Read John 10:22-42
22Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade. 24The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
25Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, 26but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30I and the Father are one.”
31Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?"
33"We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
34Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? 35If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came — and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God's Son’? 37Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. 38But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 39Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
40Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. Here he stayed 41and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a miraculous sign, all that John said about this man was true.” 42And in that place many believed in Jesus. (NIV)
Here we see that Jesus is confronted by the Jewish leadership. They want him to plainly say that he is the Messiah. But he doesn’t. Instead, he says he has already said who he was. He points to two things that take us back to the Old Testament. The first is the deeds he has done which take us back to Isaiah. Isaiah wrote this prophecy of the Messiah in Isaiah 35:5-6:
5Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. (NIV) These are the things Jesus was doing in his miracles. But the Jewish leaders failed to make the connection.
The second thing is that in Deuteronomy 18:15-16:
15The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. 16For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” (NIV)
Jesus is the one who is worth listening to. But Jesus couches the teaching with the image of sheep only hearing their shepherd’s voice. Those who belong to him hear him and follow him. This is a big test of faith for us. Do we hear Christ’s teaching and follow it? I think we still like to be like the Jewish leaders and pick and choice what we hear and what we obey.
In verses 29 and 30, we get the great promise that as long as we walk with Jesus and listen to his voice, we cannot be snatched away. We are safe in the fold.
In the second half of today’s reading, we get this strange sounding argument. To understand it, we must look at the passage Jesus is referring to. The reference to verse 34 about humans being called gods is in Exodus chapter 21. It is here the law says a servant must be freed after the 7th year. But it the servant does not want to leave, but remain in the service of the master, there is a procedure to follow and one is to do this procedure before a “judge.” We read this in Exodus 21:1, where it says, “his master must take him before the judges.” Him being the servant who does not want to be freed. The word for judges here is Elohim which we normally translate gods. For Jesus, he takes this passage and uses it to say that he has a special calling on his life, that he is consecrated for this great work, much like the “judges” were given a special task to do in life.
The end result is that John tells us that many believed while the Jewish leaders and others did not. And this is the question we face daily, do we believe the words of Christ as given us through Scripture and other means? Are we ready to take the ultimate test each day, a test that leads from death to life that says we will not only listen, but believe and follow? Thankfully we do not have to have perfect faith, but a faith that grows over time. Have you notice a change in your faith and belief over time? What does it mean to hear Christ’s teaching?
Other questions? Comment?
Blessings and Peace