Jesus stopped in Solomon’s porch to soak up the winter sun’s heat at mid-day. His disciples followed His example. The Feast of Dedication was near its end.
A mob from Jerusalem soon surrounded them. A few Sadducees and Pharisees were mixed in.
A man with a half gray beard stepped forward. “If you’re the Messiah stop keeping us guessing. Just tell us now.”
Jesus opened His eyes slowly. “I’ve told you repeatedly, but you can’t hear me since you aren’t one of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice and follow Me. My works should be enough proof for you. My Father gave Me the miracles as evidence of who I am. I give My sheep eternal life. No one can take them from My hand. My Father is greater than Me and nobody can take them out of His hand either. I and My Father are one.”
The mob picked up some stones from the Temple’s construction debris.
Jesus held His ground. “Which of the miracles do you stone Me for?”
“We’re not stoning you for any miracle, but for making yourself out to be God when you’re only a man. That’s blasphemy.”
Jesus tilted His head. “But, your own scripture says God calls you gods since you are sons of the Most High. If I didn’t do the works My Father sent Me to do that would be worthy of death and you’d have no reason to believe Me. You don’t need to believe Me when you have the miracles as witness that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.”
The man spun around to his cohorts. “What more evidence do we need to end this heresy?”
The murmur rose to a roar. When he turned back to Jesus He and His followers were gone.
Jesus led His men to the east side of the Jordan River. John recognized it as the place the baptizer began his ministry. Many people came to be healed and listen to Jesus teach them. The disciples baptized a few who felt the need for repentance.
A voice rose from the din of the crowd. “John didn’t perform any miracles, but everything he told us is true of Jesus. He is the Messiah, indeed.”
Thomas approached Jesus. “Why didn’t those in Jerusalem believe who You are?”
Jesus placed a hand on Thomas’s shoulder. “Only My sheep hear My voice and follow. They were not chosen as Mine by the Father.”
What is it about centers of power that blind people to the reality of the situation they’re in?
The good folks of Jerusalem were serious about silencing Jesus. The peasantry across the river welcomed Jesus with open arms by recognizing Him as the Messiah promised by the scriptures and John the baptizer.
Pride and power are evil twins that need to be contended with fiercely. Once they get a hold of a person it’s difficult to get them to release their grip. Do your best to curtail them at all cost.
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This portion of scripture holds one of my all-time favorite themes in the whole Bible. I’ve always loved the word picture Jesus creates by telling us His followers are held in His grasp and in God the Father’s grasp, too. The added benefit of nobody being able to snatch us out of those hands is icing on the cake.
There are some people who think people can lose their salvation by some action or other. This is one of the main sections used to refute that notion.
The people who do turn their backs on God after their “conversion” likely were never truly committed to Jesus in the first place. They either followed the crowd to fit in or went through the motions with no real heart cry for repentance. Deep down they didn’t see their need for a savior because they lived a clean enough life.
The truth is nobody is good enough to get to heaven without Jesus’s shed blood.
We’re all simple sheep seeking someone to follow. The problem with most people is they’re willing to follow the crowd to the next popular celebrity everyone else appears to be following.
The pleasures of this life become the cornerstone of their existence. With no vision of an eternity who can blame them?
That’s where Christ-followers need to stand out from the crowd. If we’re focusing our attention on building a retirement account to pad the end of our life on this earth to the detriment of helping others how will others see their need for a change of direction?
Some non-Christians are better at meeting the needs of the poor and helpless than Christians are.
Some Christians are only vocal when they’re condemning a lifestyle they disagree with.
Who do you think a lost soul will be attracted to best?
Jesus spent time with the “sinners” of His day to the detriment of His reputation. The religious establishment never did get Him. The sinners sure did. Their repentance was genuine. Their eternity secured by this lover of their souls.
Let’s do a better job of emulating His example.
Buy a meal and hand it to that guy on the street corner seeking handouts. If he takes it quickly you can be sure he’s genuinely in need of help. Maybe you can offer him a simple job to earn some income. That could reshape his entire outlook.
That single mom down your street doesn’t need your condemnation, either. Sure she made some bad life choices. Who hasn’t? Offer to watch her kids or mow her lawn and she’ll be forever grateful to you. That offer to come with you to church will be a lot more attractive.
That person at work struggling in a marriage needs a listening ear more than anything. Let them vent, just listen. Suggest a passage of scripture for them to find the answer for themself. When they own it the truth will stick much better.
Let’s be Jesus to the least.
I’ll see you later. Wade