November 13, 2020 – Friday
John 10:22-27 NIV
22 Then came the Festival of Dedication (aka Hanukkah) at Jerusalem. It was winter,
23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.
24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in My Father’s name testify about 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.
In verses 22 and 23 above we find Jesus walking in the temple courts, but He was not simply walking about. He was teaching as well. It is interesting that these verses occur during Hanukkah or the Festival of Dedication which had only been in existence for about 200 years. Somewhere around 166 B.C. Judah Maccabee let a successful revolt against the rulers who had desecrated the temple. After winning the revolt, Judah called on his followers to cleanse the Second Temple, rebuild its altar and light its menorah—the gold candelabrum whose seven branches represented knowledge and creation and were meant to be kept burning every night.
It was in the midst of this celebration that the Jewish leadership there in Solomon’s Colonnade asked Jesus, How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly. But this was not a serious question for they were very aware of His many miracles which could only have been done by the Messiah or Son of Man – a man anointed by God. What they really wanted was some verbal reply so that they could accuse Him of blasphemy for they had already rejected Him.
The first part of His reply is very telling, I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in My Father’s name testify about Me, but you do not believe because you are not My sheep. My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. He makes it clear His miracles (works) provide sufficient testimony as to who and what He is. Why did they not believe, why did they not know His voice to where they would follow Him? He provided the answer in Matthew 12:34 when He addressed a group of them You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Then again in Matthew 23:33, You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? The point is they could not hear His voice as they followed the voice of Satan, their father. Even John the Baptist called them a brood of vipers (in Matthew 3:7 and Luke 3:7) when they came to see his baptism efforts. He did not believe they would repent but would claim Abraham as their father as if that is all that mattered. With no repentance John said they would have no fruit of repentance. He and Jesus both knew their hearts.
They could not believe because Jesus was offering salvation and eternal life for those who would follow Him when He went on to say, I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand. But this only happens to those who believe, who saw His miracles for what they were, acts of God. While the Pharisees witnessed or those they trusted witnessed His miracles they still could not believe. Why are we able to believe? Because as Paul would write a few decades later in Romans 1:18-20 we do not deny what we see, The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Paul was not saying the Romans were without excuse, but everyone, all people. And this was certainly true of the Jewish leaders Jesus was addressing.
Jesus went on to say the following about those who would follow Him (v28-29), I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. Then He added, I and the Father are one, at which point they accused Him of blasphemy and prepared to stone Him to death. They did this without asking how the many miracles could have been done without a special relationship between Him and the Father. In arguing with Him they let Him make an irrefutable statement (v36-38), Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe Me unless I do the works of My Father. 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 in the Father. They could not believe or acknowledge the works and thus could not believe He was in the Father and the Father was in Him. Thus, like those who had desecrated the temple two centuries earlier, they defiled the truth that was in front of them – the Messiah, the Son of Man.
Prayer: Heavenly Father – Thank you for letting us know the reality of You in the world around us as Your miracles surround us with sunrises, sunsets, the cry of a baby, the flight of a bird, a blade of grass forcing its way through the earth, the soft wind on our face, the taste of cool water on a hot day, and so many others. Your reality and miracles surround us when we open our hearts to You. Please keep our hearts, the eyes of our hearts, always open to You. – In Jesus name. Amen.