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John 10:31-42 Study Guide: The Works of God

Community Group Study Guide — The Works of God
John 10:31-42

Study Information:
You can know a lot about someone by what they actually do. People's actions show us what they are actually like; does someone spends quality time with their family, invest in serving others, spends time in recreation or fill in the blank? All of those activities reveal aspects of one’s character. For example, if someone is perpetually grumpy it may reveal that they have a low tolerance for being interrupted. Or, if someone is generous with their money it may show that they care for others or maybe they give to make a name for themselves. Maybe you really value family and friendships and it is obvious because of the way you invest your time there.

One key aspect of Jesus that John focused on was that Jesus came to make the Father known (John 1:18). Jesus made the Father known by what he taught and what he did. In our scripture passage the Pharisees and religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus because he was upsetting their power and in their minds committing blasphemy by claiming to be God. Jesus turned the conversation back on them and asks them “for which of the good works that I’ve done do you want to kill me for?” In this section of John we will learn how Jesus told them clearly that he was one with the Father and did these good works to show us what God is like.

The Good Works of God:
John 10:13-32
The beginning of the gospel of John started out with what’s called John’s prologue where he introduces Jesus as the eternal Word of God made flesh. As the gospel moves forward you see the themes from John 1:1-18 come up again and again. Jesus’ eternality, identity as the light of the world, not being received by his people and how he makes the glory of God known (John 1:1-4, 9, 11, 14-18). John’s introduction helps us understand what he thought was important for us to know about Jesus and one of those key things is that Jesus’ good works were not done for building up his own standing or to amaze people; rather his good works were to reveal God’s glory. Glory is one’s character, fame and reputation and Jesus’ actions help us know more about what God is like.

Jesus had been teaching and ministering for 2 years and while some other gospels focus on a variety of miracles that had been done up to this point, John calls out only 6 in particular up to this point. Jesus is about to perform his “seventh sign” in John 11 when he raised Lazarus from the dead, which was the culmination of the miracles he performed and pointed to his own coming resurrection about 10 days later. When Jesus points to his good works he is pointing back to the previous 6 “signs” he has done to reveal his identity as the Word made Flesh. These signs were:
  • Turning water into wine (John 2:1-11)
  • Healing the official’s son from far off (John 4:46-54)
  • Healing the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-17)
  • Feeding the 5,000 (John 6:1-15)
  • Walking on water (John 6:16-21)
  • Restoring sight to the man born blind (John 9)

Each of these signs points to the power of God and the love of God. Jesus had power over all creation as the one for whom and by whom all things were made; and he expressed his love through compassion and kindness to people in need.

John 10 is the halfway point in the gospel of John but it is near the end of Jesus’ life. He will go to the cross in just a little over a weeks time. Jesus is telling the hyper critical religious leaders, “what in my life causes you to hate me so much and want to see me killed?” And what we see is that they despised Jesus because Jesus revealed to them a God that they actually hated. It is impossible to love God and not love Jesus, because Jesus reveals to us the character of God through his works.

Are you the Messiah?
John 10:33-42
There are only a handful of times Jesus plainly said he was the Christ. The Jews here want to use his statement against him and they are not asking with open and honest minds and hearts. With that said, we can tell though what they thought Jesus claimed about himself by their response. When Jesus said “I and the Father are one” and that his works pointed to the Father, they respond with wanting to kill him for blasphemy. Jesus told them and us that he was more than just a good teacher or a nice man. They rightly “accuse” Jesus of making himself equal with God because Jesus was God in the flesh (John 1:14, 18).  

Any cult or false teaching that desires to appear to be “Christian” usually ignores or changes Jesus’ statements about his divine nature, like this one. The response of the Jews here is important. Why would they want to kill him if he was just a nice guy? The Jewish leaders rightly interpreted Jesus claiming to be God and they charged him with blasphemy. They could not understand that God himself could take on creation in order to redeem and to save it.

John 10 ends with the crowds continuing to wonder about Jesus and divide over who he is. They responded here by comparing him to John the Baptist and pointing out the irony that people accepted John’s teaching even without all the powerful works but they denied Jesus even though he did all those incredible miracles. Yet, the passage ends with more people believing in Jesus and following him as disciples.

As you read and understand the good works that Jesus did you get a greater glimpse of the character and glory of God. This should increase a Christian’s love for God, but for the Pharisees it just stirred up their hatred for Jesus.

At your community group:

Take 15-20 minutes to share about how God has been at work in your life, prayer concerns and pray for one another.

How did God speak to you through the scripture and the sermon this week?

Discussion Questions:

Read John 10:31-42

How do the seven signs in the gospel of John help us understand the glory of God?

What do the Jews want to do to Jesus and how does this help us understand what they thought about the message of his teaching?

How would you use these verses to help someone who is struggling with assurance of their salvation and questions about who Jesus is?