John 10:19-29: Winter!
“19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, ‘He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?’21 But others said, ‘These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?’22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered round him, saying, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’25 Jesus answered, ‘I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” NIV
We should not be surprised if we find ourselves on the receiving end of the same responses Jesus got. It may be disappointing, but it will happen. We have seen a similar pattern of reactions in earlier parts of John. Jesus came to ”bring a sword” and people were, and are, divided over Him (19). Some are interested and open (21). Others are angry and abusive (20). There are those who even want to kill Him (31) – and now that translates into violence towards His people. Some are just plain obtuse (24, 25), and they leave you scratching your head!!
”It was winter…” (22b). It was winter in more than one sense. It was deepest, darkest winter in terms of Jesus’ relationship with His Jewish opponents. You can feel the icy chill in the air. But in this highly charged atmosphere, Jesus just kept right on walking with the Father (25, 29/30), doing His works and preaching the word. He did this in the belief that His ”sheep” would hear His voice and come to Him (27, 28).
Let us do the same. His sheep are out there in our communities. We play our part and expect them to be drawn.
PRAYER: Whatever people say or do, keep me Lord faithful to you.