Summary: Jesus provides promises and proofs of His Deity and Messiahship after two I AM declarations; I am the Door and I am the Good Shepherd
“Promises and Proofs from the Good Shepherd” John 10:22-42
Last week we heard Jesus make two more “I AM” statements, emphatic declarations of His own Deity, identifying Himself as the YAHWEH, the Lord God of the Old Testament. He said, “I AM the DOOR of the Sheep” and “I AM the Good Shepherd. We pick up the follow-up in John 10:22: “Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's porch.”
A little background here: The Feast of Lights or Dedication is known as Hanukkah;(Hanukkah fell on Dec. 7th this year.) Antiochus Ephiphanes of Syria had persecuted Israel and in 170 BC He conquered Jerusalem. The Jews’ liberated the temple from Syrian domination in 164 BC. It was celebrated in people’s homes by the lighting of lamps and candles during the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah).
Again, the Light of the World is teaching on the sheltered area of the Temple, Solomon’s porch, which became a regular meeting place of Christians after Jesus’ resurrection. Perhaps that is why John tells us, “it was winter”. “Winter’ is also the condition of the hearts of the Jewish leadership: They were stone cold toward Jesus, and this would be the last time that Jesus offers salvation and Jesus also ceases all debates with Jewish leadership from this time on.
Jesus speaks as the Messiah/Shepherd
Look at verse 24: “Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, "How long do You keep us in doubt? (or suspense) If You are the Christ, tell us plainly." The Jews here encircle Jesus and present a stern question. Literally it reads: “Until when the soul of us you take away?” Kind of strange, isn’t it? It is if they are saying: “Are you trying to take our lives away by not revealing clearly if you are the Christ or Messiah?” For those who are being drawn by the Father, Jesus’ clues from the Old Testament have been more than adequate to answer this question in addition to His miracles, but as we saw in the previous verses, those who are steeped in willful unbelief will not believe no matter how much evidence is produced.
Here’s Jesus’ response in 25: Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. 30 I and My Father are one."
Here Jesus speaks as the Messiah/ Shepherd and also the Son of the Heavenly Father, providing evidence and eternal promises as He speaks. Remember the words of Jesus are life as He declares His Messiahship (“Christ”) but His signs and miracles that He does “In the Father’s name” also declare His Messiahship. The fact that Jesus did them “in the “Father’s Name” made Jesus’ nature and power equivalent to the nature of YAHWEH, the I AM of the Old. The witness of His Words coincided perfectly with that of His Works: Jesus is sent from the Father and He is God INCARNATE.
The reason that they did not hear or believe that Jesus was the Messiah, their Christ, was because they were not His sheep. In verse 14-15 of this chapter Jesus had said:” I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” They don’t know Him, they don’t hear or understand Him because they are not His sheep. The Shepherd’s Sheep WILL hear and continue to follow the Good Shepherd but those who are not called by the Father through the Door or Entrance who is Christ will not believe or follow. But praise God that those whom the Father has drawn to the Son DO HEAR and FOLLOW because He has made Himself known to them and so they know Him and believe in Him and follow Him. Verse 27 promises this for believers: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” In the framework of God’s Word and God’s World, “hearing” is believing and spiritually believing inevitably means following and obeying the Good Shepherd.
And why wouldn’t His sheep follow the Good Shepherd when He has gifted them with the extravagance of verse 28: “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” The Good Shepherd grants eternal life in His Kingdom and absolute security forever, just as Psalm 23 had promised hundreds of years before. Those who follow THE Shepherd “shall dwell in the house of the Lord FOREVER!