I Already Told You
The text this week is John 10:22-30. This is a a short and simple passage that creates justifiably comfortable imagery. The passage begins with Jesus in Jerusalem and the festival of the Dedication. This is to commemorate the reconsecration of the Second Temple in 164 BC after Antiochus IV had defiled it. This is outlined in 1 Maccabees 1: 54-61. This festival is better known to us today as Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights. Interesting point about the very real Jewishness of Jesus.
Those gathered were asking Jesus to not keep them in suspense any longer and tell them whether he is the Messiah. This may not have been with the best of intentions. The prevailing idea at the time was that the Messiah was a political leader ala David. This would have put Jesus at odds with Rome. He would eventually get there but at a time of his choosing.
Jesus responds that he has already told them who he is. He indicates that by his works, done in his Father’s name, he has revealed his status. He calls them out for not believing because they do not belong to his sheep, or his flock.
A Shepherd and His Flock
This is where the comforting language comes in. Far and away the most comforting language concerning God, and especially Jesus is that of a shepherd caring for and protecting his flock. The sheep hear the shepherd’s voice, and they follow him. This is as clear as it gets. We are to hear God’s good and gracious word and simply know that voice (believe) and then follow him. In so doing we are grasped by a God that will not let us go. Jesus clearly states that he will provide us eternal life. This does not mean, as we know from the conclusion of Jesus’ journey to Golgotha, that following does not mean no hardship, or pain. It means that regardless of what happens here on earth, God will bring his people home, just as a shepherd will his sheep.
Jesus ends this passage by giving the crowd what they want, a clear statement of who he is. He says in verse 30 “The Father and I are one”. I am sure they did not understand the full import of that, but we do, so their misunderstanding need not concern us. All we need to focus on is hearing and recognizing the voice. It is as Matin Luther stated, that when we think about faith, ask yourself, is this true. Do you recognize the voice you hear (Jesus)? If so, then follow him. In other words, just believe and obey.
Praise Be to God