4th Sunday in Easter | May 12, 2019
22 It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. 23 He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. 26 But you don’t believe me 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 will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”
John 10:22-30 New Living Translation (NLT)
Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” All the readings today have something to do with sheep. Sunday, I will be looking at Jesus’ claim that he is the Good Shepherd. I always thought that today’s passage was connected with the I AM the Good Shepherd passage found a few verses earlier in John 10. However, John gives us a clue that it is not. The disciples are at the Feast of Hanukkah with Jesus. A crowd gathers around him and asks if He is the Messiah? They say Jesus, tell us straight up if you are the Messiah or not.
John is building tension here in the middle of his Gospel. Jesus has already had several confrontations with the religious elite. He is about to raise Lazarus from the dead. There is an uneasiness about this teacher. At this point Jesus almost admits point blank that he is indeed the Messiah. Yes, I am the Son of God, because I come from the Father and I am doing the work that the Father has sent me to do. Then he cuts to the quick. “You don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.” One of John’s themes in this gospel is belief vs. unbelief. The people here are unbelieving that Jesus is indeed the Messiah – the Chosen One. Just after Jesus says this, it gets violent and the people want to stone Jesus for blasphemy.
But here is our question. Are you a follower of Jesus? Are you a follower of the Good Shepherd? Jesus tells us that if we are his sheep, we will obey his voice – we will follow after Him. It is only through Jesus that we have eternal life. It’s one thing to here Jesus’ voice – after all the people gathered in the temple did that, but it’s quite another to follow and obey.