Monday, April 19, 2010

Jesus knows his own John 10:22-20

People in Jesus day were hoping and wondering if Jesus was the one. The people of Israel wanted the Messiah. Some came to Jesus boldly,

“How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” John 10:24 NRSV
The question shows real chutzpah. Jesus healed and taught about a Kingdom; but he wasn't acting like the Messiah they wanted. The people had suffered greatly but still had hope. Living on hope isn't easy; but it can be done. Studs Terkel, a great observer of American life wrote Hope Dies Last and in many ways he's right: hope is fragile, but it sticks around. The people wanted to know if they could stop waiting for their day to come.

Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, John 10:25-26 NRSV

Jesus is hope. But the people hoped he would take power. Jesus' actions and words convinced many God's kingdom had come. Others were unmoved. Jesus told them--they didn't believe. Jesus works, done in the father's name, didn't create faith in everyone. Jesus doesn't resolve the doubts. Instead he named the conflict. "You don't believe."

We mistakenly think that belief and unbelief are human matters. Bill Hybels' sermon on Ephesians 1 Who Chooses Whom (October 18, 2009) is a great walk through this issue. God's will and how we understand it is a theological minefield that's divided churches. Reading the scripture challenges our assumptions. Jesus spoke about the people as if they were sheep either chosen or left out of the flock. He said clearly,
...but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:26-29 NRSV.
Our place in the kingdom isn't that of the shepherd. We are the sheep blessed by God's protection not by our will to enter God's kingdom.

3 comments:

Micaiah said...

Interesting. This is a concept that so many will not submit to. It seems awfully pridefull to think that we are in control of God's salvation for us; that a dead sinner could invoke life in himself somehow.

Unlikely said...

Micaiah,
thanks for the note.
I find the word submit that you use to be very telling. We humans want to be in control, but we can never aspire to be anything more than sheep if God is the true shepherd.
For the gracious love of the Shepherd willing to be the Lamb sacrificed for the sheep I give thanks.
peace to you
John

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