23 March • Thursday of the Fourth Week in Lent
22. At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
31. The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?”
33. The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’?
35. If he called them gods to whom the word of God came— and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
40. He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained.
41. And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.”
The whole of John 10 illustrates Jesus as the Good shepherd. As the Good shepherd, He tends His sheep in fulfilling their needs, strengthening them and protects them. Above all Jesus describes His relationship with the sheep belonging to Him. This passage also describes the sheep which does not belong to Jesus’ fold.
John opens this episode stating the celebration for which Jesus and the religious leaders met at the temple. He also describes the weather condition—winter, which can be cold and wet. Despite the season and the situation, we see these leaders coming to Jesus and asking Him to plainly tell if He is the Christ. Jesus answered, ‘I did tell you’. Even at many instances before this chapter, Jesus had very plainly told of His divinity and His relationship with God. In John 9:37, Jesus declared that He is the Son of Man prophesied by Daniel. Jesus brought this to an end when He said, ‘You do not believe because you are not my sheep’ (v.26).
Then, who are the flock of His fold? What are their characteristics and behaviours? Jesus specified some of the supreme privileges of those who believe in him.
They are a summoned group—My sheep listen to my voice (v.27). The call of Christ has brought them into a new relationship with him (I know them). This relationship in turn leads to a new lifestyle (they follow me). The proof of faith is obedience.
They are a gifted group—The gift they receive in following Christ is Eternal Life (v.28). All who believe him will live. The eternal new life in his Kingdom is in heaven.
They are a secured group—no-one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand (v.29). Just as the shepherd protects his sheep, Jesus protects his people from eternal harm. He has committed himself to them. There are many reasons to be afraid here on earth because this is a devil’s domain (1 Peter 5:8). But if you choose to follow Jesus, he will be your everlasting safety.
Above all, we, as the people of His flock know that He is the Son of God in a unique, unparalleled relationship of oneness with the Father. Jesus Christ is God! Amen.
Thank You Jesus for calling me to a new relationship with You. You are the Lord of my life. Help me to trust in You each day and walk in newness of life. In the matchless name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
How do I see Jesus in my life today? Is He the Lord of my Life? Do I fully trust Him?
Rev Philip S Abraham
Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference