Summary: Jesus made two revealing points. 1. His sacrificial death was the very reason God loves His Son so much. God loves His Son just like any man loves his child. But God loves Jesus even more, in a more special way, because Jesus was willing to pay such a
As we move along in our study of the Gospel of John you might remember that last Sunday morning the message came from John 10: 1-16 when Jesus referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd. Tonight we will pick up there in verse 17.
READ 17-18. This is the final proof that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and that is in His sacrificial death and resurrection. A shepherd could do no great good that to give his life for his sheep. A shepherd who died for his sheep was beyond question a good shepherd. But there is something else here. The owner was pleased that the shepherd gave his life for the flock. The owner counted the shepherd to be a good shepherd.
Jesus made two revealing points.
1. His sacrificial death was the very reason God loves His Son so much. God loves His Son just like any man loves his child. But God loves Jesus even more, in a more special way, because Jesus was willing to pay such a price to bring men to God.
2. Jesus’ death was the supreme act of obedience. It was voluntary. He willingly died. No man took His life, He sacrificed Himself. The power to take His life was His and His alone.
This command to die was of God. It means that Jesus didn’t just die because of sin but because He wanted to glorify and honor God. This is an aspect of Jesus’ death that is often overlooked. In giving Himself as an offering to God, Christ was looking beyond our need to the majestic responsibility of glorifying God.
This means that Jesus’ first purpose was the glory of God. He was concerned primarily with doing the will of God. Adam has dishonored God in the beginning and man followed suit after Adam. Jesus wanted to honor God by showing that that at least one man thought more of God’s glory than of anything else. Jesus wanted to show that God’s will meant more than any personal desire or ambition which He might have. He said, “But the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what My Father has commanded me to.”
READ 19-21. Once again we see that the reaction to Jesus’ claims was mixed. Some said that Jesus was demon-possessed and mad. Others said that He was perhaps the Messiah.
READ 22-24. So Jesus was in Jerusalem at the Feast of Dedication. He was walking in Solomon’s colonnade. The Feast of Dedication was founded to celebrate the freedom of Israel from Syria in 164 B.C. What happened was terrible. Antiochus Epiphanes, the King of Syria from 175 to 164 B.C. loved Greek society. He tried to make the Jews into full-fledged Greeks in custom and religion. At first he tried peacefully, and some of the Jews adopted Greek ideas. But most Jews were not going to surrender their beliefs.
In order to be successful, Antiochus knew that he had to destroy Jewish religion. He attacked Jerusalem, slaughtering 80,000 Jews by the most horrible means imaginable and enslaving another 80,000.
He then desecrated the Jewish temple by turning the altar of burnt offering into an altar to the Greek god, Zeus. He sacrificed pigs on the altar. He set up a trade of prostitution in the temple chambers.
This caused some Jews to go underground and to take up the struggle against Antiochus. Judas Maccabaeus and his brothers came to the forefront as the leaders of the revolt against Syria. In 165 B.C. they were successful, and one of their first acts was to cleanse, restore, and rededicate the temple. It was for the purpose of celebrating the rededication of the temple to the worship of God that the Feast of Dedication was founded.
This feast is also known as the Feast of Lights. You might know it as Hanukkah. This is the only time the feast is mentioned in the gospels. Note in verse 24 how the Jews surrounded and encircled him, because they were determined to get a straight answer. They asked, “If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
READ 25-29. Jesus again makes the claim that He is the Messiah. There is a contrast between the religionists and the Lord’s sheep, between not believing and believing. Jesus states in verses 25-26 that these religionists didn’t believe.
Jesus had clearly claimed to be the Messiah. He said, “I DID tell you.” He had told them time and again. His works had proved that He was who He claimed to be. But the religionists didn’t believe Jesus’ claims. Why? Because they weren’t His sheep. Note that Jesus didn’t say, “You are not my sheep BECAUSE you don’t believe.” He said, “You don’t believe because you aren’t my sheep.” He was saying that they didn’t believe because they weren’t His followers.