Summary: As part of our ongoing study in the book of John, we are spending several messages examining some of the claims of Christ. In each of these messages we are seeing different ways that Jesus claims to be God. Today we will see Christ’s claim that He is Go
I think I was as shocked as everybody on Friday. I was studying in my office at home when I got an email about our president winning the Nobel Peace Prize. I thought it was a joke until I checked several news sources and found out it’s true. Now, you know how I feel about politics. As Christians, our main political responsibility is to pray for whoever it is that’s in office. But I have to tell you, this absolutely took the cake. I thought I might have been confused, so I went back to look at the purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize. It was started by a man named Alfred Nobel. He was the inventor of dynamite. Over his lifetime, he made a fortune selling military weapons. Late in his life, a newspaper called him “the merchant of death”. They credited him with becoming “rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before.” I don’t know if he felt guilty or what, but he decided to put all of his fortune into a trust fund, so that when he died, it would be given out as a peace prize each year. In his will, he said that the Peace Prize should be awarded “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promoting of peace congresses.” So, if that’s supposed to be the criteria for winning the Peace Prize, no wonder so many people were surprised. Even somebody on his own staff thought it was a joke when they heard about it. Now, politics aside, why is that? Because the Nobel Peace Prize is supposed to be a tremendous honor. And everybody can recognize when honor is given to someone who doesn’t deserve it. And the fact is, that he hasn’t been in office long enough to do anything to deserve it. Mark Twain once said, “It is better to deserve honors and not have them, than to have them and not deserve them.” Honor should only be given to those who deserve it. And the level of honor should only be commensurate with the level of honor that person deserves. That’s why the words of Jesus in our passage this morning are so stunning. Jesus is telling the Jewish leaders that He deserves honor. In and of itself, that’s not so stunning. Because, throughout history, people have given Jesus different levels of honor. People say that He was a good man. They say that He was a wonderful teacher. Some even say that He was a great prophet. That’s what Muslims say. Mormons would say that Jesus deserves honor because He is the first of all created beings. Very few people would say that they give Jesus no honor. But let me ask you something. Is it truly honor to give someone less honor than they truly deserve? No, it’s not. Just as it’s not really honor to give someone honor that they really don’t deserve. When President Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize, all it did was discredit the integrity of the honor. It made the honor itself worthless. And that’s the exact same thing that happens when a person is given honor—but it’s less honor than they truly deserve. Think of it like this—when you were in grade school, if you got a 100% on a paper, the teacher might have given you a gold star sticker. That honor would be perfectly in line with your accomplishment. But think about this. If you fought through 8 years of college and grad school, then spent two years working on your 500 page doctoral dissertation, spent all day in front of a panel of professors defending it, and when you were finished, they handed you a gold star sticker, that wouldn’t quite match would it? The gold star sticker was honor. But it didn’t match the accomplishment. So, since it fell short of the accomplishment, it really wasn’t honor at all. It was an insult. That’s the thing about honor. If you give too much honor where it really isn’t deserved, it discredits the honor to the point where it’s worthless. And if you don’t give enough honor where it is truly deserved, it’s still worthless and even insulting. So, back to these incredibly stunning words that Jesus told the Jewish leaders in verse 23. He covered both sides of the coin, didn’t He? He said, “Here’s the kind of honor that I deserve.” “I deserve the exact same kind of honor that God the Father deserves.” And then He flipped the coin. He said, “If you don’t give me that kind of honor, you’re insulting God.” In other words, if you honor the Father as God, you must also honor the Son as God. Don’t try to give Jesus a gold star sticker. I want us to give Jesus the honor that He deserves this morning. I want us to see Him for who He is. I don’t want us to short change Him. But in order to do that, we need to figure out what kind of honor Jesus truly deserves. Throughout this whole passage, Jesus has been telling the Jewish leaders all of the ways that He is God. So the question is, As God, what kind of honor does Jesus deserve? He deserves our fear. He deserves our worship. He deserves our service. And He deserves our sacrifice. First, as God, Jesus deserves our fear.