Response to Jesus

Believe: Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  32:45
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Response to Jesus

John’s gospel is a master class in literature.
Which isn’t Surprising b/c it was inspired by the Creator of the universe.
And its an account about the most amazing person to ever walk the earth.
But God could have chose to tell these stories in any way, and yet he does so in such a way that the more you read and study it the more amazed you are by what God is showing us.
Each week as I prepare for Sunday, I am overwhelmed and amazed by the depth and richness found in God’s Story.
For Instance, John 10 ends with what theologians call an inclusio.
An inclusio is a section of scripture that is tied together at the beginning and end.
You could call it a book end, but theologians have to be special and use a word not many understand.
And you may be asking yourself, what is the inclusio found in John.
Remember right after the Prologue in John 1, those first 18 verses about who Jesus is, we are introduced not immediately to Jesus, but to John the Baptist.
John is proclaiming the coming of Jesus.
The coming of the messiah.
John is Teaching and proclaiming Jesus.
And from there on we are introduced to Jesus as the Son of God who came to save God’s people.
Then John ends chapter 10 with Jesus leaving Jerusalem and going to where John was witnessing about Him, and the people there believed b/c of John’s testimony.
John’s Gospel opens with John the Baptist proclaiming Jesus and Jesus’ ministry in Jerusalem ends with Jesus going back to the wilderness where John taught about Jesus and those there believed with him.
That’s the inclusio. It’s absolutely beautiful.
In that span of time in John’s Gospel Jesus proves to us who he claims to be.
Since we are coming to the end of this section, I think it’s time to do a quick overview of what we have learned so far through our study.
In John 1, we learn that Jesus is the Eternal God who put on flesh to live with his people and become the lamb of God to take away the sin of the World.
In John 2, we learned that Jesus is the perfect bridegroom who has come and we can celebrate his coming.
In John 3, we learned that Jesus is the Son of God and that through faith and trust in him we can be born again and have eternal life.
In John 4, we learned that Jesus came to rescue and save all who will come. He is the Messiah not just for the Israelites, but for the whole world.
In John 5, Jesus gives us evidences and proofs of his claims to be the Son of God. He tells us that John the Baptist, Jesus’ Works, God the Father, and the Scriptures attest to his claims. And that if you honor him, God will honor you.
In John 6, Jesus feeds the five thousand and proves that he is the greater moses who is the bread from heaven that sustains and provides life.
In John 7, Jesus steps into the Festival of Tabernacles and claims that he is the living water and that he will provide life for all who drink from his well.
In John 8, Jesus tells us that he is the Light of the World and that he is the one the pierces the darkness and brings dead men to life. We find truth and freedom in the light of him. Not only that but Jesus tells us that he also existed before Abraham and is in fact greater than Abraham.
In John 9, Jesus demonstrates that in fact he is the light by healing a man born blind. Taking him out of darkness and bringing him to the light. Ending with the man worshipping at Jesus’ feet.
In John 10, Jesus is the Good Shepherd who has come to rescue his sheep from the thieves and false shepherds. Fulfilling Ezekiel 34.
John is making sure that the reader of his gospel knows that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the promises made to Israel. He is the fulfillment of the feasts.
He is the fulfillment of the promised better Moses.
Jesus is the Messiah that Israel had been looking for.
John has weaved together a beautiful story that proves that Jesus is who he claims to be.
At least to the reader, to those who are encountering Jesus there are still those who don’t believe.
They have sought to murder Jesus for his claims and in Today’s text, the tension has risen to a whole nother level.
It starts out seemingly innocent enough, but ends with Jesus leaving Jerusalem a marked man.
John 10:22–24 CSB
22 Then the Festival of Dedication took place in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 Jesus was walking in the temple in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Is Jesus the Messiah?

John tells us once again that there is another festival going on in Jerusalem.
This one is called the Festival of Dedication.
This Festival is an interesting one.
This Festival isn’t one prescribed by God in the OT.
However, it is widely celebrated.
We know it by another name, not the Festival of Dedication, but as Hanukkah.
So if it isn’t prescribed by God in the OT, what is the festival and why is it celebrated?
This festival is a celebration of the reclaiming of the Temple.
In 161 BC, Antiochus Epiphanes entered into the temple and erected a statue of Zeus to worship.
Not only that, but to add insult to injury, He sacrificed a pig in the Temple.
This is a big deal, 1) Because a false god was erected in the temple, and 2) pigs were viewed as unclean and defiled among the Jewish people.
Well 3 years later in 164 BC there was a Jewish man who had enough of Antiochus Epiphanes and his rule, so he started a revolt.
His name was Judas Maccabaeus, or Judas “The Hammer”.
There was an uprising and he lead a group to clean out the temple from all this false idol worship.
This revolt is discussed in 2 Maccabees a non-canon Jewish book found in the Apocrypha.
But it is celebrated, nonetheless by Jewish people as a reminder of Judas’ accomplishment and celebration of the temple being cleansed.
Like the Feast of Tabernacles, there is a light component to the Feast of Dedication.
Each night for 8 nights a candle is lit.
And unlike the great feasts of the OT this one can be celebrated outside of Jerusalem.
Not only that, but this festival falls in line with the Feast of Tabernacles in that one of the things they are celebrating is the God’s promise of a Savior.
They are anticipating the Messiah and all that they believe he is going to do.
The Jewish people are anticipation a figure like Judas Maccabeus who will come and declare Jewish Independence from Roman occupation.
And Jesus steps on the scene.
The messiah. The savior of the world.
It’s no accident that this is the only time that the Festival of Dedication is mentioned in the NT.
It’s no accident that John has already revealed to the readers of his gospel that Jesus is the messiah.
It’s not accident that they are waiting for the Messiah but they miss him.
So what happens?
Jesus is teaching in the temple area and all of a sudden a crowd of his opposition surround him.
The tension here is mounting.
They are cornering Jesus.
Like playground bullies surrounding their latest victim.
They are Looking for answers.
And the answer they really want is to the question: Is Jesus the Messiah?
Is he the promised one of God?
They ask him
John 10:24 “24 ...“How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.””
They believe that Jesus has be enigmatic at best.
They believe he hasn’t spoke plainly.
And true, he hasn’t told them specifically “I am the messiah.”
But he has provided them with evidence.
So how is Jesus going to respond?
John 10:25–30 CSB
25 “I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in my Father’s name testify about me. 26 But you don’t believe because you are not of my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will 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 is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Jesus’ Answer

Jesus answers their question.
He tells them to look at his works.
Look at the things he has done and they will prove that he is who he has claimed to be.
Remember only the Messiah would restore sight to the blind.
Only the Messiah would restore what was broken.
Only the messiah would accomplish, teach, and challenge the things that Jesus had done.
And yet, these men who are studied in the Scriptures.
They have devoted themselves to teaching and reading the Scriptures.
Are blind to this truth?
Why are they so ignorant to what Jesus is saying here?
The reason that Jesus gives here links back to earlier in John 10.
They are not his sheep.
They don’t hear or listen to his voice.
They don’t belong to Jesus.
They had the information about the Savior.
They had the knowledge about what to look for.
They had done all the “right” things, but they didn’t belong to God’s Flock.
This is a sober reality for all of us.
There is a distinct difference between having knowledge about God and knowing God’s voice.
You can know facts, figures, bible verses, all the right language.
You can attend church, give financially, and do all the “right” things and still not belong to Jesus.
True knowledge of Jesus comes from a desire to love him and serve him.
You can do all those “right” things without a heart to love and serve him.
You can do all those “right” things to try and force God to love you.
To try and use your deeds to manipulate God.
But God will not be mocked.
You can try to sneak into the sheep pen, but if you don’t know the voice of the savior it doesn’t matter.
That’s what these religious leaders didn’t recognize.
They believed that if they followed all the rules.
If they checked all the boxes.
If they were moral and self-righteous than God would have to honor them.
But here Jesus is telling them that all their work is in vain.
Jesus has spoken and they don’t hear his voice.
They don’t know him.
And b/c of that They are not a part of the flock.
They don’t have safety.
They don’t have security.
God doesn’t owe them anything b/c of the way that they live.
They either know the voice of the Shepherd or they don’t.
Now I want us to be careful, here.
Jesus does say that if you know his voice, he will know you, and you will follow him.
Knowing Jesus is not a free pass to do whatever you want to.
Knowing Jesus, following Jesus, and loving Jesus means you trust him and you listen to what he has to say.
The religious leaders in Jerusalem were studying the scriptures, they were giving to the temple, they were super religious, and Jesus said they didn’t belong to him.
Does that then mean that those things are wrong?
Rather it’s the motivation behind those things that can be either right or wrong.
The religious leaders did those things to try and win God’s approval.
They were seeking to trick or trap God into loving them.
But as Jesus’ followers we don’t do those things, read, give, and serve to get anything out of God, but rather we do those things out of gratitude for what God has done for us.
And if we truly have a gratitude for Jesus’ sacrifice.
If we truly believe in his resurrection.
If we truly know that in him we find life and forgiveness then we are part of his flock.
Let’s not play Games with God.
Let’s not give lip service to these fundamental beliefs.
Let’s examine ourselves and see if we truly love and trust Jesus.
Do you love Jesus for who he is or do you say you love Jesus simply b/c of what he can do for you?
Are you simply trying to escape hell or are you wanting to give your life to the savior?
Are you following him out of convenience or b/c he is who he said he is?
If you are part of his flock, If you follow him, if you trust him, then he’s got some good news for us.
John 10:28-29 “28 I give them eternal life, and they will 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 is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
We receive eternal life, if we belong to him,
We may die physically, but we will be with him eternally.
This passage also talks about eternal security.
Or as some have called “Once saved always saved.”
I prefer to call it “If saved always saved.”
This doctrine of eternal security can be a topic of debate.
I want to make it clear to you.
If you are a part of God’s flock, you will always be part of God’s flock.
If you follow Jesus, hear his voice, and respond to his calling then you are part of his flock.
I want to be clear.
The life of a follower of Jesus is just that, a follower of Jesus.
It’s important that we know that saying a prayer doesn’t save us.
Getting baptized doesn’t save us.
Knowing Scripture doesn’t save us.
Giving money doesn’t save us.
Following rules doesn’t save us.
Being religious doesn’t save us.
If it did, then all of these religious leaders Jesus is rebuking would be saved.
They would be part of the flock.
But Jesus’ is pretty clear that they don’t belong.
Let’s not be arrogant.
Let’s be reflective.
Let’s be honest.
Are we truly following Jesus?
Have we truly heard his voice?
Do we know him?
And most importantly does he Know us?
If the answer to these questions is yes then you will have eternal life.
You have his protection. No one will snatch you out of his hand.
If the answer is no then you don’t have eternal life.
It should be a great comfort to us that Jesus says no one will snatch you out of his hand.
You know that means no one.
Not even yourself.
B/c you are known, called, and loved by Jesus.
You belong to him.
You can’t even lose your own salvation.
If someone claims to be a Christian and they have walked away it’s b/c they where never a part of the flock to begin with.
You can’t save yourself, and you can’t lose your salvation.
B/c If you could lose your salvation, you would have.
But Jesus tells us that if you belong to him, then you are double enveloped.
You are in his hand which is then in the father’s hand.
And no one will snatch you out of the Father’s hand, b/c there is no one more powerful, no one greater, no one bigger than our God.
I love how Paul puts it in
Romans 8:31–39 CSB
31 What, then, are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He did not even spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything? 33 Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies. 34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. 35 Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: Because of you we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If you belong to Jesus, you will not be conquered.
You will not be stolen.
You will not be snatched.
You are his and he will not lose you.
Rest in that truth.
Rest in knowing that Jesus loves you enough not to lose you.
Jesus concludes his rebuke with this phrase
John 10:30 “30 I and the Father are one.””
When Jesus says this what he is saying is that He and the Father are one in purpose and will.
They are on a joint mission to seek, save, and secure the lost sheep of their flock.
This declaration stirs up anger within the religious leaders.
They hate what Jesus is teaching.
They hate what he claims.
They find him to be an imposter.
So they want to get rid of him.
John 10:31–39 CSB
31 Again the Jews picked up rocks to stone him. 32 Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these works are you stoning me?” 33 “We aren’t stoning you for a good work,” the Jews answered, “but for blasphemy, because you—being a man—make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Isn’t it written in your law, I said, you are gods? 35 If he called those to whom the word of God came ‘gods’—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say, ‘You are blaspheming’ to the one the Father set apart and sent into the world, because I said: I am the Son of God? 37 If I am not doing my Father’s works, don’t believe me. 38 But if I am doing them and you don’t believe me, believe the works. This way you will know and understand that the Father is in me and I in the Father.” 39 Then they were trying again to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.

Further Conflict

They pick up stones to stone Jesus.
But unlike previous encounters, Jesus stays and confronts them.
He appeals to his many good works.
Healing the lame and the blind.
Doing the things of God.
Through the power and influence of the Father, and Jesus wants them to tell him why they wish to stone him.
Which one of his works deserves for him to be stoned.
But they weren’t going to stone him for his works, they were going to stone him b/c they didn’t think that his claims were valid.
He claimed to be God and they thought he was merely a man.
They believed he was blaspheming or speaking ill of God’s name.
So according to Lev. 24:16 “16 Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death; the whole community is to stone him. If he blasphemes the Name, he is to be put to death, whether the resident alien or the native.”
Jesus responds to their claims with a passage that has many scratching their heads.
John 10.34 “34 Jesus answered them, “Isn’t it written in your law, I said, you are gods?”
This quote is from Ps 82:6.
But what does it mean.
This word ‘gods” in the OT can refer to angelic beings, someone acting on behalf of God, or God himself.
The context of the passage gives clarity to the use of the word.
In Psalm 82:6 There are 3 possibilities for how to interpret what this means.
God is addressing Israel’s Judges who are corrupting the justice system. They are acting on behalf of God, but they are unjust in their actions.
God could be addressing angelic beings that have abused their power.
God is addressing Israel at the time that they received the law and a curse fell upon them b/c they did not head the word of God.
Even the rabbis can’t agree on how to interpret this passage most clearly.
There is some ambiguity to it.
So Jesus is most likely using this message as a point that they can’t truly argue against.
The main point that Jesus is asserting is that they recieved the word of God and broke it.
But his good works prove that he is set apart for the father’s works and yet they don’t believe him.
He is keeping and obeying God’s word, how is it blasphemous for him to call himself the “Son of God.”
They have no answer to his challenge.
He again says that if they don’t believe him the least they can do is believe his works.
He is doing things only the one called out by God could do.
They have seen these things.
They have witnessed the works and yet they still don’t believe.
They are the blind ones.
They aren’t part of the flock.
Jesus claims here that he is the set apart sent one of God.
That he has a special calling and mission to save those whom he loves and those who love him.
When Jesus claims he is the set apart one of God in vs. 36, it means that he is holy and dedicated to doing the will of the father.
In fact, he is the one that the feast of Dedication is pointing to.
And this is evidenced by the works he is able to do.
The father is in him and he is in the father.
This is the 3rd time that he has appealed to his works as proof of who he is.
John 5:36 “36 “But I have a greater testimony than John’s because of the works that the Father has given me to accomplish. These very works I am doing testify about me that the Father has sent me.”
John 10:25 “25 “I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in my Father’s name testify about me.”
He is offering them a chance to believe.
That’s the call of John’s Gospel, that people would believe that Jesus is the Son of God the Messiah.
And this chance he’s offering is based simply on his words or his teachings, this chance is based on his words, teachings, and his works, all of which they have witnessed.
But they just simply don’t believe.
They don’t trust.
Jesus isn’t the messiah they expected.
They wanted a man to come and free them from Rome.
Yet, Jesus was the messiah that they needed.
He didn’t come to free them from Rome.
He wasn’t the next Judas Macabeeus.
He was Jesus, the Son of God.
That came to free them from something greater than the power of Rome.
He came to bring them freedom from the bondage of sin and death.
He came to bring them to life.
He came to set them free, to give them light, to bring them into a relationship with God.
This is true for you too.
Jesus came so that you could have life.
That you could know God and him know you.
He came to bring life and life more abundant.
You may not know it, but if you don’t belong to Jesus you are not living.
You may be breathing, but you’re not alive.
Jesus wants to bring you to life listen to his voice.
He’s calling out to you.
Now you get to respond.
And you can either respond in faith and trust or you can respond in disbelief.
These religious leaders were offered this same choice.
They responded in disbelief.
And they tried to seize him.
They tried to kill him, but Jesus’ time had not yet come and he slipped away out of their grasp.
Jesus leaves Jerusalem.
And he will not return until passion week.
But the news of Jesus has spread and people have believed.
John 10:40–42 CSB
40 So he departed again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and he remained there. 41 Many came to him and said, “John never did a sign, but everything John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.

Many Believed

There are many in Jerusalem that didn’t believe, but when Jesus goes back to the place where John the Baptist had ministered there were many that believed in Jesus.
They believed b/c of John’s testimony.
They recognized that everything John said about Jesus was true.
The religious elite missed the mark on Jesus, but these living out in the desert and listening to what would be considered a crazy man, believed in Jesus.
Jesus is available for people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and socio economic backgrounds.
That’s the beauty of the gospel.
Jesus came to save people.
He doesn’t care where you came from, he wants you to follow him where he’s going.
Listen to his voice.
Respond to his calling.
Turn away from your sin and rebellion and embrace the Grace of Jesus.
If you’re a christian, know that your tesitmony matters.
Much like the testimony of John, you can tell people the truth about Jesus.
They can hear you proclaim the good news of your God.
And through you they can hear the voice of the shepherd.
Remember if Jesus called you it’s not because you a better than anyone else.
It’s b/c of his grace.
And his grace extends to all who will respond.
Listen to him. Follow Him.
Love him because he loves you.
Let’s Pray.
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