In the first half of John 10 Christ is proclaiming that He is the true Shepherd. He will give His life for the flock, and we are told that His words left division among the Jews.
We pick up in verse 22. Many people believe there is a break between verse 21 and 22. I tend to agree, however this is all still linked to the 6th sign, the healing of the blind man, which proves Jesus is Messiah.
John 10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
I know I have said it before, but when we are giving a time and place, it is important so pay attention.
The feast of the dedication is, in short, Hanukkah . It is not a feast that was given by God to us through Moses. (Leviticus 23, Deuteronomy 16). Still we need to understand this feast in order to understand the mindset of Jesus’ audience here.
In 168 B.C., Antiochus IV demanded the Jews take on Greek culture. He disallowed circumcision and sacrificed swine in the temple, thus ending sacrifice until we come to the time of the Maccabees.
Judas Maccabee was a priest that was confronted by soldiers and told to sacrifice to an idol. Instead, he killed the soldiers and led a revolt that led to Israel becoming an independent nation. Under his rule they rededicated the temple. I am sure most of us are familiar with the menorah and the story of how they lit the lamp and only had oil for one day. The lamp was not supposed to go out, and it took eight days to prepare more, but they felt it would be better to get the lamp lit, even for a little time, than not at all. So they lit the lamp and, instead of the oil lasting only one day, it lasted until the new oil was ready.
Why is all this important to know? Because it is at this time of year that the Jews looked for a messiah more than any other time. It was when they were thinking of the last time they had become free from foreign rule. What they wanted was another David or Judas Maccabee to rise up and free them this time from the Romans. That is why there were so many rising up and proclaiming themselves messiah, and trying to take back Israel by force.
“…And it was winter.” This is a strange thing to add to the end of verse 22 because the feast of the dedication is always in the winter. It is like saying it was Passover and it was Spring. Thus we know that it is there is for a reason. In Matthew 23:20 and Mark 13:18, the two chapters where He explains His return, Jesus tells us to pray our flight is not in the winter. Why? because He is not going to come in the winter. Therefore, by giving us “…and it was winter,” we are being told that it isn’t the time for Him to take up the sword. That this isn’t the advent where He comes with a rod of iron to slay the wicked also that He wouldn’t be coming during this festival.
John 10:23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.
Again a location. Solomon’s porch is on the East side of the temple, and historically was the place where the king would pass judgement. This is also where the Levites lived, and the doctors of the law heard and answered questions.
John 10:24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.
Here we have Christ standing in the place where kings of old passed judgement during the festival the Jews looked for a messiah, with them demanding of Him to state if He is the messiah. Thus the King of kings and Lord of lords tells them and passes judgement:
John 10:25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. (26) But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. (27) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (28) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (29) My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
Once you acknowledge who the Shepherd is and follow Him, nobody can take your salvation. That doesn’t mean you might not turn from Him and start to follow other shepherds, but there will be severe consequences.
John 10:30 I and my Father are one.
If you have seen the Son you have seen the Father.
John 10:31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
Imagine that, they ask Him if He is the messiah, He answers, so they want to stone Him.
John 10:32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
I love this question.
John 10:33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
Hey they have at point, at least at first glace: Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Non-Christians have made a lot of traction with this verse. A lot of Christians see this verse and either want to ignore it’s existence or start to lose faith. What does it say? It says God doesn’t have to lie like man does, and it says that He isn’t the son of man, that He should repent. Jesus is sinless and therefore doesn’t have to repent.
John 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
It does. Let’s pull it up:
Psalms 82:1 A Psalm of Asaph. God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.
And who was just passing judgement?
Psalms 82:2 (How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah. (3) Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. (4) Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. (5) They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
Christ just finished telling them they are not His sheep and they do not understand.
Psalms 82:6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. (7) But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. (8) Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.
Ok back to John
John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
Remember in Matthew 5 He says He is not changing one jot or tittle to the law.
John 10:36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? (37) If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
Actions speak louder than words. When Jannes and Jambres stood against Moses and turned their rods to snakes. The rod of Moses ate them up telling us that God does not mess around. Meaning that even if Jesus had pulled off some “miraculous” healing or was able to rile the people up with some fancy words God would have taken care of him. Just look at Simon the magician in the New Testament.
John 10:38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
Even if they didn’t understand what Christ was saying they should’ve known that His works were from God. His sheep know. They did then and they do now. It is the so-called wise men that always stumble.
John 10:39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,
Because it wasn’t time yet.
John 10:40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.
The Jordan marks the edge of the promised land so essentially He left Israel.
John 10:41 And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true. (42) And many believed on him there.
Wherever He goes, His sheep will follow. John the baptist was the voice crying out in the wilderness. His job was the make the path straight to the Lord. He certainly did his job. Is it no wonder Jesus said there was none greater that was born of woman.
God Bless you all, until next time.