Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
The feast of the Dedication was then taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter. And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”John 10:22-24
A wintry chill descended upon the temple in Jerusalem as Jesus’ enemies encircled the shepherd like wolves. The Light of the World outshone all the candles of the Festival of Lights (Hanukkah, Feast of Dedication), but his enemies preferred darkness.
“How long will you take away our life?” they asked the one who is Life itself (see NABRE footnote to John 10:24).
Hearts and ears were closed to Jesus, though his opponents seemed to seek a straight answer about his messiahship.
Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.John 10:25-26
Believing is not automatic. Signs and wonders, teaching, and fulfillment of prophecies do not necessarily awaken faith. The human heart has an unfathomable capacity to resist whatever it wants to resist. Every argument has a counter-argument. Faith is not ultimately a matter of debate, but of trust in a divine person. Faith is friendship.
Signs and wonders have limited efficacy. Stories in the Torah abound with signs and wonders that failed to produce lasting change. The ten plagues of Egypt rolled off the hardened heart of Pharaoh. The parting of the Red Sea, water from the rock, and “bread from heaven” (manna) did not prevent grumbling or craving for the “fleshpots of Egypt.”
“You do not believe,” Jesus said, because you have no relationship with me. My sheep seek green pastures, still waters, healing, rest, and life from me (Psalm 23).
My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.John 10:27-28
No one can snatch the sheep of the divine shepherd. Not even death, the last enemy in this world (1 Corinthians 15:26), can destroy the Good Shepherd and his sheep.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”John 29:30
The buck stops with the Father. Jesus can be mocked, scourged, and crucified for a time, but “the Father and I are one.” The Good Shepherd will return to the Father with the sheep given to him. The Father is better than a surety or guarantee. His Word is not just a promise or an oath, but a person—his only-begotten Son.