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Reflection John 10:22-30
Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews gathered round him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me,
but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no-one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
In the verses 19-22 before this reading, the Jews had been discussing why Jesus was saying and doing the things he was. Is he a madman, is he demon-possessed? But then, if he is, how come he can open the eyes of the blind? Jesus was a hot topic of discussion and many then spent fruitless time in trying to work out who Jesus was.
Some of them decided that the only answer was to find Jesus and ask him directly. It doesn’t look like this was a peaceful ambush. They demanded that he told them exactly who he was. The word used is “plainly”. They wanted a direct answer to their question, there and then, “are you the Christ?” Of course, this is a loaded question, because to admit that would be blasphemy.
Jesus, as always, uses his words carefully. If it had been us, then there would be exasperation in our voice, as we replied, “I’ve already told you! Why can’t you believe me?!” But Jesus replies that the miracles are the Father’s and they speak for themselves. They don’t need explaining, it’s as simple as that.
Then he says that the Jews don’t believe because they are not Jesus’ sheep. He doesn’t put them down by saying that they aren’t his followers because they don’t believe. He says that the fact they don’t believe is proof that they are not his followers.
That’s the difference when we believe, it not that we believe and just become followers. It is when we wholly follow, that we believe. God calls us to become true followers of Jesus. He gives us the promise of eternal life. Not just after our body dies, but straight away when our spiritual body dies. Our life is changed, we start our eternal life in Jesus. No one can take that away, said Jesus. That’s when we believe.
Jesus takes the final step and states clearly to them that he and the Father are one. Not the same person, but one in essence. So, what is their response? To come to faith in the risen Christ? Not likely. In verse 31, after today’s reading, their response is to pick up stones. Resorting to violence when they can’t see the truth. We see that on the TV instead of reasoned protest. But how many “stones” do we pick up rather than fully committing ourselves to Jesus?
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
faithful shepherd of your Father’s sheep:
teach us to hear your voice
and to follow your command,
that all your people may be gathered into one flock,
to the glory of God the Father. Amen