Do You Just Admire Jesus? (excerpt from message by John Piper)
We are a people who worship the Lord Jesus. Let that sink in. We worship the Lord Jesus. There are places in the world where that will get you killed. We don’t just admire him. We don’t just swear allegiance to him. We don’t just follow him. We are not just Christ followers. We worship Jesus.
We worship him as God Almighty — omnipotent, eternal, never having had a beginning, all-wise, Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of the universe. We worship Jesus as God, one with the Father, one with the Spirit. We worship God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — one God in three persons. We worship Jesus.
“We are not just Christ followers. We worship Jesus.”
That’s the context of John 10:1–21. That’s where Jesus is taking us again. It’s where he took us in John 9, and it’s where he’s taking us again. Jesus healed a blind man at the beginning of chapter 9, and there were 41 verses of controversy over that. And do you remember what happened? The blind man’s sight got clearer and clearer and clearer, and the blindness of the Pharisees got darker and darker and darker. John 9:24: So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.”
Then look at John 9:38, the apex of the text: “He said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him.” That’s what it all came down to. There is no fence-sitting in the end. It’s either blasphemy or worship. “This man’s a sinner. He’s not God.” That’s one possible response right now. Or, “‘I believe,’ and he worshiped.”
That’s what it all comes down to. That’s what it all comes down to in life and in this service. There is no position in between. You’re kidding yourself if you think so. There’s no fence to sit on. Blaspheme or worship — that’s all there is. That’s what life comes down to. That’s what eternity comes down to. All eternity we’ll be blaspheming in hell or worshiping in heaven. That’s all there is now.
He’s just said some amazing things in John 10 — outrageous things, crazy things — and it caused another division. John 10:19: “There was again a division among the Jews because of these words.” That’s what happens when Jesus talks or I talk for him. “Many of them said, ‘He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?’ Others said, ‘These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?’” (John 10:20–21).
That’s what it all comes down to. He is insane or he’s God. Let me show you why I think the issue comes down to insanity, which is plain, or God, which isn’t plain yet. I’ll tell you where I get that. He has just said something about his power in verses 17–18 which leaves no fence-sitting. He’s either insane in the way he talks or he’s God. John 10:17–18: “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
That’s crazy. Or, if you think about it a minute, of course Jesus has the authority to lay down his life. So do you and any other mortal man who wants to jump in front of a truck, or off the cliff, or put himself between a bullet and a loved one. Yes, you have that authority.
“Blaspheme or worship — that’s all there is. That’s what life comes down to.”
But when you’re dead, you’re dead. You don’t have the authority to “undead” yourself, do you? Does anybody? This is insane. That’s not an unusual response to someone who says, “If you kill me, I will take my life back.” That’s crazy. Nobody can do that — except God in the flesh.
So it all comes down to this. It came down to this in John 9. It’s coming down in John 10. It’s going to come down to this again and again. “These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31) — meaning, he’s divine.