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73: Who Are You Jesus?

May 14, 2009

Major Text: John 10:22-39

Outline:

  1. I Am Christ John 10:22-25
  2. I Am not Your Shepherd John 10:26-30
  3. I Am not a Blasphemer John 10:31-39

Context/Discussion/Comments:

Jesus is in Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication. This feast is not a Biblically commanded celebration but a Jewish secular feast commemorating the Maccabee’s uprising against Greco-Syrian occupation in 165BC. The Jews were no doubt looking for a similar uprising to take place against the Roman occupation and perhaps Jesus was the one to lead it. Today this Feast of Dedication is known as Hanukkah, the festival of lights for the purification and rededication of the Temple. It is now two months after the Feast of the Tabernacles and four months prior to the crucifixion of Jesus.

I have been following the original documentation of A. T. Robertson’s Harmony of the Gospels as edited by Thomas and Gundry. The editors prefer to insert Lesson 61 between Lesson 72 and this lesson. The location is the same, Jerusalem. The time difference is about two months, The Feast of Tabernacles versus the Feast of Dedication.

Jesus is teaching at the Temple in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews gather to hear Him and ask Him to plainly tell them whether or not He is the Christ. Jesus responds by saying He has told them through His teaching and His miracles. Their problem is that they refuse to believe Him.

He proceeds to tell them that they aren’t His sheep either because they do not hear His voice. They do not believe nor do they follow Him. Jesus claims He is the giver of eternal life and that He and His Father are One. Those who believe are safe in Him for all eternity. He protects His sheep from the Evil One.

The Jews decide to stone Him. Jesus asks them which miracle deserves stoning. They aren’t concerned about the miracles but accuse Him of blasphemy. They confirm what Jesus was saying, they don’t believe and they even refuse to believe. He reasons that they are even wrong in that because the Psalmist has called them “gods” and He claims to be God, set apart by the Father to be their Savior.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. When we refuse to accept Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, we refuse to accept His teaching, His miracles, His power, his purpose, and His Father. When we refuse to accept Jesus as the Christ, we prefer to accept another.
  2. Those who accept and believe Jesus is the Christ are guaranteed eternal life, security, and protection. Those who accept Jesus as the Christ are safe and secure forever.
  3. When we refuse to accept Jesus as the Christ, we pick up stones to kill Him. We stone Him by worshipping another, by taking His name in vain, by refusing to believe in His power, by rejecting His teaching, by rejecting the Word of God, and by accepting the word of man.

Some Basics

John 10:26-30 is the clearest text supporting the minor doctrine of eternal security. There are other texts which are used to support this doctrine but they could also be interpreted in other ways too. There are many other texts which clearly counter such a doctrine. Different denominations approach this subject differently. Is the Bible inconsistent? No! But it does leave us in tension, pulled in two directions. I think this was God’s intent. We will be stronger if kept under tension.

When I complete this commentary, I may include a paper on this doctrine. At the moment, I still do not have a clear belief or answers. I just have faith. I favor a middle of the road approach, what scholars have termed a “reformed Calvinistic” approach or a “reformed Armenian” approach. Both of those have faults too.

Much of the differences in modern theological thinking about this doctrine originates from how one defines “who is born again?”, “who truly believes?’, and “what takes place when a person believes?”. Let me state my belief as follows.

A “born again, true believer” is:

  1. One who not only believes but also knows that Christ is the Son of God. They not only acknowledge this belief but reject all other beliefs/teachings: teachings which do not emphatically accept Jesus as the Son of God and the source of eternal life through His sacrifice on the cross for our sins and teachings which ignore His resurrection victory over death.
  2. One whose relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important relationship in their life. One who considers themselves already betrothed to Christ. They are fully committed. Adultery is a foreign word, an unknown concept. There is one goal; the wedding between them and Christ Jesus.
  3. One who has been filled with the Holy Spirit and has a changed heart, mind, and attitude toward who Jesus is and, therefore, senses the very presence and person of Jesus Christ in their life.
  4. One who loves and cherishes the Word of God as their source of wisdom and truth, one who desires to know God personally and desires to know Him more completely every day.
  5. One whose heart is open to God’s will, desires to follow Jesus Christ, rejoices if suffering for His sake, and bears fruit in the name of Jesus Christ; one in whom the hope of heaven is assured and one who looks forward to meeting Jesus face to face.
  6. Not one who calls himself Christian, joins a church, works in ministry, but views Christianity as a religion. True Christianity is not a religion, it is not a way of life; it is The Way of Life.

If given an opportunity, check out some of the writings of John Mac Arthur. I believe he has the right approach.

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