May 6, 2001

John 10:22-30

They were celebrating Hanukkah just then in Jerusalem. It was winter. Jesus was strolling in the Temple across Solomon's Porch. The Jews, circling him, said, "How long are you going to keep us guessing? If you're the Messiah, tell us straight out."

Jesus answered, "I told you, but you don't believe. Everything I have done has been authorized by my Father, actions that speak louder than words. You don't believe because you're not my sheep. My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected form the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. I and the Father are one heart and mind."

<The Message >


1. [verses 27, 28, 29.] My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, etc.-- Our Lord still alludes to the discourse he had before this festival. As if he had said, My sheep are they who,

1. Hear my voice by faith;

2. Are known (that is, approved) by me, as loving me; and

3. Follow me, keep my commandments, with a believing, loving heart.

And to those who,
1. Truly believe (observe three promises annexed to three conditions) I give eternal life. He does not say, I will, but I give. For he that believeth hath everlasting life. Those whom,

2. I know truly to love me, shall never perish, provided they abide in my love.

3. Those who follow me, neither men nor devils can pluck out of my hand. My Father who hath, by an unchangeable decree, given me all that believe, love, and obey, is greater than all in heaven or earth, and none is able to pluck them out of his hand.
<John Wesley's Notes on the New Testament, 1754 >

By what would you identify Jesus' sheep? Do you connect promises to conditions? What needs to change in the conditions of your life if you are to come into the fulfillment of the promises intended for your?

2. [verse 30.] I and the Father are one -- Not by consent of will only, but by unity of power, and consequently of nature. Are -- This word confutes Sabellius, proving the plurality of persons: one -- This word confutes Arius, proving the unity of nature in God. Never did any prophet before, from the beginning of the world, use any one expression of himself, which could possibly be so interpreted as this and other expressions were, by all that heard our Lord speak. Therefore if he was not God he must have been the vilest of men.
<John Wesley's Notes on the New Testament, 1754 >

There are many interpretations of unity of GOD's presence. This has led to differences of opinion and the splitting of the church and the killing of one Jesus' follower by another Jesus follower. How might this image be used for the healing of the nations instead of the division of the church?

3. I, too, would like to be told straight out about GOD, but not at the expense of the numinous and metaphoric and not yet revealed GOD. This call for some form of fundamentalism and clarity of meaning has been with us since the beginning of time. The conversation between Mother Eve and Serpent and Adam come to this: straight-out telling never settles anything. There is always the component of action speaking louder than words to deal with.

May you hear what GOD means and know what you mean. Wow! that's a task worthy of a life.

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