The Book of John chronicles several events that document the hatred the Jewish leaders had for Jesus as he gained thousands of followers. These Jewish leaders had become so dependent on their own power as the keepers of the Jewish law, they had lost sight of the true God that was in their midst.
In chapter five of the Book of John, Jesus heals a paralyzed man on the Sabbath which causes the Jewish leaders to confront Him for working on the day of rest. When Jesus tells them that it is His Father who is doing the work, the Jewish leaders are insulted. They believe Jesus is trying to make Himself equal to God and for this they want to kill Him.
“In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” John 5:17 (NIV)
Jesus then spends a lot of time explaining His relationship to God the Father, but it’s clear the Jewish leaders are not interested in this teaching.
After this, Jesus traveled to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee followed by a crowd of thousands who had seen or heard of the miracles He has performed. When Jesus turned to His disciples and asked how they would feed everyone, all they could come up with was five loaves of bread and two fish. Miraculously the five loaves and two fish were able to feed thousands, until they were satisfied, with still more left over. At this point the crowd wanted to appoint Jesus as their king, but Jesus didn’t want that so he traveled on.
The next day, when the crowd caught up to Jesus again, they questioned Him about what it is that God requires of them. Jesus told the crowd that they needed to believe in Him, but he phrased this statement in a way that was hard for many to accept.
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:51 (NIV)
Many people didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about, and were repulsed by Him saying they needed to eat His flesh. Many turned away from Him at this point.
After this, Jesus sent His disciples ahead to Judea for the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles. Because the Jewish leaders were still looking for a way to kill Him, Jesus secretly made his way into Judea for the festival and casually worked his way to the temple courts to speak.
Over three days Jesus made his claim to be doing the work of God His father, which further angered the Jewish leaders, who Jesus accused of being tools of the devil for not believing Him. Still the guards did not arrest Jesus because much of the crowd believed Him to be the Messiah.
On His final day at the festival, Jesus once again stood in the temple courts to deliver His message and this time included a statement proclaiming Him to be the illuminating presence of God.
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NIV)
At this point the Jewish leaders picked up stones with which to kill Him but He was able to slip away unharmed.
Jesus continued His travel towards Jerusalem and on the way returns vision to a blind man on the Sabbath, again angering the Jewish leaders. In the debate that follows, the Jewish leaders are left to answer how a man can heal the blind if He is not sent by God. When confronted, Jesus again spends a good deal of time educating the Jewish leaders about His relationship to God and to His followers but they are not interested. Their intent is to kill Him for blasphemy for claiming to be God, but Jesus makes the point He is indeed set apart as the true temple where God’s presence dwells.
“What about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?” John 10:36 (NIV)
Again they tried to capture Jesus but he was able to slip away, but not before letting them know in no uncertain terms who He was precisely claiming to be.
“I and the Father are one.” John 10:30 (NIV)
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