Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus is essentially on trial. The reader is forced to make a decision around every corner about whether he or she accepts the claims of Jesus or the claims of His opponents: the Jews.
In the second half of John 10, Jesus is in the midst of one of His many showdowns with the Jews. After claiming that He and the Father are one (vs. 30), the Jews, believing Him to be guilty of blasphemy, pick up stones to stone Him (vs. 31; cf. John 8:58-59). Rather than running away, Jesus stands His ground and asks His would-be executioners a penetrating question: ”I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” (vs. 32).
Jesus had indeed showed them many good works such as healing a lame man of thirty-eight years (John 5) and a man born blind (John 9). Jesus wants His opponents to point to at least one of His many good works that would justify their desire to throw stones at Him.
Imagine if the Jews had actually answered His question directly rather than circumventing it (John 10:33). Imagine if they had said, ”We are going to stone you because you healed a man born blind.” This certainly would not have endeared them to those standing around on this occasion. How could anyone object to curing someone born blind? In fact, how could anyone object to any of the good works that Jesus did?
The irony is hard to miss in this exchange between Jesus and the Jews. The Jews should have seen in Jesus’ works or signs that He was not guilty of blasphemy. Jesus could not have done what He did if the Father had not been with Him (cf. John 3:2). Jesus proved His supernatural origin by His supernatural works. Jesus’ works validated His words. The Jews unfortunately ignored the evidential value of His works and focused exclusively on His words. Those who do not ignore Jesus’ works are forced to admit that He was indeed the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:30-31).
Pulaski Street church of Christ