22 Then the Festival of Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple area in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 So the Jews gathered around Jesus, asking, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I am doing in my Father’s name testify about me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not my sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” 31 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?” 33 “We are not going to stone you for a good work,” the Jews answered, “but for blasphemy, because although you are a man, you make yourself out to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said you are gods’? 35 If he called those people ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken, 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart and sent into the world? Do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, do not believe me. 38 But if I am doing them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works so that you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.” 39 So they tried to arrest him again, but he eluded their grasp. 40 He went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and he stayed there. 41 Many came to him and were saying, “John never did a miraculous sign, but everything John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.
One of the most frustrating situations to deal with is when you try to explain something to someone and they just don’t get it. You repeat yourself several times and they either can’t understand or they refuse to even try to understand what you’re saying. Imagine how Jesus must have felt when the Jews confronted him at the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem with this question. “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus had told them on numerous occasions that he is the Christ (the anointed one from God). He not only spoke the words, he also proved he is the Christ by the many miracles he did.
The problem wasn’t Jesus failing to tell them who he is. The problem is sinful human beings continually harden their hearts against the truth that Jesus is the true Son of God. We find a good example of this in our Scripture lesson. Jesus did what the unbelieving Jews wanted. He told them plainly that he is the Christ. Jesus said “I and the Father are one.” The Holy Scriptures testified that the promised Christ would be God himself who would come to us in human flesh. Jesus obviously was a flesh and blood human being. By confessing that he is one with the Father, he is confessing that he is also true God. The Jews knew exactly what Jesus was saying. They took up stones to kill Jesus. In their minds Jesus had spoken blasphemy. He claimed to be God. According to their law, this sin was punishable by death.
Such hardened unbelief is a reminder of how blessed we truly are. Jesus said in verse 27, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” When we hear Jesus say that he is one with the Father we don’t have the desire to throw stones at him or to walk away from him and never return. Whenever we read the Holy Scriptures we have no doubts that God is speaking to us. We know this because the Holy Spirit has graciously worked in our hearts so we believe that the Holy Scriptures are the pure Word of God. God’s Word confesses that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and our Savior.
Our Lord Jesus makes several gracious promises to those who follow him in faith. He gives us eternal life. Because Jesus lived, died, and rose again from the dead, our sins are forgiven. We follow him because we believe his promise that he is the only way to eternal life.
He promises that we will never perish. It is true that someday we will die, unless Jesus comes back first. But we don’t truly perish. Death is merely a temporary sleep for our bodies. Our soul will not die. It immediately goes to live with our Lord forever. Our soul waits for the day when Jesus will raise our bodies from the dead. On that day he will reunite us body and soul to live with him forever.
No one will ever snatch us out of Jesus’ hands. As we learned in our last lesson, Jesus is our Good Shepherd. Our Shepherd always protects his sheep. Jesus can provide us with protection that no one else can. He is the almighty Son of God. Nothing in the universe can stand against him. With Jesus holding us in his hands we don’t need to fear any evil. Hold onto him in faith and no one will ever snatch you away from the eternal life he has prepared for you.
At the close of our Scripture lesson we hear that many people heard Jesus’ message and they believed. Praise to our Lord that we have heard Jesus’ voice and we believe also. Because he is our Savior, no one can snatch us away from him. We will not perish. We will have eternal life with him.
1 – Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Festival of Dedication. What was the purpose of this festival?
This feast celebrated the purification of the temple by Judas Maccabaeus in 165 B.C. This purification occurred after Israel successfully revolted against the Seleucid Empire. Today the Festival of Dedication is known as Hanukkah or the Festival of Lights.
2 – What does Jesus mean when he said in verse 30 “I and the father are one?”
Jesus is confessing that he is true God, just as the Father is God. Jesus isn’t merely similar to the Father; he is fully united with the Father. As we confess in the Doctrine of the Trinity; God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons, yet they are one divine being.
3 – What did Jesus mean when he said in verse 34 “I said you are gods?”
Jesus is here quoting from Psalm 82:6. “I said, ‘You are gods,’ you are all sons of the Most High.” We are not gods in the sense that we are divine beings. But God has appointed men to be his representatives on earth. As sons of the Most High God we are among his representatives. He has entrusted the task of proclaiming his Word until he returns.
4 – What important truth is Jesus proclaiming when he says in verse 35 “The Scripture cannot be broken?”
Jesus teaches that the Holy Scriptures are completely true. They are without error. We can believe everything that the Holy Scriptures teach us. God not only gave us his Word, he also continues to keep its teachings pure until Jesus returns.
If you have any questions about the Word of God we studied in this lesson please contact Pastor Greg Tobison. You can send your questions to