’ challenge remains for those who hear him today.