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Empty Cross Ministries
John Chapter 10
John 10:22-23 “And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.” “And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.”
“Feast of Dedication” is the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, which celebrates the Israelite victory over the Syrian leader Antiochus Epiphanes, who persecuted Israel. In 170 B.C. conquered Jerusalem and desecrated the Jewish temple by setting up a pagan altar to displace the altar of God.
Under the leadership of an old priest named Mattathias (his family name was called the Hasmoneans), the Jews fought guerrilla warfare (known as the Maccabean Revolt, 166-142 B.C.), against Syria and freed the temple and the land from Syrian dominance until 63 B.C. when Rome (Pompey), took control of Palestine.
It was (in 164 B.C.), on 25 Chislev (Dec. approximately), that the Jews liberated the temple and rededicated it. The celebration is also known as the “Feast of Lights” because of the lighting of lamps and candles in Jewish homes to commemorate the event.
“It was winter”: John indicated by this phrase that the cold weather drove Jesus to walk on the eastern side of the temple in the sheltered area of Solomon’s porch, which after the resurrection became the regular gathering place of Christians where they would proclaim the gospel.
This Feast of Dedication is the same as the Feast of Lights, which began on the 25th day of Chislev (December), and continued for eight days. This Feast did not require attendance at Jerusalem.
The Jews illuminated their houses for eight days to commemorate the miracle of the oil in the temple which multiplied and lasted eight days when there was only one day’s supply. I personally believe that Jesus was born on December 25th, because He is the Light.
We see from the (verse 22 above), that this Feast, indeed, did occur in winter. This location where Jesus came was a popular place to speak to the people.
John 10:24 “Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.”
In light of the context of (verses 31-39), the Jews were not seeking merely for clarity and understanding regarding who Jesus was, but rather wanted Him to declare openly that He was Messiah in order to justify attacking Him.
Really, the reason they doubted was because they did not know the Scriptures very well. He had already told them, and they did not believe Him. They were trying to say that their lack of faith was His fault. The only reason they really wanted Him to come right out and say that He is, is so they will have something to accuse Him of.
John 10:25 “Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.”
There should be no question at all of Who He Is. Not only has Jesus told them over and over, but the miracles that they saw Him do should have left absolutely no doubt. No mere man can do these miracles. He had to be Christ (their Messiah).
(Verses 26 & 27), clearly indicates that God has chosen His sheep and it is they who believe and follow.
John 10:26 “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.”
The only ones who are His sheep are those who believe. Jesus (the great Shepherd), leads those who believe in Him (His sheep). You see, the key word is believe. If we believe in Jesus, He is our Shepherd; and we are His sheep.
John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”
A shepherd knows his sheep. It is strange, but you can have two men’s sheep in one pen, but the only ones that follow their master’s voice are his own sheep.
John 10:28-29 “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
The security of Jesus’ sheep rests with Him as the good shepherd, who has the power to keep them safe. Neither thieves and robbers nor the wolf, can harm them. (Verse 29), makes clear that the Father ultimately stands behind the sheep’s security, for no one is able to steal from God, who is in sovereign control of all things (Col. 3:3).
No stronger passage in the Old Testament or New Testament exists for the absolute, eternal security of every true Christian.
We see here again, that the will of the Father and Jesus’ will are the same. No mere man can take Jesus’ sheep away. Those who decide to follow Jesus shall have eternal life. The reward of following Jesus is eternal life.
John 10:30 “I and my Father are one.”
Both Father and Son are committed to the perfect protection and preservation of Jesus’ sheep. The sentence, stressing the united purpose and action of both in the security and safety of the flock, presupposes unity of nature and essence.
John 10:31 “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.”
They were about to stone Jesus, because they felt it blasphemy for Him to say that He and the Father were one.
For the third time John records that the Jews attempted to stone Jesus. Jesus’ assertion (verse 30), that He was One with the Father affirmed His claim to deity and caused the Jews to seek His execution (verse 33). Although the Old Testament permitted stoning in certain instances, the Romans reserved the right of capital punishment for themselves.
Nevertheless, out of control Jews attempted a mob action in lieu of legal proceedings (see Acts 7:54-60).
John 10:32 “Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?”
Jesus nearly always answers with a question. Jesus points to the miracles that He had done and says that they were actually from the Father. The works they could not deny, because many of them had been done in their presence.
When He asks for which miracle they stone Him for, He shifts their thoughts from His claim of being equal with the Father to the miracles which they cannot deny.
John 10:33 “The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.”
There was no doubt in the minds of those Jews that Jesus was claiming to be God.
This has been the struggle ever since Jesus (the Word), came to earth and was housed in the body of a man. These Jews did not realize that Jesus was not a man, but was Immanuel, meaning God with us.
Today this same argument still rages. Men cannot believe that Jesus was God the Word who took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us.
Verses 34-36: Quoted from (Psalm 82:6), where God calls some unjust, judges ‘god’s and pronounces calamity against them. Jesus’ argument is that this psalm proves that the word “god” can be legitimately used to refer to others than God Himself.
His reasoning is that if there are others whom God can address as ‘god” or “sons of the Most High,” why then should the Jews object to Jesus’ statement that He is “the Son of God (verse 36)?
John 10:34 “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said Ye are gods?”
This statement Jesus makes here is a quotation from (Psalms 82:6), “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” You see, Jesus knows just exactly what to say to stump these Jews. They must renounce the Scripture or gracefully get out of the accusation.
John 10:35 “If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;”
An affirmation of the absolute accuracy and authority of Scripture.
John 10:36 “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?”
Jesus has trapped them again. He says here, the Scripture does not change. Then He tells them that He is the Son of God, and that the Father, Himself, sanctified Him and sent Him into the world.
John 10:37 “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.”
This is almost saying; show me anyone besides myself who has done these fantastic works. They know they cannot answer this, because Jesus did miracles that no leader of the church had ever done before. Many times it was said, only God could do this.
John 10:38 “But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.”
Jesus did not expect to be believed merely on His own assertions. Since He did the same things that the Father does, His enemies should consider this in their evolution of Him. The implication is, however, that they were so ignorant of God that they could not recognize the works of the Father or the One whom the Father sent.
Jesus is really saying, you know that no one but God can do these miracles. He also says, if you don’t believe me, you cannot deny the miracles I have done. Then He says, don’t you understand that I am in the Father and the Father in me?
These works are truly divine in nature and there is no way they can deny that. Perhaps, if they recognize that part, then maybe the realization of who Jesus is will dawn on them as well.
John 10:39 “Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,”
Jesus had such great power that He could have temporarily blinded them, or else He could have made Himself where they could not see Him. At any rate, Jesus walked right by them without them apprehending Him. It was not time for them to capture Him yet. It must be done at Passover.
John 10:40 “And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.”
Because of the increasing hostility (see verse 39), Jesus went from the region of Judea into the unpopulated area across the Jordan.
“Where John at first baptized”: This is probably a reference to either Perea or Batanea, the general area in the tetrarchy of Philip in the East and Northeast of the Sea of Galilee. The statement is ironic, since the area where John first began, was the area that became the last area in which Jesus stayed before He left for Jerusalem and crucifixion. The people remembered John’s testimony to Christ and affirmed their faith in Him.
Jesus left Jerusalem and went to the Jordan River area where He had been baptized of John. This was a friendly area where a great deal of His ministry had taken place. John the Baptist had been a messenger from God, preparing the way for Jesus.
Many had believed him and received Jesus freely. John was not a healer; he was a baptizer. Jesus was the healer. This was friendly territory for Jesus. John the Baptist had been popular here, and they believed his message about the coming Messiah.
John 10:41-42 “And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.” “And many believed on him there.”
John had spoken of Jesus, as he had baptized here at the Jordan, and people were prepared and ready to receive their Messiah. John the Baptist was a voice crying in the wilderness.
People believed him, and repented, and were baptized. John’s message was of Jesus, and here Jesus found many eager to believe on Him and receive eternal life.
John Chapter 10 Continued Questions
1. When was the Feast of Dedication?
2. What other name was this Feast called by?
3. What day and month did the Feast begin?
4. How many days did it last?
5. How did the Jews go about celebrating?
6. What did it commemorate?
8. What did these Jews ask Jesus to tell them outright?
9. Who were they trying to blame with their lack of faith?
10. In verse 25, Jesus said what bore witness of Him?
11. In verse 26, why did Jesus say they didn’t believe?
12. Who are His sheep?
13. What does Jesus say He gives His sheep in verse 28?
14. Whose hand can no man pluck them out of?
15. When Jesus said this, what did the Jews do?
16. “…for which of those ________ do ye stone me?”
17. Why did they say they were stoning Him?
18. From what Book in the Old Testament, did Jesus quote to them?
19. They said He blasphemed, because He said He was whom?
20. Jesus said it was okay not to believe Him, if what?
21. Jesus says, if you don’t believe me, believe what?
22. When they tried to take Him, what did He do?
23. Where did Jesus go when He left Jerusalem?
24. The people said John the Baptist did no _____________.
25. Was His ministry successful here?