Call to worship: Psalm 23
Text: John 10:22-30
It's Hanukkah! And while Israel celebrates the recovery of rightful worship in the hope of Messiah's advent, Jesus returns to the temple and is seen walking in Solomon's colonnade. Folks gather around Him and ask Him to tell them plainly whether He (thinks) He is the Christ or not. But the problem is not with Jesus. He's told them. He's shown them. They just refuse to believe. Jesus attributes their unbelief to the fact that they are not of His sheep. Without erasing their responsibility, He focuses on God's sovereignty in the matter. God has given Jesus a fold. He calls them. They hear Him. He knows them. They follow Him. He gives them eternal life. They shall never perish. But it's not so much the power of the life itself that keeps as it is the power of the One exerting, holding that power. Christ's sheep are in Christ's hand and, as it is no less than the hand of God, and nothing is greater than God, Christ's sheep are utterly safe. They will be brought Home! This is the Father's will, and Jesus will execute it. As then, before 'it is finished,' all the more assuredly now. At the Feast of Dedication, Jesus reveals His dedication to His sheep. In return, may we be increasingly dedicated to Him. If we cannot perish, what have we to fear ultimately?
- Unbelief exercised against Jesus. (10:22-24)
- Unbelief explained by Jesus. (10:25-26)
- Belief in Jesus explained by Jesus. (10:27)
- Believers in Jesus encouraged in Jesus. (10:28-30)
- Read John 10:22-30.
- As you read 10:22-24, what details does John provide about the scene of this encounter and what might they intend to say about Jesus? How or why is it another exercise of unbelief as opposed to an honest inquiry into who Jesus is? Is the problem with Jesus or the people (10:25)?
- In 10:25, what have they heard and seen? What has been their response to it all? Why does Jesus say that has been their response---what is the cause of their unbelief (10:26)? As it relates to faith, does Jesus focus on our responsibility here or God's sovereignty? Or (taken on the whole) both? This is certainly an instance where we are forced to ask ourselves, are we happy to take Jesus at all His Word (even if mysterious to us)?
- In 10:27, how does Jesus 'talk through' faith in Him? What does He do? What do His sheep (eventually and inevitably) do? What do you make of the middle of the verse? It's not 'they know Him,' but that He knows them. What is this 'knowing'? Consider 1 Corinthians 8:3. How does Jesus characterize faith at the end of the verse?
- In 10:28-30, how does Jesus encourage His sheep? Why might they need that encouragement? How might the encouragement serve to entice some unbelievers to enter His fold? What does Jesus give? What does it mean to 'never perish'? Is the focus on the power inherent in the life Jesus gives us or inherent to Jesus Himself? How great is that power? What is the assurance that comes from it for us? What does it say about Jesus? Consider how they respond to these words in 10:31-33.