Sapphire Sky

May 17, 2015

My Sheep Hear My Voice

Filed under: encouragement, theology — Tags: — Steve Knaus @ 1:36 am

sunset-7416_1280

Almost three months have passed since Jesus was last in Jerusalem. Since then, Jesus had sent out seventy to preach the gospel, visited the sisters Mary and Martha, and taught many people throughout Judea (Luke 10:1-13:21).

It was now winter (John 10:22) as Jesus returned to Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication.

The Feast of Dedication, known today as “Hanukkah” takes place in December. It commemorates the time when, in 165 B.C., the faithful Jews were able to rededicate the temple after it had been polluted by the Syrian oppressors.

It is during this time that Jesus is accosted by the Jews. They literally closed in on Jesus demanding that he tell them once and for all: Is he the Messiah?

Jesus had already told them several times, sometimes indirectly (e.g. Luke 4:16-21) and sometimes directly (e.g. John 8:58-59). The Jews had already tried to kill him on many occasions after speaking these words.

The problem was not that they needed more information. They already knew the answer but had decided not to believe.

They did not believe because they were not his sheep. Jesus returned to the pastoral analogy to tell about his true sheep. He has a close, intimate relationship with his own sheep. They hear his voice and they follow him. He knows them.

But at this time, when confronted by people who refused to believe him, Jesus gave some of the most reassuring words to his own sheep:

He gives them eternal life. They will never perish.

They are in his hands, and in the hands of The Father. Nothing will ever take them away from him.

Jesus repeated his oneness with the Father. The people wanted to kill him for daring to speak it, because it was the utmost blasphemy to say that he was God.

Unless he actually was God!

Jesus appealed to the Old Testament scriptures that they all revered. Psalm 82 refers to wicked men as “gods” when they represent God on earth. How much more is it appropriate to say this to one who was actually sent by God!

Furthermore, Jesus’ words already said who he was (see John 5 and John 8). But if they had any reason to doubt his words, his actions showed he was God (see John 5, John 6, and John 9).

The chapter ends with a group of people who do believe. Jesus returned across the Jordan River (to Perea), where people remembered John the Baptist, and that he had announced Jesus as the Messiah. John 10 concludes with saying that many believed in him there.

Even after he was dead, John’s ministry continued to flourish.

 

Remember! 

  • There are many people who refuse to believe. They don’t need a better argument, they need to come to God.
  • We are promised a close relationship with Jesus Christ and we are promised eternal life. There is NOTHING that will take us away from him! See also Romans 8:35-39.
  • We may never know all of the results when we teach God’s word. John the Baptist never knew how his words would be used long after his death.

 

Previous Post: The Good Shepherd


John 10:22-42

At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 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.” 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, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 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. I and the Father are one.”

The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 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.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 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’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 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.” Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” And many believed in him there.


 

At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.

The Feast of Dedication was one of the few Jewish feasts that was not based on the Old Testament Law. In 168 B.C., the Syrian ruler, who also governed the Jews, was Antiochus IV (Epiphanes). In an attempt to force the Jews to conform to Greek culture, Antiochus invaded Jerusalem and desecrated the Temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar. Antiochus commanded the people to worship the Greek gods under penalty of death. 

This sparked a revolt by the faithful Jews. Under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus, the Jews fought back and drove out the Syrians. The temple was restored and rededicated on 25th of Kislev, 165 B.C.

The people set up the Feast of Dedication to commemorate this event. This celebration was also known as the Feast of Lights, or “Hanukkah”, and was celebrated during the current month of December. 

The Porch of Solomon was a large portico built on the original retaining wall from Solomon’s temple.

 

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.” 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, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.

 “It is winter, and Christ is walking in the covered Porch, in front of the ‘Beautiful Gate,’which formed the principal entrance into the ‘Court of the Women.’As he walks up and down, the people are literally barring His Way.” – Alfred Edersheim [1]

The people “gathered around him”, literally, they “closed in on him”. They asked Jesus to tell them plainly if he was the Messiah. He had already told them several times and they even tried to kill him.

Their problem was not a lack of information. The problem was not a lack of evidence. The problem was that they refused to believe. 

Note also that there was both a human and a divine component to their unbelief. The human part was their refusal to believe Jesus, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. The divine part was that they were not among his sheep (see John 6:37–44).

 

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 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. I and the Father are one.”

The words of Jesus here show a deep level of intimacy between the shepherd and the sheep. His sheep hear his voice, he knows them, and they follow him.

As part of this relationship between the Lord Jesus and his sheep, he gives them both security and eternal life. Both statements are repeated with increasing emphasis. He gives them eternal life, and they will NEVER perish! Nothing can cause them to perish, and nothing can take them out of his hand!

With added emphasis, the Father has the utmost authority. He has given the sheep to the Him, and no one can take them from the Father. See also John 6:37-39.

“I and the Father are One”, indicates a oneness of purpose, as evidenced by the neutral gender.

“No stronger passage in the OT or NT exists for the absolute, eternal security of every true Christian.” – John MacArthur [2]

 

The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 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.”

 “I and the father are one”. At this comment, the Jews picked up stones to throw at him. This was the fourth attempt by the Jews to kill him (John 5:18; John 7:32,45-56; John 8:59; John 10:31).

If there was any doubt about what Jesus meant, it was removed by the next comments. Jesus actually stopped the raging mob to ask them what they were doing. In the eyes of the Jews, He had committed the worst possible blasphemy, by saying that he was God.

 

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 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’?

 

Psalms 82:6-7
I said, “You are gods,
sons of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, like men you shall die,
and fall like any prince.”

Psalm 82 is a judgement on corrupt judges. They were representatives of God on earth, so they were called “gods” in this Psalm. Jesus used this by analogy to show that there were valid times in scripture to call people as “gods”. If evil judges were described as gods, how much more valid is it to describe the one who was ordained by God the Father himself.

“The Law” was the term used most commonly for the first five books of the Old Testament. However, this is an example where the term “The Law” can also have a broader definition, including the Psalms and the Prophets.

This is also a place where Jesus validated the Old Testament — every word — as scripture, that cannot be broken or set aside.

 

If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 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.”

They may not believe his words, but they cannot deny his works. Nicodemus recognized that these works were from God (John 3:2)

 

Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands. 

Jesus’ words had silenced the crowd. They no longer attempted to stone him as a blasphemer, but they still wanted to arrest him. Jesus escaped from their hands once again.

 

He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” And many believed in him there.

John’s ministry is completed long after he is dead. The people who remember John now believe in Jesus.

 


 

[1] Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Book IV, CHAPTER XIV, AT THE FEAST OF THE DEDICATION OF THE TEMPLE.

 

[2] John MacArthur, MacArthur Study Bible Notes, John 10

 

3 Comments »

  1. […] Previous post: My Sheep Hear my Voice […]

    Pingback by Greater than Death | Sapphire Sky — May 29, 2015 @ 7:01 pm

  2. […] They are believers who are removed from the body of Christ because they failed to abide in Him. In other words, this theory proposes that believers lose their relationship to Jesus Christ when they fail. But this is contrary to scripture, especially Jesus’ teaching in John 10, where he clearly teaches that we cannot be taken from Him (see here). […]

    Pingback by The Vine and the Branches | Sapphire Sky — September 8, 2015 @ 12:06 am

  3. […] History tells that one of the faithful priests, Mattathias, fled to the wilderness with his five sons. Mattathias’ son Judas led an uprising against the Greek rulers and was given the title, “Maccabaus”, or “the hammer”. Judas led the Jews in retaking Jerusalem and rededicated the temple on December 25, 165 B.C. The Jewish festival of Hanukkah celebrates this occasion (also call the “Feast of Dedication” in John 10, see here). […]

    Pingback by The Ram and The Goat | Sapphire Sky — December 9, 2016 @ 10:19 pm


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