June 28, 2007; Jesus, Prince of Preachers and Premier Prophet (6 of 12)

Focus Text: John 10.24-28

“Then the Jews surrounded Him [Jesus] and said to Him, ‘How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.’ Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10.24-28).

The Jews who confronted Jesus were obviously unbelievers; they failed to believe what Jesus had told them. Jesus’ response to their challenge was forthright; “The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.” Jesus’ message had not come in word only; had that been the case, others would have had reason to doubt. He had made this same argument earlier but to no avail. Hear His previous words: “But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish——the very works that I do——bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.” (John 5.36).

A short time earlier, He had declared Himself to be the Good Shepherd (John 10.10-18) and in that vein, He stated to the rebellious Jews, “You are not of my sheep.” Couple this statement with the immediate context and circumstances and an awesome truth becomes apparent. Catch this irony: He had other sheep that were not of this [the Jews] fold (John 10.16). Pressing even further, some of the Jews were not even of His fold (i.e. the ones addressed in the focus text). Jesus simply did not fit the Jew’s preconceived idea of what Messiah ought to be. Had they consulted the Scriptures they would have known, but their preconceptions were of more importance to them than the unimpeachable testimony of scripture.

The fault with the Jews was a heart problem for which neither the Father nor the Son was responsible. Jesus sheep are those who hear His voice and this rebel flock was refusing to hear! They certainly needed a shepherd but their demeanor ruled Jesus out as that shepherd. Certainly they could have changed their minds had they wished to; the evidence available to them was exactly the same evidence as was available to Jesus’ disciples. Now note a fearsome truth: When we reject God and the plan of salvation offered through Jesus Christ, we judge ourselves to be unworthy of eternal life. It is not that we are of any less worth than the redeemed; it is just that we have denigrated ourselves to a place lower than that which the Father expects or desires of us.

We will have more to say about the focus text, but a great truth must be stated here. Jesus refuses no one lest that one first refused Him! We are the sheep of His pasture because we choose to be His sheep. Not a single solitary soul who has ever lived can justifiably blame God for his/her lost condition! The weight of the evidence is exactly the same for every man, woman, boy, and girl. How we react to the evidence determines to whom we belong!

Questions:

1. What challenge did the Jews lay before Jesus? Was this challenge on the up and up?

2. Why should they have already reached the correct conclusion about Jesus’ identity?

3. What caused these Jews not to be His sheep? Was it Jesus’ choice or otherwise?

4. What witness did Jesus offer beyond His word? Who had the ability to view this evidence?