Psalm 10:1 ” Why, O Lord, do You stand far off? Why do you hide Yourself in times of trouble?”

When we’re going through a season of adversity, times of unhappiness, or an occurrence of serious illness, we might ask the same question – “Why are You hiding Yourself from me Lord?” And as the problem drags on & on with no relief in site, we may lament like David in Psalm 13:1-2, who asks four times in frustration & anguish, “How long Lord?” So we’re in pretty good company when it comes to these feelings of abandonment & dismay. But we then need to look at how the Psalmist turned their focus from the problem to the Problem-Solver…from “feelings” to solid Biblical Scripture…from pity-party to praise. “I am with you always.” Jesus reassures us in Matthew 28:20. In Joshua 1:5 God declared, “I will never leave nor forsake you.” And as for God’s timing, Psalm 18:30 tells us, “As for God, His way is perfect.” So just because we can’t “feel” God doesn’t mean He’s not at work at that moment in our life…and besides, what about the indwelling Holy Spirit that has taken up residency within you…He’s not chopped liver! And so as we dwell on the Scriptures & not the problem, our lamenting will turn to praise…for we will be confident that God is near & directing our course.

John 10:34-36 ” Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, I have said you are gods? If he called them “gods”, to whom the word of God came – and the Scripture cannot be broken – what about the One whom the Father set apart as His very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse Me of blasphemy because I said, I am God’s Son? “

Here Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6-7 which states, “I said, You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High. But you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler.” No, this doesn’t mean human beings can be equal to God…the difference lying in the capital G & the small g. In the Old Testament, earthly rulers & judges acted as divinely appointed representatives of God and were accountable to Him to act accordingly….realizing that they were still mere mortals. But Jesus focuses in on one phrase here…”the Scripture cannot be broken” …basing His whole argument on it. If God set apart earthly rulers & judges, why wouldn’t He set apart His very own Son to come into the world to save it?

John 10:31-34 ” Again the Jews picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone Me?’ ‘We are not stoning You for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because You, a mere man, claim to be God.’ “

Jesus’ claim to deity hit the Jewish leaders right where it hurt. For it was them who had appointed themselves as rulers & judges for God…not this guy & His ragtag group of followers. He was encroaching on their turf & they didn’t like it. But neither did they appropriately interpretate the Mosaic Law of religious regulations in Leviticus 24:16 that stated that anyone who blasphemed the Name of the Lord must be put to death. Jesus never cursed, slandered, or treated His Father in contempt… but in their distain, the Jews twisted & perverted this Law to fit their own vile-filled needs. And when Jesus pointed out His “works” (of which they couldn’t deny that miracles had really happened) …they instead focused on their made-up “words” in order to kill Him.

John 10:28-30 ” I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.”

Jesus addresses the age-old question that all of us has thought of one time or another…”Can I lose my Salvation?” Earlier in John 6:39, Jesus said, “And this is the Will of Him Who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given Me.” We tend to think that the gift of eternal life & salvation are something that God “lends” to us on a temporary & conditional basis…depending on how good or bad we are. But the Scriptures here emphatically refute that idea. Nothing can pluck you from His hand…Jesus’ redemptive accomplishment and the Holy Spirit’s personal application are completely effective in securing the Salvation of everyone chosen by God… called the elect… who God gave to Jesus our Redeemer…that through His perfect obedience & atoning death saved us from eternal punishment. (John 17:2-6)

John 10:23-26 ” Jesus was in the Temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews gathered around Him, saying, ‘How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, then tell us plainly.’ Jesus answered, ‘I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in My Father’s Name speak for Me, but you do not believe because you are not My sheep.’ “

The key question that arose from the entirety of Jesus’ Ministry here on earth can be boiled down in one question…Are You really Who You say You are?” Jesus’ disciples had already reached that conclusion for themselves, (John 6:69) but the vast majority of people had not. Again, Jesus points to His miracles & wonderous works as evidence of the trustworthiness of His claims that He was doing the work His Heavenly Father had given Him. (John 5:36) But most people had already decided… closing their eyes & ears to the plain proof in front of them…not willing to believe that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah.

Matthew 28:19 ” …and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Or elsewhere, Jesus told His disciples, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21) In both passages Jesus is talking about the Great Commission…but it’s much more than that. Jesus explicitly & exactly obeyed His Father, and in it He found unspeakable joy. So as image-bearers of Christ, our joy must also come from obediently doing what the Lord calls us to…never evaluating our obedience by spiritual goals we’ve reached or successes we’ve gained. Our joy should come from seeing complete fulfillment of the specific plan & purpose for which we were created by God as we walk it out in obedience.

John 10:19-21 ” At these words the Jews were again divided. Many of them said, ‘He is demon-possessed and raving mad.’ Why listen to Him?’ But others said, ‘These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?’ “

Once again, Jesus & His Words separated the people into two camps. One side, especially the Jewish Leaders, thought Jesus was insane & controlled by Satan and didn’t want anything to do with Him. While the rest looked at those Jesus had healed and argued that no one under the power of a demon could do that…only God. (Exodus 4:11) In Mark 3:21, even Jesus’ family were concerned about His sanity after hearing Him speak…thinking they needed to come & take charge of Him, exclaiming, “He’s out of His mind.” But the real division wasn’t about semantics…it was about belief or unbelief that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, faith or faithlessness that what He said was true, and trust or distrust that His power came from God.

John 10:17-18 ” The reason My Father loves Me is that I lay down My life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from My Father.”

The idea that Jesus was ever a victim is totally false. He freely and by deliberate choice offered Himself for sinners on the Cross…voluntarily giving up His Spirit (John 19:30) that we may have the gift of eternal life. No more is this seen than in the Garden of Gethsemane when one of His companions cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant and Jesus rebuked him for the violence by saying, “Do you think I cannot call on My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53) As the target of the Jewish leaders, they might of thought Jesus had no choice, no control, and no power over them…but they were sadly mistaken. For it was Jesus who ultimately had all authority…even over the power of death & the grave to hold Him.

John 10:16 ” I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to My voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

These other sheep Jesus is talking about here are us…Gentile Believers. The Temple in Jerusalem had court walls that separated Gentiles from Jews, with signs posted excluding Gentiles from the inner courts. But what Jesus is saying here is that the Gospel Message isn’t confined just to the Jews, but extends to the rest of the world, and the age-old division between Jew & Gentile will be overcome by His reconciling death on the Cross. Jesus called Gentile Believers scattered children in John 11:52 & through His death would bring both the Jewish nation and them together & make them one. This inclusiveness summed up by Him in John 17:20-21 when Jesus prayed for all Believers, “I pray for those who will believe in Me through their Message, that all of them may be one.” Jesus is praying for the whole body of Believers -both Jew & Gentile, even those who will be born & come to faith in the future…which includes us!

John 10:14-15 ” I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me – just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father – and I lay down My life for the sheep.”

Jesus is comparing His intimate relationship with God the Father and His close fellowship with His sheep. When Jesus said that He “knows” His sheep it’s so much more than just mentally grasping who they are…It’s a deep personal understanding and commitment of His Will to love and care for His flock…and of willingly laying down His life for their sake. In other words, to say that Jesus knows His sheep in this way refers to God’s gracious redemptive work through His only Son. But it also says that, “My sheep know Me.” So how do we go about this? In Exodus 33:12, Moses replied to God, “You have said, I know you by name and You have found favor with me. If You are pleased with me, teach me Your Ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You.” The only way to “know” God is through His Word & prayer. For it’s only by this we can truly gain knowledge, intimate fellowship, and personal experience about His ultimate plan & purpose for our lives.

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