Their question identified their problem: unbelief. Jesus said as much: “I told you [Who I was], and ye believed not.” He had even given them ample proof: “the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me” (John 10:25). The problem these naysayers had was not lack of evidence. It was hardness of heart. Even when they saw the miracles, they dismissed them as being of the devil, or as a violation of their Sabbath rules (John 10:20; Mark 3:1-6).
These accusers could not see the truth of Who Christ was because, as Jesus said, they were not of His sheep (John 10:26). It’s reminiscent of Proverbs 17:16: “Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?” These people could not be the Lord’s sheep because they would not be His sheep. That would require humility, acknowledgement of sin and recognition of deep, spiritual need.
Jesus’ sheep hear His voice (John 10:27) because they see their need even if they do not always understand the depth of their need. Because they know they need a Savior, they can hear the Great Shepherd’s voice, and by “hear” I mean recognize, listen to intently and obey. Naysayers would call that “blind” faith. The Bible calls it wisdom – and Bible faith is never blind, just like Bible love is never blind. Both are well-informed of the truth. It’s why they can recognize the Savior and learn to love Him and His people.
In verses 28 and 29 Jesus says the same thing about Himself and His Father. In verse 28 He says:
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
In verse 29 He says:
“My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:29).
These two verses are a subtle answer to His detractors’ question: “If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.” Their question sounds eerily like the question of another naysayer: Satan. At least twice in his temptation of Christ, the devil prefaced his challenges with the phrase: “If thou be the Son of God” (Matthew 4:3, 6). Is it any wonder that Jesus said of His critics “ye are of your father the devil” (John 8:44)?
But to answer the question of these scorners, and to remove any doubt, Jesus said outright: “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). This answer didn’t satisfy them at all even though it was exactly what they wanted. Why? Because their goal was not to gain understanding. It was to find reason to accuse (like their father the devil). So, instead of rejoicing in this truth about the Savior they “took up stones again to stone Him” (John 10:31) and accused Him of blasphemy (v. 33) when their own actions made them the ultimate blasphemers. Verse 39 tells us Jesus’ accusers sought to arrest Him, but he was able to escape to “the place where John [the Baptist] at first baptized” (v. 40). Then John (the writer of the Gospel) adds this note almost as an aside:
(41) And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.
(42) And many believed on him there.
These people heard the same words as the people who sought to accuse Christ, but their response was completely different. To them, the identity of Jesus was obvious.
Photo by: unsplash-logoPatrick Tomasso