About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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The Unbelief Of The Jews (ch.10:22-42)


This section opens in verse 22 with Jesus being in Jerusalem at the temple during the Feast of Dedication.   

Most scholars suggest that Jesus returned to Jerusalem after being away for two months in the previous section.  The other alternative would be that He stayed in Jerusalem since His visit back in early fall and late summer during the feast of Tabernacles. 


The Feast of Dedication was held in the middle of our December.  It was not a feast that the Law of Moses mandated.  It was a feast celebrating the rebuilding of the temple that took place 167 B C.  One of the highlights was the decorating of houses with lights.  This sounds a little familiar.  This is why it's often called the "Festival of Lights."


Jesus would leave Jerusalem shortly and not return until the spring when He would be arrested.


John mentions the fact that it was winter.  We know that the Feast of Dedication was in winter so he did not mention that for this reason.  Maybe he mentions it because he also mentions in verse 23 that Jesus was walking in Solomonís Colonnade.  This was a porch that would have protected Jesus from the harshness of winter. 


During this time the Jews ask Jesus again to show them for sure that He is the Christ.  In verse 24 they ask, "How long will you keep us in suspense?"  The fact is that if there was any suspense, it was on their part, not Jesusí part.  He had told them plainly over and over again that He was the Christ.  They had seen the miracles, but it appears they did not satisfy them.


We should note here that the Jew's thinking concerning the Messiah, or the Christ, differed from Jesus' thinking.  They saw the miracles, but now they wanted to see Jesus rise up to political prominence as their version of the Messiah was.  They wanted to see Jesus overthrow the Romans, but that was not God's will for Jesus at that moment in history.  That will come later at His second return.      


So in verse 25 Jesus says, "I did tell you but you did not believe."  Then again He says, "The miracles I do in my Fatherís name speak for me."  So there you go.  They had all the proof they needed.  His miracles should have been sufficient to prove that He was in fact sent from God as He had been saying all along.


Note that the miracles Jesus performed were in His Father's name, not His own name.  It was God that sent Jesus into the world.  Jesus represented God His Father to the world.  Jesus went forth in God's name.  It is different for us Christians.  To be technical, it is Jesus who sends us out of the world to represent Him.  We go forth in Jesus' name, not God's name.  We must therefore, speak more about the Lord Jesus Christ than we do about God, but that is not always the case these days.  If we simply preach God, the world will not know what God we preach.  We do not serve a generic god, a one god fits all.  We serve the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.      


In verse 26 the real reason Jesus gives for the Pharisees unbelief is that they are not His sheep.  They canít hear His voice because they do not belong to Him.  In fact they belong to their father the devil, as seen in chapter 8, who is a robber trying to climb the fence and steal Jesusí sheep.  So Jesus says that the Pharisees are attempting to steel His sheep.  On the other hand, the Pharisees most likely think that Jesus is trying to steel their sheep.    


In verse 27 Jesus says that His sheep hear His voice, follow Him, and He gives them eternal life.  


In verses 28 and 29 Jesus makes a very interesting statement.  He says that no one can snatch His sheep out of His hands.  Neither can anyone snatch the sheep out of His Fatherís hands because He is the greatest one of all.  Many have taken these verses to prove that once one is saved, he is saved for ever.  This is called "eternal security," or "once saved always saved."   I donít believe that the devil can steal any true Christian away from Jesus or God.  It is clear that he can tempt Christians to sin, but he can't steel them.  On the other hand, I do believe that we ourselves can lay aside the trust we have in Jesus that got us saved in the first place.  Salvation comes only through trusting Jesus.  If we no longer trust Him, we lose our salvation.  It is that simple. So, no man, no demon, can steel us away from Jesus.  We, however, can leave Jesus, but you can't call that steeling. 


If Jesus wasnít clear before on whom He was, He is now.  In verse 30 He says, "I and the Father are one."  He is not saying that He and the Father are one in purpose, one in mind, or one in anything.  He and God are simply one Ė one united being separated only in bodily form. This is one very important verse when it comes to the doctrine of the Deity of Christ.


In verse 31 we see once again the Jews had enough of what they saw was blasphemy from the lips of Jesus.  They took up stones to kill Him.  This is not the first time that they took stones up to kill Jesus.  If you think about it, understanding the number of Pharisees in attendance and the number of guards standing by, it's a miracle that Jesus escaped the stones and his murder.  


In verse 32 Jesus asks for what miracle have I done in the Fatherís name that warrants this stoning.  Jesus knew that the stones were not a result of the miracles, but His claim to be God.


You would think that Jesus would try somehow to escape this stoning, but He didn't.  He stays, asks a question, and continues the dialogue.  Truly, He trusted his life with His Father.  


Jesusí claim to be God is the foundation stone of what we accept as truth.  If this pronouncement of Jesus is not true, then all else we believe cannot be true.  This claim by Jesus must be taken seriously by everyone for the mere fact that He is the only creditable historical person in history who has had any impact on history making such a claim.  If we donít give Jesusí claims serious thought then we have no understanding of the importance of history, no understanding or desire to understand truth. We are superficial and live only for the moment.


In verse 33 the Pharisees tell Jesus that they arenít stoning Him for the miracles but for the fact that He is claiming to be God.  The Pharisees took Jesusí claim very seriously.  That is one thing in their favour.  They just didn't believe Him.  All men and woman should take Jesusí claims just as seriously, even if they come up with the same conclusions as the Pharisees.


In verses 33 to 36 Jesus defends Himself with a quote from "their Law."  This might well refer to both the Law of Moses and all of the rabbinical laws that Pharisees have added to the Law of Moses.  Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6.  Psalm 82:6 calls all men "gods", that is "gods" with a small "g."  Jesusí point here is that if the Scripture, that cannot be broken, calls men gods, why canít He be called God because He was sent by God.  Jesus is saying that the Old Testament, at least on one occasion, called men gods.  That would be blasphemy in the eyes of the Pharisees.  Jesus is trying His case on a technicality.  Even Jesus gets technical at times, something the postmodern Christian should take note of.  All of the above in the previous paragraph being said about Psalm 82, the Christian world is divided over who the word '"gods' is in reference to.  Some say "gods" are in reference to human Israeli rules while others say "gods" are in reference to angels.  At the moment, I'm just not sure how to view this word.

In verses 38 and 39 Jesus goes on to say that if you donít believe me when I say that I do what my Father wants me to do, you should believe me for the miracles I perform in His name.  Thus miracles are used for a sign, that is, to point the way to God.  These miracles then should tell you that the Father and I are one, as Jesus says.


This argument did not fly with the Pharisees.  They saw that Jesus was saying He was God, that is, with a capital "G," not a small "g."  They tried again to stone Him but this time He slipped away from their grasp.


This chapter ends in verse 40 to 42 with Jesus leaving Jerusalem and going back across the Jordan River where John the Baptist used to baptize.  This would be on the east side of the Jordan River, which would be present day Jordan .  Here the people accepted Jesus more than they did in Jerusalem .  They said that John did not do any miracles like Jesus, but what John said about Jesus was true.  John the Baptist was a prophet.  He spoke the word of the Lord.  Prophets don't necessarily perform miracles. 


Our testimony about Jesus should be like John the Baptistís.  Even though we may not do many miracles, maybe none at all, what we say about Jesus should be true and powerful enough to lead people to Jesus.


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