Listening For the Shepherd's Voice

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Text:  John 10:22-42


            There are some life-saving lessons you can learn from others if you are wise enough to observe them and then make adjustments to your life.  One of those valuable lessons is right before us in our study of John.  The lesson?  Narrow legalism confines you, preventing you from seeing unadulterated truth!  Such was the case with the Pharisees; their legalism kept them from seeing Jesus for who He really is.  We can fall into the same trap by having traditions and beliefs that are outside of the Scriptures.  We, like they, can be so convinced that we have the truth in a matter, but only to find out it was narrow legalism apart from the truth.  Therefore, we may find ourselves in a seasonal winter of discontent with others when, in fact, we should be embracing them.  The situation worsens when such legalists are shepherds of God’s people, because they become untrustworthy.

            So how do we inoculate ourselves from this dreadful disease?  We all need to become sheep who listen to the voice of our Great Shepherd!  Read Text.

1.      John gives us a bookmark for the setting for this event; it’s the Feast of the Dedication.  Do you know what that feast is about?  (In 168 BC Antiochus Epiphanes, a Roman Emperor, desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem by setting up an idol of himself resembling Zeus and proclaimed himself to be a god, and thus to be worshipped.  After he was dead and the idol removed, the temple priests rededicated the Temple to Yahweh, and that’s what this feast is commemorating.)     Do you think it is significant that Jesus uses this setting to have a discourse on sheep listening to the voice of the True Shepherd and following Him?     Could we not do the something similar at Christmas and Easter when the celebration has degenerated into a secular event that has lost its original celebration?

2.      Seeing Jesus on the Temple porch, the Jews surround Him and ask, "How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly."  What does this imply about their belief of who Jesus is?  1 Kings18:21

3.      Jesus does not answer them directly.  Why not…does He not want them to be persuaded that He is the Christ (Christ = Messiah)?  (Even a direct answer would fall on deaf ears in the case of those who are unwilling to accept the evidence He has performed in their sight.) 

4.      Jesus states that they do not believe because they are not His sheep.  Why does that make such a big difference?  (When you are not a part of the Kingdom of God, skepticism is the main issue blocking your eyes from seeing spiritual things.)

5.      In verse 27 Jesus states that His sheep hear His voice and thus follow Him.  Is it that non-believers cannot hear His voice or that He doesn’t speak to them?     Are there times when even we, His followers, do not hear His voice?     What prevents us from hearing His voice?  Ps. 66:18; Prov. 15:29; 21:13; Isa. 1:15; Ja. 4:3; 1 Pet. 3:7; Ja. 1:5-7

6.      Note the wonderful promise in 10:29.  What is a balanced perspective about eternal security?  (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-31; 2 Pet 2:20-22)

7.      How do we recognize God’s people…what are the marks of faith?  (They believe in Jesus.  They listen to His voice.  They follow Him.  Confession, obedience, and allegiance are the marks of a true believer.)

8.      What all is behind Jesus’ statement, “I and the Father are One”?  (Jesus is God.  This is a claim to His deity.)

9.      Did the Jews understand this statement?  (Yes they understood, and they were angered by it for they thought it was blasphemy.)  Matt. 26:64-65; Mk. 2:7

10.  How does Jesus wisely respond to their death threat of blasphemy?  (He asks for which good work He has performed that they are going to stone Him, making them look stupid for stoning Him for doing good works.  If His works did not back up His claim to being God, then indeed He would be a blasphemer worthy of stoning.)

11.  Are a man’s works and his words supposed to speak the same message?  What are we if we do not?  (A false teacher.)   Jn. 10:37; 14:10-11; Matt. 7:15-23; 10:20-24

12.  Verse 38 reveals the Trinity.  How do you explain the Trinity to someone who is new to the idea?  (An apple; H2O)  Jn. 14:9-11, 20; 17:20-23 
 Only by faith can you understand the relationship that exists between Jesus and His Father.


            After stating the mystery of the Trinity to the Jews, they tried to seize Him to stone Him to death, but He eludes their grasp and gets away.  This rejection must have hurt Jesus’ heart.  He wanted so much for them to believe His claims, but their hard hearts clung to skepticism rather than faith that believe His claims.  Notice that Jesus then returns to the spot on the Jordan River where John baptized Him.  I don’t think this is just an incidental fact, but one that reveals the heaviness of our Savior’s heart.  Jesus returns to the spot where the first public proclamation of His deity…when the Father spoke from Heaven at His baptism, saying, “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.  Listen to Him.”  He so longs for the crowds to believe in Him.  He goes back to the spot where it all started and where belief flowed freely.  Upon reaching the spot on the river, He finds what He came looking for…He finds people who will believe in Him.  Jn. 10:40-42

            If you were to ask the crowds as to who Jesus is, you would hear two answers: “He is a deceiver and a madman,” or you would hear, “He is the Son of God.”  On which side of the crowd do you stand?  Either you live in union with Him and the Father, or you are blind to the evidence of Jesus’ deity and His redemptive power.  His works match His words.  His compassion is sufficient to embrace you and all you’ve ever done.  His grace is greater than your need.  His power and works are great than the evil one.  So what say you?  Lunatic, or MY Savior?!

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