John 10:22 Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade. 24 The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." 25 Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one."
We live in a changing, uncertain, insecure world.
For example: global warming; violence - Virginia shootings, shootings and stabbings in the U.K. ; terrorism; wars; many people are concerned about their pensions.
Where is our security as Christians? In God.
How can we be sure of this?
The Promise of Jesus.
Verses 28f. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.
Jesus tells us that eternal life is a gift. Therefore it is free, unconditional and undeserved.
Verse 29 says that believes are a gift from God to Jesus.
Isn't that incredible. You and I are so precious to God that he gave us to Jesus! Doesn't that fill you with wonder, awe, thanksgiving and praise?!!
Believers will not perish, that is to say be cut off from God. He promised that no one can take this gift away. Unlike our health, money, popularity and all the other things people rely upon in this world.
The Person of Jesus.
A promise is only as good as the one making the promise. We are coming up to the local government elections and one of the questions politicians have to answer is, "Can you deliver the promises you are making? How can we be sure?"
We can be sure of Jesus because he always keeps His promises. We can be sure of Jesus because His words are the words of God and God is supreme, "greater than all", verse 29.
In verse 30 Jesus claimed to be God. 30 "I and the Father are one." We know this was the case because in verses 31-33 the Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy and tried to kill Him!
We can trust in Jesus because He is God. Because His words are true. Because He has the power and the resolution to carry this out.
Some people will ignore this. In verse 25 Jesus told the Jews that his words and his miracles testified to who He is, but they did not trust in Him. It has to affect the way we live our lives.
The Presence of Jesus.
Earlier in this Chapter, verses 11 & 14, Jesus had described himself as the "good shepherd". In the Old Testament the leaders of God's people were compared to shepherds, sometimes bad ones ( Ezekiel 34 ).
In Jesus' day the sheep knew the voice of the shepherd and he led them to water, pasture and safety. The shepherd has a personal relationship with the sheep. When the sheep failed to follow the shepherd they were exposed to hunger, thirst, danger and death.
Verse 27. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
We hear His voice and are with Him. We hear His voice through the Bible, in prayer, through hymns and songs, through Christian books, through sermons, and other believers. We have to hear and follow. To obey Jesus' teaching. To follow His example. Unless we follow we cannot be part of His flock and experience the blessings that this brings.
This includes the blessing of "eternal life", verse 28. A life lived in a right relationship with God. This is about quality and quantity. The quality is the right relationship we have with God through trusting in Jesus. This begins now. So we enjoy eternal life now. This relationship will not be severed by anything, not even physical death. This is the quantity.
Jesus is the good shepherd. We can trust Him now and into eternity.
sermonblog comments [ 2007 ]:-
Jesus is the Christ, his word & works show this, verse 25. He said he was the good shepherd, v11,14, and his sheep are God's people, an Old Testament picture (Ezek. 34).
His sheep believe, v26. That is to say they display a radical trust in him
They listen and follow, verse 27. This involves listening, understanding, imitating and obeying. For us that means knowing God's word and putting it into practice.
His sheep are a gift to Jesus from God. You and I are this gift from God! Surely this should bring praise, wonder, joy, even incredulity!
Believers receive eternal life, v28. This is about quality and quantity. The quality is the right relationship we have with God through trusting in Jesus. This begins now. So we enjoy eternal life now. This relationship will not be severed by anything, not even physical death. This is the quantity.
Security. "no one..." v28,29. Those whose trust is genuine, as evidenced by the listening and following ( above ) can be secure in Jesus, God the father, and the promise of His word. We need fear nothing and no-one. We can be bold to live for Him and to tell others about Him.
6/5/01 6 p.m. John 10:22-30 : 4th Sunday of Easter
Before our gospel reading today John records that Jesus had healed a man who had been blind since birth. This incensed the Pharisees who were spiritually blind, even though they claimed to be able to see. This compounded their guilt, said Jesus ( 9:41 ).
In the first section of Chapter 10 Jesus has been describing himself as the Good Shepherd. This is in contrast to the bad shepherd who is in it for his own personal gain. A not very veiled attack upon the Pharisees' religious leadership.
It was the Feat of Dedication, verse 22. This was a relatively recent Jewish celebration in Jesus' day. It celebrated the freeing and purifying of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem from the occupying Syrian forces in 164 B.C. The man who led the Jewish forces was Judas Maccabeus.
Therefore, the freeing of the Jews from the rule of a foreign, occupying force would have been in the forefront of the Jews thinking at this time.
Of course the Jewish expectation of the Messiah at this time was that he would throw out the occupying Roman forces and establish a prosperous Jewish kingdom that would last forever. This may be why there was debate in Jerusalem about Jesus. Verses 20f.,. 20Many of them said, "He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?"
21But others said, "These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?" This introduces the theme of today's passage. Who is Jesus ? Something that is asked in verse 24. We also see different responses to Jesus.
C.S.Lewis wrote, 'A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said wouldn't be a great moral teacher. He'd either be a lunatic - on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was and is the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse... But don't let us come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He hasn't left that open to us. He didn't intend to.'
Today when some people talk about Jesus they will that they believe that he existed and that he was a good man and/or a good teacher. But the claims of Jesus are so extravagant that we either have to agree with the Jews in verse 20, that Jesus is demon-possessed and mad. Or we have to accept Jesus claims to be God that he makes in verse 30.
Jesus was walking in a covered area near the temple where , on other occasions, he had have taught. The crowd encircle him. They show their impatience. Asking him if he is the Christ in verse 24. Because of the wrong expectations the Jewish people had of the Christ, Messiah, or anointed one, Jesus avoided stating that he was the Christ on this, and many other occasions.
In verse 25 Jesus stated that his teaching and his miracles, or literally, works, demonstrate who he is.
In verse 30 he then boldly declares "I and the Father are one". What did he mean by this?
Well he certainly did not mean that he was an additional God.
He was saying that there is one God but two persons. Now, there is also God the Holy Spirit but Jesus did not speak about him here.
Jesus was claiming equality with God the Father. We know this is true because elsewhere Jesus claims the authority to forgive sins which is something only God can do.
Jesus was also referring to a unity of will and actions of himself and God the Father. We see this in verse 37. "Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does."
Jesus was also referring to a unique relationship that he has with the Father. In verse 36 he refers to himself as God's Son, and in verse 38 that he is in the Father and the Father is in him.
In verses 31 and 38 the Jews tried to stone Jesus. This was the punishment for blasphemy decreed in Leviticus 24:16. This is something ignored by the Jehovah's witnesses when you quote John 10:30 at them to support the deity of Jesus. They say that Jesus was not claiming to be God. But the Jews knew who he was claiming to be. They didn't misunderstand him because, on two occasions they started to stone him and on neither occasion does Jesus correct them and say, "No, you misunderstand me." But he affirms his close relationship with God the Father. Claiming superiority to those beings called gods by God in Psalm 82:6. ( verses 35-36 ).
Jesus claimed to be God. It is not blasphemy as the Jews understood it for two reasons. Firstly, it was true. But they did not stand back to consider whether the person, teaching, and miracles of Jesus were consistent with the character of God.
Secondly, blasphemy was thought of as a man making himself to be God. But Jesus is God, who made himself a man.
So Jesus is God and man. It is the most mind blowing news that there has ever been. Therefore, we should tell people about it.
It also demands a response from everyone. We read of two responses in our passage. The response of those who are called the sheep, and of the Jews, a wide term that would have included a crowd of people including the religious leaders.
The Jews, generally, did not believe in Jesus. That is to say they did not acknowledge that he is the Messiah, and they did not trust and follow him.
So their response was one of unbelief. This led them to condemnation and violence. They took upon themselves the role of judge and jury and decided to dispense the punishment of stoning Jesus without a trial.
But why did they not believe ? Verse 26, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.
This is an obscure answer until you answer the question, What is a sheep ? We see this in verse 29a, My Father, who has given them to me,
A sheep is someone chosen by God to be a follower of Jesus. Therepore, being a follower of Jesus is not about trying to be good. It is not about being born into a certain race or family, as the Jews were to discover. It is about being chosen by God. God chose people to believe in Jesus and be saved. This is the good news of the Christian faith.
We can be secure in our salvation in the knowledge that we are chosen by God. We do not have to try to be good enough for God. For we could never achieve that anyway. We do not need to rely on our birth. We rely on God's sovereign choice. True this will result in us wanting to follow God's ways and being better people. True it will involve us in ministering for him, and persevering in our faith. But these things will flow from our salvation. Not be the cause of our salvation.
What will the sheep do ? Well, contrary to popular opinion, they won't bleat all of the time !
Verse 27, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." Jesus' sheep listen to His voice and follow Him. In Jesus' day a shepherd would approach a pen full of many flocks of sheep and call to them. Those who were of his flock, would have recognised his voice and come to him. Thieves would try to imitate the call of a shepherd but they would not fool the sheep. There is an intimate relationship.
Jesus says, 'I know them...' A frightening and comforting thought ! Jesus knows everything about you and me. There are no secrets. But because of this deep knowledge of us we can be secure. It is not like an earthly relationship where someone may terminate a relationship when they discover what the other person is really like. Because Jesus knows us we can be secure. He loves us, warts and all !
Jesus continues that his sheep, 'follow me'. In the Middle East the sheep follow the shepherd, he leads them calling to them by name and as a group. A sheep is a lost sheep once it fails to follow, once it is no longer part of the flock. We need to hear Jesus voice. By reading the Bible, reading other books, listening to sermons, studying the Bible alone and in groups, praying individually and with others.
What will the sheep receive ? Earlier, in verse 10 Jesus says that his sheep will receive life in abundance. In verse 28 he says, 'I give them eternal life'. Notice it is a gift. Given. Free. Undeserved.
What is eternal life ? It is a life of quality and quantity.
Quality because it is the gift of a right relationship with God through Jesus death and resurrection. A life free from the chains of sin. Freed so we can love God and others. It is a life that can be enjoyed today, although we will not know it in all its fullness until we get to glory.
Quantity because it is a life that will endure with God outside time itself. It is more than everlasting because there will be no time. There are no watches in heaven.
Jesus goes on to reassure his sheep that, verse 29, My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. God is more powerful than anything or anyone. Therefore he is able and will hold onto those who are the sheep. There is no mint sauce in heaven !
Note that it is the power of God that is the means by which the sheep will be kept safe. Just as the sheep were kept safe by the ability of their shepherd to preserve them from wild animals and thieves, so we can depend on God. Not on our own merits or abilities.
So, whilst Jesus claims about himself and his gift of eternal life provoked anger and violence from the Jews, they can bring us joy and security. Joy of the promise of eternal life, a quality and quantity of life. Security, knowing that we can trust in Jesus to protect and lead us through our lives. Even when the way ahead seems difficult, uncertain and dangerous.