March 21, 2011

Tuesday, Day Twelve


            The Lectionary                       

Morning - Psalm 41, Genesis 27:30-40, 1 Corinthians 6:1-11         
Evening - Psalm 51, Jeremiah 5:1-9, John 10:22-38

John 10:22-38
And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.  But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.  I and my Father are one.  Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.  Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?  The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.  Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?  If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;  Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?  If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.  But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
                       
 Commentary

John 10:22 finds Jesus in Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication, known to us as Hanukah.  The "Jews" of this passage are the religious leaders who live in Judea and who oppose Jesus because He is a threat to their power and money.  Two things stand out in this passage.  First, Jesus gives eternal life to His sheep (10:28).  Jesus is stating again His reason for coming to this planet.  He came to lay down His life for His sheep, so we can have eternal life in Heaven with Him.  We see His face set boldly toward the cross, never faltering, never turning aside, always moving toward it with faith and determination.  Second, we see a clear statement of His Divinity.  He calls The Father "My Father," and says, "I and the Father are one" (10:30).  The Jews understood this as what it was, a direct answer to their question, and a claim to be nothing less than God Himself (10:31).  Again it is stated that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him, while those who are not His sheep do not hear Him or believe in Him (10:26).  Let us hear His voice.


            Devotional Thoughts

We have not completed our self-examination until we have also given serious attention to our motives for doing what we do, for our motives are at least as important as the things we do.  The Pharisees spent hours in prayer and fasting, and gave extravagantly to the Temple and synagogue, yet Christ had no praise for their actions (Mt. 23:14).  Why?  Their motives were wrong.  They did it to be known for doing it, rather than for God.  James tells us one reason God refuses to give what we ask in prayer is that we ask amiss, for the wrong motives, that we may consume it upon our own lust, rather than for the glory of God (Jas.4:1-3).  Simon wanted power to bestow the Holy Ghost, but his motives were impure (Acts 8:18-21).  It is difficult to honestly examine our motives, yet we cannot really begin to confess and repent until we know what motivates us in our daily activities.