When you consider what Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has done and promises to do for His sheep, it begs the question, why would people refuse to believe?
It is the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah), celebrating the cleansing of the temple after Antiochus IV Epiphanes defiled it in 167 BC. It was winter.
The Jews ask Jesus for more evidence (v. 24). ″Convince us,″ they say. ″Tell us openly if you are the Christ.″ Then, as now, most non-believers imply that if there were more proof, they would believe. But lack of proof is never the problem.
Compare Isaiah 35:5-6 with what we have already read in John’s gospel: a man blind from birth receives sight (John 9); a man paralysed for 38 years walks (John 5). In John 11, we will read of Lazarus returning to life after being dead for four days. Jesus’ works testify to His identity (v. 25).
No, the problem is not lack of evidence. It is that ″you are not my sheep″ (v. 26). You are not my sheep because you don’t believe, and you don’t believe because you are not my sheep. Again we are reminded that new birth is God’s to give (John 1:13).
How do you know if you are one of Jesus’ sheep? You will listen to Him and recognize His authoritative voice (v. 27); you will know that you are known by Him (Romans 8:16); you will have a new lifestyle of following Him (v. 27).What are the benefits of being Christ’s sheep? You will have eternal life and never perish (v. 28). You are eternally secure; what God starts He will finish (v. 29)
There is no ground here for superiority. You are part of the flock because of God’s mercy. None of us deserves it. There is no ground for presumption. Those who are His will listen to and follow Him. There is no ground for pessimism. No matter how powerful the forces against us seem, He is mightier still. There is no ground for fatalism. We need to consider carefully the evidence we have about Jesus, knowing that even as we seek Him, it is He who is seeking us. There is no ground for scepticism. For we know that at the judgment, Jesus will offer His record to God on our behalf.
The furious Jews try to kill Jesus for claiming to be God (vv. 31-32). Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6, which refers to Israel’s judges, as God’s agents, being gods. If that is not blasphemy (and it is not), then surely when the true Son comes, who does exactly what the Father does (v. 38), it is not right to accuse Him of blasphemy (v. 36). Jesus escaped their grasp (v. 39); many came to Him (v. 41); and many believed (vv. 39, 41-42).
Look back at all the ″no ground″ statements in the article. Praise God that Jesus will offer His record to God as your own. How can you show your gratitude to Christ for His wonderful gift today?