In our story today we join Jesus in the temple again. I believe we are getting very near to His final visit to Jerusalem. He has been teaching and doing works for at least three years, if my assumption is correct and this is the last time He celebrates the Feast of Dedication.
After years of Jesus’ teaching throughout the land He is approached by the Jews and asked a question. I was always told that the only dumb question is an unasked question, but I think they may have proved that adage wrong with their question. “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly” (verse 24).
“Haven’t you heard a word I’ve said? Maybe you need to clean your ears out.” How long had He been telling them this truth? That’s right, three years. Granted, Jesus didn’t say “I am the Christ” until the very last, but He plainly disclosed His relationship with the Father throughout His ministry. And any good Jew would know by Jesus’ description of Himself that He was indeed claiming to be the Christ; the Messiah; the Son of God.
Jesus’ answer to this group verifies that He has told them repeatedly. “I told you, and you did not believe” (verse 25a). He had been saying it all along with His words, but also with His actions. NO ONE could do the works that He did without being DIRECTLY from God. Never before had a man’s eyes been opened who was born blind. “The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe” (verses 25b-26a). This group was definitely counted in the not believing group.
The last part of verse 26 clearly tells us why. “Because you are not among my sheep” (verse 26b). THAT was the reason why they wouldn’t listen to His answers or believe their own eyes. They were not His. They turned away at every chance. They tried to discredit Him at every opportunity. And they wanted to kill Him. Jesus’ true “sheep” were able to clearly understand who He was claiming to be. They recognized Him as the Messiah; the Christ. They KNEW with every fiber of their being that the works He did came straight from God. They saw God’s stamp of approval all over Jesus’ life. And they were rewarded for that.
After directing this group back to the evidence and history so far, Jesus responds to their demand for a straight answer. “I and the Father are one” (verse 30). They asked for it and they got it! But they didn’t like what they got. They were worse than children. They got exactly what they wanted and probably what they were expecting, but instead of thanking Him for finally setting their minds to rest, they picked up stones to kill Him with.
They weren’t really asking the original question because they weren’t sure what His answer would be or because they didn’t know what He had been saying. They were asking to find ammunition with which to condemn Jesus. “We got Him now boys! He’s done fallen right into our trap!”
I love Jesus’ answer to their actions. “I have shown you many good works for the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” (verse 32). He put it right back on them. He even used their own Law to deflate their certainty. He used King David’s words from Psalm 82 against them. He knew the word better than they did.
Jesus ended His interaction with them by referring them back to the works He had been doing all along. “If I am not doing the works of My Father, then don not believe Me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father” (verses 37-38).
That should have settled it. Actually, it did for both sides. It sealed the Jews resolve to kill Him and confirmed to anyone who really wanted the truth that He was exactly who He claimed to be. The proof was in the putting for sure. Those that came to Him after He went back across the Jordan said it best for their fellow Jews; “John did no signs, but everything that John said about this Man was true” (verse 41). I wonder where all those who believed Him there were at when He stood next to Pilate a few months later.
Lord Jesus, thank You for not keeping us in the dark or making us guess. Thank You for plainly stating the truth. The signs alone would have been enough but You also confirmed the truth through Your words. I am ever the skeptic but I believe even I would have been convinced by what I saw happening.
You still do so many things today that speak volumes as to who You are and that You are real. I don’t know how anyone can still have any doubts. It boggles my mind. It also breaks my heart that some of my children can be counted in those who don’t fully believe. Please Jesus, open their eyes! Once again I MUST leave them in Your hands. I trust You.