Who is Jesus?
Let’s discuss one of the most important questions of Christianity, who is Jesus?
We will look at John 10:22-30 and find an answer.
John 10:22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
What is the Feast of Dedication? (vs 22)
Hanukkah was not one of the festivals commanded for ancient Israel in Leviticus. It was an added festival, celebrating a later event than the those surrounding the Exodus. It is also called the Feast of Lights or Dedication, referring to the second temple in Jerusalem. Seleucid King Antiochus Epiphanes looted the temple and sacrificed pigs to Zeus, provoking a revolt. 1 Maccabees which is found in some Bibles, tells the story of an 8 day celebration of the defeat of Antiochus. A leader of the revolt, Judah the Hammer, ordered the Temple cleansed but only enough oil for the Menorah to burn one day was found. By a miracle the oil lasted 8 days, in time for a fresh supply.
What Do our Works Say? (vs 24)
The question “Was Jesus the Messiah?” kept the Jews between doubt and hope.1 The suspense was “killing” them. Jesus was careful because anyone who said he was the Messiah would have been put out of the Temple. They had already decided that he was not, but like many reporters, wanted a simplistic yes or no answer instead of another parable. Jesus wisely had not given them yes or no answers. These Jews were similar to some Christians who may say, don’t confuse me with the Bible, my mind is made up. Jesus seems to be saying, look at my deeds and come to your own conclusion about my role. Do our works tell the world that we are Christians?
1 Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
Who is Jesus? (vs 25-27)
The answer to who Jesus is can only come to those who are his sheep. They will know. We have been given to Jesus by the Father. Because of that, it is impossible for anyone to snatch us from Jesus’ hand. Hanukkah reminded the Jews of a political savior who liberated them from the Seleucids and Antiochus Epiphanes. Now under Roman oppression, an immoral minority became fabulously wealthy as most Jews sunk into poverty. Jesus’ works of healing and preaching about a heavenly kingdom did not fit their hopes. They looked for a liberating warrior. God’s true sheep know that his kingdom is hidden in a ministry to the needy, by saving the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick and imprisoned.
Jesus’ Valuable Sheep (vs 28-29)
An alternative rendering of John 10:28-29 is found in several translations of the Bible, that the Father has given Jesus a gift greater than all things (his flock, us). We guard and protect the things that we value most and so does God. Jesus values his sheep as a very precious gift from the Father. No one can snatch them out of his hand. No one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand. By deduction, Jesus’ hand and the Father’s hand are doing the same thing. Both esteem us as being of inestimable value. We are not worthless sinners without hope. We are highly valued. This ought to be a substantial word of comfort and guarantee to us.
I and the Father are one (vs 30)
Jesus and the Father are one, the same word as is used in the Shema Yisrael (Deuteronomy 6:4), the Lord is one. God’s angels are his angels (Matthew 13:41; Luke 12:8-9; 15:10). He is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). The Word (Jesus) was God (John 1:1). Jesus is an exact representation of God’s nature (Hebrews 1:2-8). In Jesus the fullness of deity dwells bodily (Colossians 1:15-20; 2:9). Jesus is the judge (2 Timothy 4:1; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Jesus had the form or nature of God before birth (Philippians 2:5-11). Thomas called Jesus my Lord and my God (John 20:28), a central tenet of true Christianity.
The answer to who is Jesus is one main difference between true Christianity and heresy. What unites Christians is the idea that Jesus is God. Jesus said that his works showed who he is? Do our deeds show where our faith lies?