The truth about who Jesus is and what He has done will be hated, resisted, ridiculed, and attacked. That is a sad fact, but it does not change the reality of Jesus’ person and work. The evidence speaks for itself.
As we continue our chronological study through the Gospels, we are moving from Luke’s Gospel back to the Gospel of John. Since leaving the Festival of Tabernacles in the fall season, Jesus has been in the region of Perea, east of Jerusalem and across the Jordan River. Here He is able to avoid the hostile leaders of both the Romans and Jews.
After a couple of months, the timeline picks back up here in John chapter 10. Now it is wintertime—and time for the Feast of Dedication, or Feast of Lights. Today, this is called the season of Hanukkah.
This feast was not commanded in the Old Testament, but it had been celebrated for centuries because it was so important to the nation of Israel; and here is why. The temple in Jerusalem was purified and rededicated by a Jewish patriot named Judas Maccabeus in 164 B.C. And that’s because Antiochus IV, a Syrian invader, had gone into the temple a few years earlier and sacrificed a pig on the brazen altar—he literally offered a sacrifice of a pig to Jupiter, his god. The deeper reason was his attempt to destroy worship in the temple and eliminate Judaism. Judas Maccabeus gathered an army and eventually defeated Antiochus. This festival of dedication marks the time when he cleansed the temple and put it back into operation.
It was during the temple rededication that the Jewish people supposedly witnessed a miracle. Even though there was only enough kosher olive oil to keep the temple’s giant menorah candles burning for one day, the flames continued flickering for eight days, allowing the priests to find a fresh supply. This inspired the institution of this annual, eight-day festival.
Now during this festival, John 10:23 tells us that “Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.” It is not long before He is recognized, and we are told that “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’” (verse 24).
The truth is, Jesus has already told them who He is, as He tells them here in verses 25-26:
“I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.”
This is a pretty blunt answer. I don’t think He is writing them off as a lost cause, however; in fact, I believe this is an invitation. Jesus is effectively saying, “You’re not among my sheep—at least not yet.”
Then Jesus delivers these wonderful words:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (verses 27-28)
This is an invitation to them—and to you. Would you like to join His flock? Would you like to say with King David, “The Lord is my shepherd”? Well, what are you waiting for? And that is the Lord’s invitation to them here, during this festival in Jerusalem.
If you are wondering how secure you will be if you accept Christ as your Savior—well, the Lord answers that in verses 29-30:
“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. I and the Father are one.”
And there you have it. And don’t miss that once again Jesus answers their question. Yes, He is the Son of God; God the Father and the Lord are equal in essence. They are one in purpose and deity. When Jesus declares here, “I and the Father are one,” that is another way of saying, “If I am offering you eternal life, then God the Father is offering you eternal life. If I am telling you that you are secure in Me forever, then you are secure in God the Father forever.”
Is Jesus really claiming to be equally divine with God the Father? Well, the Jewish priests and leaders certainly understood it that way, because we are told in verse 31, “The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.” They went out and collected all the rocks they are going to need to stone Jesus to death.
John adds that little word “again”—“The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.” This is not the first time they have wanted to kill Him.
Now if Jesus were an ordinary man, we might expect the text to read, “And after seeing the pile of rocks, Jesus and His disciples took off running for the hills!” But Jesus is not going anywhere just yet. He keeps engaging them in conversation, saying here in verse 32, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?”
In other words, “After all you have seen Me do for you—the people I have healed; the lessons I have taught, the miracles I have performed—after all of those good works, you want to kill me?”
Notice how they respond in verse 33, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” They got the point all right. Let me tell you, people today who say Jesus never claimed to be God have not been reading the Gospel of John.
Beginning in verse 34, Jesus argues back by quoting Psalm 82:6, where God refers to dishonest judges as “gods”—little g. These were individuals given God’s authority as judges. They were referred to as the sons of God—that is, representatives of God on earth.
What Jesus is saying is this: “If unjust judges can be called the sons of God, why can’t I—especially since I have proved that I am the Son of God through My miraculous works?”
Jesus continues in that line of reasoning in verses 37-38:
“If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.
Jesus does not expect to be believed simply because of His words. Take a look at His miraculous works! Even Nicodemus, a member of Israel’s supreme court, the Sanhedrin, said back in John 3, “No one could perform [those] miraculous signs . . . if God were not with Him.”
Only God can do what Jesus is doing! Even the rabbis were teaching that God alone can heal leprosy, give sight to the blind, and raise the dead.
But here in the temple courtyard, the religious leaders are blinded by their own ambition, and verse 39 says, “Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.”
By the way, did Jesus give up on those rock-throwing opponents? No. He loved them so much He went to the cross to die for them, and His invitation was open for them until the day they died. I love the fact that the book of Acts will record for us that many priests came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus (Acts 6:7). They just could not deny the evidence—the truth, the empty tomb—any longer.
So, do not give up on those people around you who want to silence your testimony of faith in Christ. Keep loving them, reaching out to them, and praying for them. Only God knows, but one day they might just realize they cannot ignore the evidence any longer, and in humble faith they will ask Jesus to be their Shepherd—and they will join the flock of God.
 Edwin A. Blum, “John,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, ed. John. F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Victor Books, 1985), 312.