36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified [set apart] and sent into the world,
The words “sanctified” (set apart) and “sent into the world” point to the Father’s purpose for Jesus’ incarnate role on earth. The Father set the Son of God aside to come into the world. This was His eternal appointment. There should be no objection to the term “god,” especially when the Father set apart His own Son and sent Him into the world.
Jesus compared Himself with mere divinely commissioned men. The communication of divine dignity to human nature was not a foreign revelation in the Old Testament. Further, there is a contrast between Christ and human representatives of God. The difference for Jesus was that He was “sanctified and sent into the world.” If Jesus has been set apart by the Father, the term “Son of God” was no blasphemy.
‘You are blaspheming,’
Jesus’ logic is clear: if the Jews’ Scripture called human beings “gods” and Scripture cannot be broken, then where is their issue? If Scripture can apply the term “gods” to human beings, how much more should such vocabulary be applied to the Son of God? If the judges can be called “gods” in Scripture, how much more is this term appropriate for the genuine Son of God?
because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
Jesus explicitly declared Himself to be the Son of God (Jn 5:25). The point here was not that Jesus claimed that He was a mere man among men but that, insofar as Psalm 82 may be applied to men, it may be applied to Himself. He had been set apart on a mission from the Father. His argument was a “much more” issue. Jesus did not deny the charge that He was the Son of God but said that the Jews were wrong in their assessment of the situation.
Jesus’ argument was that, since Scriptures are inerrant and the Bible called judges “gods,” the Jews could not legitimately accuse Him of blasphemy. Since He was “sanctified” (set apart) and “sent into the world” by the Father, there was no adequate ground for a charge of blasphemy. The title “Son of God” goes further than anything they understood to this point.
The implication of Jesus’ argument here is that the Jews had no right to stone Him even if He were not the Son of God.
People who make rash interpretations about the Bible place themselves in danger of heresy.
The Father’s setting apart Jesus made Him different from any other man on earth. As the Son sent on a mission to the world, He was unique. The Father was in Him and He was in the Father.
People make a rash decision when they attempt to deny the deity of Christ. The Jews admitted the authority of Scriptures, which are faultless. That book asserted that certain men commissioned in the Old Testament were called “gods.” If that was true, then it was absurd to charge Jesus with blasphemy—the one who has the highest calling and commission of all. It was grossly inconsistent to hold to one and not the other.
Jesus put Himself in the category of the Bible (given by God) rather than the category of the recipients of the law. He was an agent, but He argued that He existed before coming into the world. He was “set apart” for this purpose. If the title “gods” had some relevance to mere men in the Psalms, then it was no stretch to think of God sending His co-equal Son in a human body to earth.
Christians are not tri-theists. We do not believe in three gods. Nor do we believe in three modes of manifestation of God (Monarchianism). We believe in one God who subsists in three persons, co-equal, co-eternal—Father, Son and Spirit.