In this week’s passage, the religious leaders blamed Jesus for their unbelief.
They wanted Jesus to tell them plainly if he was the Messiah or not. Jesus’ response was clear. He wasn’t hiding who he was from them, he just wasn’t willing to live up to their incorrect expectations of who he was.
This week we are challenged to ask this question: are we willing to abandon the self-serving boxes we require Jesus to check in order to believe in him?
Let’s read together.
Read this from the Bible together:
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.”
Some key statements and questions put forward that are important for us to talk about…
How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly. The Jewish people were deeply committed to their version of a political and militant Messiah—they certainly weren’t prepared for a “suffering savior” like Jesus. Do you have areas of disbelief in Jesus that could be tied to your incorrect expectations of him? What are some of those expectations?
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. God’s sheep hear Jesus’ voice and are known by him and follow him. Have you experienced hearing Jesus’ voice and being known by him? If so, in what ways have you responded in obedience by following him?
…no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39). Are you fearful that something can take you from God’s hand? What are those fears and how does Scripture refute those lies?
“Are you willing to consider that Jesus is more committed to you than you are to him?”Pastor Brian put forth this question. How do you respond to it?
“What if we have a God that chases us into our doubt and dark seasons?” Our God pursues us in all kinds of places. Have you experienced the pursuit of Jesus in a dark season? If you are currently in a dark season, does this give you hope?
“Am I safe in God’s arms even when I am thrashing about?” Some of us resist the safety of God’s arms. We can do this through many things including rebellion and self-righteousness. In what ways are you thrashing against the safety of God’s arms? Does it encourage you to know that are you still safe even in the middle of that?
When the text of a particular week takes us into deep theological waters, we like to recommend resources to empower you to wrestle well with big ideas and important truths. This week consider checking out the following:
Chosen but Free: A Balanced View of God’s Sovereignty and Free Will | Norman Geisler
Christian Beliefs | Wayne Grudem
Putting the Amazing Back into Grace | Michael Horton