No question about it. By all appearances it was blasphemy. Jesus said, speaking of Himself, The Father and I are one (John 10:30). In today’s tolerant world, perhaps this would have been overlooked as the ranting of a madman, or the statement of someone claiming some kind of spiritual “connection” with God (‘you have your way to God, I have my way’). But in the world in which Jesus lived, this was blasphemy, plain and simple: you, though only a human being, are making yourself God (John 10: 33).
These days, I have been most struck by the fact that Jesus was a very real human being. I have identified with Him in the very real situations, temptations, emotions, and thoughts which He exhibits which seem to be parallel to mine, as a very real human being. I am sensing this lovely connection between the man Jesus and this man writing now. It has made me more aware of the lovely heart of Jesus for me, and His compassionate understanding of my struggles.
But, make no mistake about it, the New Testament as a whole affirms that this Jesus, though fully human, is also God. He demonstrates this, not only in “I am God” statements such as these, but also in actions such as forgiving someone who has sinned against God and others. The framers of the historic creeds were correct when they wrote their statements to counterract the human tendency to bring Jesus down to our level, to make Him less than God. And yet, there is the equal tendency to elevate Jesus above our level, to make Him more than human.
So I suppose that, if you read verse 30 of today’s reading, and it feels to you like blasphemy, then I believe you’re on the right track with Jesus. For, fully human (and, as his accusers indicated, only a human), He would be blaspheming indeed. And yet, isn’t it equally blasphemous that God, the Creator of the universe, would claim to be human, and would, in fact, begin life among us as a couple of cells?
The blasphemous wonder of it all. Receive it, and revel in it!