I love the words of Jesus. They are precious, comforting, and revealing beyond imagining. Have you noticed how He so often reveals an iceberg of truth within just a few words?
When the Jews of ancient Israel in Jesus’ day came around intending to corner Him into admitting His claims of being the Messiah, He didn’t just reveal His nature, He revealed theirs. More, He revealed the condition of their souls.
“Then the Jews came around Him and said to Him, ‘How long will You make us to doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.’ Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you didn’t believe: the works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you believe not, 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.’” John 10:24-27
Notice, first, Jesus told them, “the works I do bear witness of Me”. Yes, His works alone should have had every person in Jerusalem following Him.
For Heaven’s sake, He had healed every person ever brought to Him, of all sickness, soul or body. He had turned water into wine. He turned a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread into an abundant feast for thousands of people. He cast out demons from the afflicted.
The goodness and power of God literally gushed from this man. And every bit of it witnessed and written down, still contained in the Gospels today.
Yet most of Jerusalem denied Him, especially the leaders and priests. They wanted nothing to interrupt their entitlements, their power and wealth. He was a threat to all of it. So they denied His miracles, said He performed them by Satan instead of God. They suppressed the truth from the masses, in order to keep the status quo.
How sick is that? That some in power will actually go to the lengths of deceiving their own people and deny goodness in another simply because of their lust for power and control. When they will lie, cheat, and steal to retain power… Well, it is absolutely demonic.
And it is not just an old story, is it? This type of corruption is still alive and well today. It exists in both religious institutions and in government. There is nothing new under the sun.
But, let’s not dwell on that because I want to stay on Jesus. There is something to be learned for all of us, something eye-opening about the spiritual dichotomy of ancient Jerusalem.
When Jesus answered his interviewers on this day recorded in John 10, He exposed and revealed the condition of their souls. Listen again:
25 “I told you and you believed not… 26 But you believe not, because you are not My sheep… 27 My sheep hear my voice, and they follow Me.”
Did you catch that?
Here we have Jesus, God Himself who had come to earth. Life and miracles poured out of Him to everyone, screaming His identity to all who loved God, to all who knew the Jewish scriptures and prophecies, and were watching for His arrival. Everyone faithful and devoted had no trouble following Christ. They already knew His Spirit! They already knew His voice!
We’ve all been taught the Jews were God’s exclusive people until after the cross and resurrection. But here in John 10 is Jesus – God Himself – before the cross and resurrection – telling some Jews, ‘you don’t belong to Me’.
Apparently, some had already left the family. Their prodigal hearts were not with God, their rebellious spirits had abandoned the God of their fathers. They simply could no longer recognize Him when He was standing right in front of them.
You see, Jesus didn’t just come to call souls. He came to REVEAL them.
I grew up believing Jesus was this giant fork in the road for God’s ancient people, such a huge change that forever altered the way people related to God. And in a way, I admit I felt that radical change might have explained or been an excuse for those who just couldn’t see it and make the turn.
But the truth is, Jesus was the natural continuation of being God’s people! For those who already knew His Spirit, knew His voice, following Him was as easy as breathing.
And the rewards were eternal. Jesus revealed that, too, in John 10:28-29. For those that follow Him:
“I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish (in eternal damnation), neither will anyone steal them from my hand. My Father who gave them to me is greater than all; and no one is able to steal them out of My Father’s hand.”
Being God’s means following Jesus. And being His is permanent, secure! No human (including you) can remove you from His hand once you are His. To deny that is to deny the power of God Himself. If you cannot trust Him to keep you, you cannot trust Him. This is very basic. Who has more power than God? Not you. Not anyone. No one.
If anyone reading today has not yet come to believe in Christ, perhaps you will reconsider. His life was unlike any other in history. Hundreds, thousands of real people witnessed all of His acts, the miracles, the healings, the true love and power of God flowing from Him wherever He walked.
His life fulfilled every prophecy of the trusted, ancient Jewish prophets. We’re talking hundreds of prophecies. He lived out every single one. No one else did. No one could have if they tried.
He was God. His life and sacrificial death were the divine plan to secure permanent forgiveness and salvation for God’s people, just as the prophets foretold.
And, He loves you. No matter what you’ve done. No matter how dark your heart or life is, He loves you and wants you to know Him, wants to fellowship with you. His love is transformative. Knowing Him and being loved by Him is the most healing relationship in existence. Won’t you give Him a chance?