For audio recording, here's the link: https://youtu.be/46A4lyiPp04
The festival of Dedication, mentioned in the lesson today, commemorated the rebuilding and rededication of the temple after the Babylonians destroyed it in about 586 bce. Today it’s known as Hanukkah. It always takes place in November/December, which is in winter in that part of the world.
Prepare to listen. Still your heart and mind with this prayer from Psalm 19: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Prayerfully Read John 10:22-30
22At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’ 25Jesus answered, ‘I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30The Father and I are one.’
“How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” The question from the Jews (always hostile in John) is disingenuous. They’re not searchers after truth; they weren’t looking for a reason to believe in Jesus. They wanted a reason to condemn him. Jesus turned the accusation back on them, bluntly saying, “I have told you, and you do not believe… you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.” They may claim to be children of Abraham (Jn 8:33ff) and think they belong to God, but they don’t belong to Jesus, who said, "The Father and I are one." If they were one of God’s, they would hear Jesus’ voice because, as he says, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.”
Hearing and following Jesus means leaving behind the familiar. When we do, our lives will be transformed as Jesus takes us to places we’ve never been before, makes us rub shoulders with folk we used to avoid. It won’t be easy or even secure. The only certainty is that no one will ever snatch us out of Jesus’ hands.
As you read this passage, what connected, intrigued, puzzled you? What do you see now?
Respond to Jesus
You call us, Lord. Because we belong to you, we hear your voice, sometimes faintly, sometimes clearly. Regardless, keep me following you wherever you go today, always alert so that I hear your voice, and remain secure in the knowledge that I’m in your hands. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world, secure in Jesus’ hands.
Reflection on Scripture has been a constant in my life ever since I can remember. Reflecting on Jesus in the Gospels has become a necessity to get Jesus right. Join me in reading John to see Jesus more clearly this Lent.