Lesson 62

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

10:22 It was the Feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem. 10:23 It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in Solomon's porch. 10:24 The Jews therefore came around him and said to him, "How long will you hold us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

10:25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you don't believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, these testify about me. 10:26 But you don't believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I told you. 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 10:28 I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 10:29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand. 10:30 I and the Father are one."

 Today's Lesson 

Today's scripture describes an incident that followed closely behind the telling of the Parable of the Sheepfold. The Feast of Dedication was a Jewish feast that commemorated the rededication of the temple during the Maccabean era in 165 B.C. So, it is appropriate that this incident begins on Solomon's porch in the temple. "The Jews," Jesus' detractors among them at least, ask Him to plainly state whether He is the Christ or not.


This was probably just another gambit to entrap Him. Anyone who had listened to His message surely would have come to the conclusion that Jesus did believe that He was the Anointed One of God, the Messiah or Christ. In fact, Jesus' first response is that He has already told them. He has made it clear that the Father has sent Him and that He had a special destiny to fulfill. Jesus goes on to say that not only has He told them, but that the works that He has done testify that He is the Christ. They could either listen to His words or look at His works. Either of them should convince them that He was the Christ.


But, using the verbiage of His previous lesson, He tells them that they could not believe because they were not His sheep and could not hear His voice. Only His sheep will hear the message that the father sent Him to deliver. To all other people it will sound like nonsense. They could not understand and believe because the Father had not given them the ability to hear and understand.


And then, He says another very interesting thing. "They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." And then, "No one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." Jesus says, almost within the same breath, that His sheep are protected and will never be harmed because they are "in my hand" and that this is assured because no one can snatch them from "my Father's hand." One might logically ask, "Are they in Jesus' hand or the Father's hand?" But, to Jesus there is no distinction. "I and the Father are one."


I am not at all convinced that we can rationally explain the type of unity that Jesus is expressing. I have heard many people attempt to explain what orthodox Christians express when they use the term "Trinity". All of these explanations seem to be mental exercises (which can sometimes be useful nonetheless). But, the unity that Jesus expresses with the Father is not simply a rational exercise. The unity of the Father and the Son can only be expressed in the concepts of love. I have been married to my wife for 18 years. There are moments, too gloriously brief, when I feel completely united with her. I have felt this same experience, though differently and in a sense more distantly, with my daughter.


I can begin to understand that the perfect love of eternal beings might well experience a higher level of union between beings than I have experienced. Jesus hints that one-day we will fully understand this unity of souls. I'm not certain whether we will ever experience God as directly and totally as Jesus does, but it is a wonderful thought to think that one day we will certainly experience Him much more completely than we do today. One day, I will see God. One day, I will be home with my Father. Maranatha!


Does your heart yearn to be whole and united with your creator? Do you feel as though this whole life is a search for meaning and completeness, a search for home? God has buried this yearning in our hearts so deep we cannot rid ourselves of it. We will only be satisfied when we rest in His hand. In the hand of His Christ. In the hand of His Son. In the hand of Jesus of Nazareth.


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