John 10:22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will 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 the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” ESV
What is the general theme of the passage?
The Pharisees faithfully celebrate the history of what they already believe. They have dedicated their lives to the structure of their past. They have set themselves apart to determine and define every detail of what being chosen looks like in life, faith and politics. Jesus is using miracles and truth, the same evidence God used to secure their past, to confront their present and their future. They perceive the simple truth Jesus is telling them as a rejection of what they already believe rather than a completion of what God has already shown them. That’s what makes Jesus hard for them to accept. “When the pharisees in front of the temple heard Jesus saying that they were not his sheep, they have probably heard it as a complete rejection of their status as elect. But the Jews have not lost their election. In regards to the gospel they are enemies, but in regards to election they are beloved.”a
What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus is confronting the position of these “chosen” men with their history, not the security of their history. He’s asking them is it their history that validates their security OR is it their security that validates their history?
What does it say about people?
Jesus still asks that same question today in a slightly different way: Is it your life and behavior that validates your position with God OR is it your position with God that validates your life and behavior?
Is there truth here for me?
I am dedicated to defining the details of what being chosen looks like in my life, faith and politics. Is my security my history with Jesus OR is my history with Jesus my security? While I may struggle with the role of semantics in answering those three positioning questions because I am a Pharisee, I am also smart enough to know I am “beloved” because Jesus has completed my past and that is why I am among His sheep.
“Now many of the Jews are enemies of the Gospel. They hate it. But this has been a benefit to you, for it has resulted in God’s giving his gifts to you Gentiles. Yet the Jews are still beloved of God because of his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn; he will never go back on his promises.” Rom. 11:28-29TLB