This is the sermon for Wednesday evening, June 3rd, 2009.
JOHN PART 48
The four claims of Jesus Christ part 1.
John 10:22-30 TNIV – 22 Then came the Festival of Dedication 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. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Last week, Jesus wrapped up His parable concerning the Good Shepherd, the sheep, and the sheepfold. In verses 1-21 He tells this illustration to the Jews and the Pharisees and then explains it too them.
Now there is a break in time and we are going to see another conflict happen.
This sermon and the next one we are going to look at the four claims that Jesus makes about who He is. He makes these claims in answering the Jews question. Let’s begin.
The time and the location of the conflict.
John 10:22-23 TNIV – 22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.
Most scholars and commentators feel that there is a gap of about 2 months in between Jesus telling the parable of the sheepfold and the Festival of dedication.
We have a definite time and location written here, and I don’t believe it is by accident.
This event took place during the Festival of Dedication. This festival is still celebrated by the Jews today – it is also called Hanukkah. This was a celebration that commemorated the cleansing of the Temple after Antiochus Epiphanes had defiled it by sacrificing a pig on the altar of burnt offering. This event is mentioned in the Apocryphal book of 1 Maccabees. It was also called the festival of lights, it was said that God miraculously kept the Manorah in the temple lit during the time of this horrible sacrilege to the temple. This festival was in the winter, in December of our time.
The Festival of Dedication was also known as the “festival of Renewal.” Antiochus and his army tried to destroy Judaism, but God renewed Jewish worship after they undefiled the temple and rededicated themselves to God as a nation. I don’t think it was an accident that they are going to ask Jesus a question that starts another conflict. I think it was according to God’s time so that Christ may reveal these four claims about himself too them.
This also took place in the area around the temple that is called, “Solomon’s Colonnade.” This was a portion with a roof on it on the east side of the Temple close to the court of the Gentiles. The reason that it is called, “Solomon’s Colonnade” is because it is believed to rest on portions of the original Temple built by Solomon, so this was evidently a very popular and special place to have meetings within the Temple. Again, I think it was part of God’s plan for this event to take place right here at this time.
The question – Are you the Messiah?
John 10:24 TNIV – 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.
Now on the surface there certainly isn’t anything wrong with this question. It is one that does need to be asked and answered. I do believe though that their motivation for asking the question is wrong. In John, Jesus has been very plain about who He is and what His Father had sent Him to do.
How do we know their motivation is wrong in this question? Well, look at their response when Jesus does answer them.
John 10:31-33 TNIV – 31 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
The word, “plainly” in v. 24 in Greek means, “Publicly, out in the open.” Their motivation was for Jesus, not to just speak who He is in private, but in public, so they could have reason to kill Him. They weren’t looking for the true answer so that they could follow Him, because they have already rejected Him many times.
Now Jesus is going to answer them. Here we begin the four claims of Jesus concerning Himself.
Claim 1: The works He does testify that He is the Messiah.
John 10:25-29 TNIV – 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. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
Jesus was not only a great teacher, but was a miracle worker. Everywhere He went, He performed the supernatural in the Father’s name, not His own name. God received glory for every sickness healed, every miracle performed, every demon cast out, every unclean person touched, but the majority of the Jewish people, plus the Jewish leaders didn’t believe.
Jesus gives the reason for their unbelief in verse 26 – they were truly not of His sheepfold. If they were, quite honestly, they would have listened too Him, come to know Him, and followed Him.
Let’s look at some benefits that His sheep receive based on this passage:
• His sheep will hear and listen to His voice, know Him, and follow Him.
• Christ will give His sheep eternal life, and they will never perish in their sins, and no one can snatch them out of the hand of Christ. This is not some temporal salvation – but an eternal one.
• It is an eternal salvation because it is Christ that gives it – not man or religion.
• It is an eternal salvation because it is the Father that has given those who would be saved to Christ for Him to possess.
• We are in the hand of the Father as well, and nothing can snatch us away from this truth.
Claim two: Jesus and the Father are one – Unity of essence.
John 10:30 TNIV – I and the Father are one.
This claim is about the strongest claim that Jesus can possibly make – He and the Father are one. He is not stating that He and the Father are one and the same person, as some might think. But the Greek means, “The same or unity in essence.” Meaning, both He and the Father are God.
This is going back to the Beginning of John.
John 1:1-2 TNIV – 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
The Bible commentator Barclay also believes that Jesus was one with the Father, not just in essence, as the Greek suggests here: but He was also one with the Father in another way while He walked this earth: In love. Here is what He has to say: “No one can really understand what a phrase like “a unity of essence” means; but any one can understand what a unity of heart means. Jesus’ unity with God came from the twin facts of perfect love and perfect obedience. He was one with God because he loved and obeyed him perfectly.”
Next time we will look at the two more claims of Jesus found within this passage. In a world looking for answers, Jesus is truly the answer. He is who He claimed He is. His works written in Scripture testify to this fact. He has always been with the Father and is one in essence with Him. He is also one with the Father because within the Gospels we have evidence of this oneness – through His perfect love and perfect obedience.