d) Our security in the union of Father and Son (John 10:22-30)
22 It was the Feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem. 23 It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 The Jews therefore came around him and said to him, “How long will you hold us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you don’t believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, these testify about me. 26 But you don’t believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I told you.
The Feast of Dedication was an occasion for rejoicing and merriment, commemorating the restoration of the Temple after the exile to Babylon in 515 BC. It was the Maccabees who rebuilt it in 165 BC. The feast was held in early December, a season of cold and rain, since Jerusalem lies at the altitude of 750 meters.
On this occasion, Jesus, the persecuted, came again to the temple, preaching in Salomon’s porch where those visiting the temple would listen to him. This eastern porch is mentioned again in Acts 3:11 and 5:12.
At this point, the Jews prepared to attack Jesus. They demanded that he publicly announce whether he was the expected Messiah or not. What he had proclaimed about himself was loftier and more wide-ranging than people expected from their Messiah. Those added qualities over and above what they were looking for was a cause of stumbling. But some believed that Jesus might well be the true Messiah, because his person, authority and works proved impressive.
Thus, they tried to coerce Christ to sound a stirring call for a Christian national movement. After all, the feast was a memorial of the Maccabean uprising. They hoped he would officially demand his right to be king of the land, calling his people to arms. They were ready to follow him to war and cast away the shame of imperial rule from them. Jesus had other plans: humility, love and the change of minds. He did not say to the Jews that he was the Messiah, whereas he did so to the Samaritan woman. He also confessed to the man born blind regarding his divine glory. The Jews wanted a Messiah who was political and reckless; Jesus was a spiritual redeemer, and compassionate. The people dreamt of authority, freedom and honor. Jesus came urging self-denial, penitence and renewal. He announced his greatness, but they did not grasp this, for they demanded something he was not. Minds did not meet, and faith was not forthcoming in their hearts. They did not open their hearts to Jesus’ Spirit. His wonders were done in the name of his Father who upheld him and led him victorious.
The Jews were loth to hear about the bond between the Son and his Father as the foundation for their state. They demanded violence, money and aggrandizement, right up to this day.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Jesus is the meek Lamb of God; he calls his followers sheep and lambs, those who put on his nature. Their first quality is that they listen, because the Holy Spirit opened their minds and hearts, so that Jesus’ voice and his will penetrated into their depths, turning them into new creatures. Willing attention is the start of discipleship.
Christ knows all who heed the word personally; he loves them, sees their secrets, and knows the image into which he will mould them. True Christians are not sunk in aimlessness and unconcern. They are known and their names recorded in heaven. Each one is a miracle, God’s new creature.
Jesus is like a Good Shepherd; his sheep are used to his voice, and follow him with the joy of surrender to his leadership. They do not desire anything but the will of their Shepherd. All perverse thinking has no place in their hearts; they are meek lambs.
This change took place in them because of Christ’s work in them. He gave them God’s love, and the power to overcome death and sin. They will not die but live for ever, because they have his life, the gift of eternal life. They are freed from judgment and loss, from eternal death; justified by Christ’s blood.
None of the sheep bought by Christ’s blood will perish. He left heaven’s glory to save humanity, and suffered to give them life. He resolved to keep them at all cost. Are you confident in your Lord’s hands? Have you chosen the might of Christ and his ability? Either you live in the world of sin a wanderer or you are freed by the adoption of God’s children in Christ full of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord’s protection is greater than our work, for it extends beyond the horizon of our knowledge, we stand beside the Victor.
29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Some believers will have doubts with the thought that the young man Jesus will keep them from death, Satan and God’s wrath. This is beyond comprehension. That is why Jesus pointed his disciples to his Father and His omnipotence. He it was who chose every individual follower of Jesus. No man follows Jesus but by the will of God and His choice.
God the Father is responsible for those who cling to His Son. The Father is the Great One, omnipotent. Jesus did not please himself but submitted to his Father.
For this measure of self-denial, the fullness of deity was in him. Some speak as if Christ is inferior to his Father. But the constitution of the Holy Spirit tells us that he who exalts himself will be abased, and he who abases himself shall be exalted. Because Jesus gave all the glory to his Father, He had the right to say, "I and the Father are One." That openness refuted the objection of those who say we join another to God. We do not worship three god’s, we worship one God. People who deny this perfect union of Christ and his Father are proud, not realizing that the way to greatness begins from lowliness.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd. You laid down your life for the sheep. You grant us life, so we shall not die. We thank you; you keep us from death, Satan, sin and God’s wrath. No one can snatch us from your hand. Teach us your humility, so that we might know the Father in you, and to deny ourselves, that your power may be seen in our weakness.
- How does Christ lead his flock?