REFLECTIONS ON JOHN 10:19-30
This passage from the Gospel of John describes an encounter that took place toward the end of Jesus’ ministry. The verbal exchange occurs at the temple, the place where Israelites felt almost tangibly the presence of God, so it is ironic that it is here where this heated discussion about Jesus’ identity takes place.
Jesus has made some claims that many hearers don’t understand - he is a shepherd who will give his life for his followers but who has power to take up his life again. Jesus states that he and God, “the Father,” are one.
Jesus’ opponents demand an answer. “Are you really the Messiah we have waited for?” It appears there are two significant groups – those who are considering the evidence of three years of Jesus’ teaching about a Kingdom that wasn’t what they expected, as well as witnessing his deeds that are not just great, but deeds of power and moral excellence. These questioners are open to a new understanding of what it means to be kingdom people. The others stubbornly hold to their view of a militant Savior who will rescue God’s people but keep their cultural and religious traditions intact.
Jesus answers the skeptics with patience, giving them an opportunity to reconsider their resistance. He asks them to at least believe the good works as evidence of his Father’s love and care, even if they do not accept him as his Son.
Did the opponents really want more signs? Would another miracle convince them of his divinity? I doubt it! I think their inflexibility was probably because they didn’t want to let go of long held attitudes and routines, and completely transform their lives.
But for those early believers and for those of us today who recognize Jesus as the Good Shepherd who cares for “his sheep “and who trust in his promise of eternal life, we do not need all our questions answered. We can confidently trust the holy Shepherd to lead us safely through lush green fields, and also the dark valleys. What a tremendous promise, that no one can snatch us from the hands of Almighty God!