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Mad, Bad Or God

  John 10:17-21
"The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life - only to take it up again. No-one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father." At these words the Jews were again divided. Many of them said, "He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?" But others said, "These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"

Jesus did amazing miracles and preached great wisdom; but who was He? That question refused to go away. Every time Jesus spoke or acted with authority, He challenged the position of the religious leaders and made everybody wonder about His true identity. What He did was so compassionate and kind, so uniquely powerful; what He said was considered to be blasphemous because He claimed to be equal with God. There were only three possible explanations: either, Jesus was God as He claimed; or He was mentally unwell and deceived people; or He has special powers from Satan and therefore He was evil. Mad, bad or God.
But the option of being a good teacher, was excluded because He claimed to be 'one with the Father', and therefore God in a human body. So some Jews decided that Jesus must be either demonised or mentally ill or both. But their assessment was challenged by others who saw that His power was constructive whereas Satan's would always be destructive. To think that Jesus was demonised or mad simply did not fit the facts. And His claim to have authority to sacrifice His own life and then to become alive again was only possible if He was God.
The identity of Jesus continues to be a puzzle to many people. He does not fit any known human category. He is too powerful to be an ordinary man, and wiser than even the best teacher. But His claim to be in control of human life - to be authorised by God to lay it down and then to take it up again - means He must be God ... and that was proved when He died and rose again. The death and resurrection of Jesus was the message of the Gospel, calling people from different cultures and religious backgrounds to believe in the Man who is God. Wherever you work or live, it is the same gospel which is powerful to save all those who believe. But they will not be able to believe unless they hear it; and that means you tell them!

Holy God. Thank You that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be and proved His words when He sacrificed His life, and then rose from the dead. I am sorry that I have often been more interested in my own life or the life of the church, and have not been active in proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord. Please help me to understand the wonderful uniqueness of His character, and be willing to share what I know with those around me at work and in the community. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams