Thursday, June 5, 2014

John 10:22-42, Part III

I mentioned last time that we would hear Jesus' explanation this time . . . let's get started!
I'm thinking the people still won't listen, but let's read what happens:
[25] 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, [26] but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. [27] My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. [28] I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. [29] 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. [30] I and the Father are one.”

What's He telling us? John wants us to hear Jesus . . .
He's saying that people don't believe because they DON'T WANT TO HEAR.

Sorry for the shouting. I thought it was important.
We have ample proof that they didn't believe, and that they didn't hear. The works and words of Jesus have been abundantly clear. The people lacked the right attitude, and they lacked faith, as well.
It's as if John is looking back over his shoulder as he writes, and telling us, "They never really came to Him; they didn't want to find out Who He really was. They didn't truly want to be a part of what He was doing, and many didn't care why He came."

But if they had taken their hands down from their eyes, they would have seen His works. Miracle after miracle has played out in front of them . . . He turned water into fine wine; He healed a man that was born blind, and transformed his life; He fed throngs of people (5,000 of them) with only what the disciples brought to Him from a little boy's lunch pail.
Were these void of meaning? Were they just play-acting? Were they staged?
They were shout-it-out-loud witnesses to the divinity of Jesus. They proclaimed to all that He was the Sent One, the Christ.

You know what?
They still refused to believe.
Not only would they not take their hands down from their eyes, they would not open their ears. It's as if they had big wads of cotton in them!

Ah, but don't lose hope here. Jesus' sheep hear His voice. They believe, and then they follow Him. And there are long-lasting, no, eternal rewards for belief.

He knows us -- does that give you chills of dread, or thrills of joy? He knows each and every one of us. And He freely gives us the greatest gift ever: eternal life with Him.

It's a constant battle for parents in this day, to give their children the right balance. You will hear many parents talk about "quality time" -- have you used that expression? Well, it's fascinating to think about eternal life, because it is not just about quantity . . . it's about quality. Quality time with the Father, and with the Son. It's Life with a capital L, the kind of life that nobody wants to miss out on, once they have a glimpse of it.
And this is permanent, too. Once it is ours, it cannot be taken away. It's a gift -- we don't earn it. So that means we can't lose it by doing something bad. It may lose its luster, or not be as joyful, but it is still there. He doesn't take back His gift.

So, in the midst of a world that is perishing, those who believe in Christ -- those who hear His voice and follow -- are given life eternal.
But notice something else in these verses . . . Jesus also tells us there is something going on here on earth. There is a force that wants to snatch sheep away from the Good Shepherd, to keep them from accepting His gift and continuing to follow Him. The false shepherds, He calls them.
They want to destroy the sheep, but Jesus will not allow that to happen.
Is it because we are so strong and we hold on to Him?
It's because of His firm grip on us!
Now, John will make it clear later on, that doesn't mean that life won't be difficult. Even dangerous. We can expect to have hard times, especially when we are trying our hardest to follow Him. But here is good news: we are never outside of God's care. His power is with us, and we are safe in His hands. He is all-powerful.

The Jewish leaders wanted a plain, clear statement.
Boy, do they get one!
He and the Father are one.
That was all it took. They decided it was time to execute Him.
We'll see how this ended, the next time we study together.


Cathy said...

Yep, thrills of joy it is, and thrills of gratitude too. Gratitude that He should take one of the most foolish sheep ever, who wandered far far from the fold and into much foolishness and sinfulness. Yet He never gave up on me, and came after me, and carried me on His shoulders, back to the fold. Glory be to God!!

Belinda said...

Yes Cathy! Time after time we mess up and He still loves us and forgives!

It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to know that I am one of His sheep. And nothing I can do will change that. I fully believe in the security of the believer. And nothing can happen that will keep us from our eternal rest with Christ if we are truly His.

The other day my 4 year old grandson and I were talking about heaven and he wanted me to tell him what it's like. I think that God put words in my mouth because I never ever thought about it this way before. I told Win that heaven is like one huge church. That we are all in church singing and praising God. I believe that is a concept even a 4 year old can understand. He is very inquisitive and that seemed to satisfy him. (Surprisingly)