18 For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

John wrote his gospel to help clarify who Jesus was. As you may recall, the context of this verse is John 5, where Jesus had healed a lame man on the Sabbath and told him to take up his mat and walk. The Jews inquired about this, trying to catch Jesus in a trap. They wanted to call Him out. They wanted to find Him at fault for doing something that He shouldn’t. They believed it was against the law to heal on the Sabbath. They punished others for breaking the Sabbath.

This is an astounding text. In His response to the accusations of these religious officials, Jesus declared Himself equal with God. This was a profoundly brave act and one of the most radical statements in the entire Word of God.

The truth is not always easy to hear. This declaration was heard, but not readily received by many in the crowd that day—especially by the religious leaders. They didn’t understand. They were infuriated upon hearing what they perceived to be such “sacrilegious filth.” Thus, the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill Jesus. Even so, God used their ill-intentioned schemes to ultimately bring about good. For even in their endless pursuit of Jesus, the world would be rescued through His death.

• Has your belief in the exclusivity of Jesus for salvation ever been misperceived as arrogance? Why is it important to maintain this?

• How might you seek to invite others into belief in Jesus as God Himself?

• Pray that God would give you a spirit of boldness to proclaim the truth about Him.