Monday After the Second Sunday After Easter John 10:17-29
MONDAY AFTER THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
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."
The Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) was celebrated in December. It was an important national holiday to remind the people of the fight for freedom against King Antiochus IV two hundred years before (164 BC). Antiochus had tried to put an end to Judaism by forbidding circumcision and the Sabbath, destroying the scrolls where the Law was written, and transforming the temple into a house of idols. Judas Maccabee started an uprising that was successful against all odds. The temple was then purified and the Lord's restored. The people celebrated the memory of this victory. Solomon's colonnade, where Jesus walked, was on the east side of the temple facing the Mount of Olives and was protected from the bitter northwest winds blowing from the Syrian highlands. Here, once again, people gathered around Jesus and asked if He was the Messiah.
Jesus told them that if they wanted to see and understand, then His deeds as well as His words would be answer enough. But a very distinct line between us becomes apparent when this question is raised. There are those who instinctively say no to Jesus, just as there are those who are drawn to Him. Here Jesus characterizes those gathered around Him. They listen to His voice. When they hear God's Word, they understand who is speaking. They want to hear more. They don’t tire of listening. They know that this Word is living and gives life.
Even more, He knows them. To know in the Bible doesn't mean simply to have knowledge about something. When it comes to God and us, to know means to have a real, deep, and inner mutual relationship, devoid of obstacles, reservations, or stipulations. To be a Christian consists, Paul says, in coming "to know God, or rather to be known by God" (Galatians 4:9). That's how the Good Shepherd recognizes His sheep and how they recognize Him. Therefore they follow Him. That's the third attribute. They won't each go their own way. They follow Him even if they have to go with Him alone, against the grain.
And finally: He gives them eternal life. They will never perish. Nothing can grab them out of His hand. The Lord has given His life so they will be able to live. He gave it freely of His own will. His death was not a tragedy, not a victory for violence and injustice. He had the strength to overpower His enemies, but He chose to give His life for them instead. Jesus also had "authority to take it up again" (John 10:18). This doesn't mean it was easy for Him to die. He bore the world's sin and was forsaken by God. None of us can fathom the depth of that suffering. But His life that His enemies thought they had extinguished was God's own life. "For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself" (John 5:26). He gave this life in death as a propitiation for our sins. Therefore, His life—which conquered death—can be given to us sinners also. It's for this reason that no one can take believers out of His hand. There's no sin so great that it can't be forgiven when someone believes in Jesus.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever" (Psalm 23:1-6). Amen.