Lectionary reflection: John 10:22-30

The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.” (John 10:24-26, NIV)

Is this saying that we must first be a follower of Jesus before we begin to properly see his works and hear his voice? Belonging comes before believing?

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8 thoughts on “Lectionary reflection: John 10:22-30

  1. 2 comments
    1. The NRSV misses the boat big time in its translation “the Jews.” Far better here might be some like “the religious officials.”
    2. To your question, yes. Fides quaerens intellectum. This is the logic of the early catechumenate as well. Behave together, then officially belong (baptism), then receive more specific doctrinal instruction (Eastertide was the season par excellence for such doctrinal work after baptism Easter morning).

  2. But those who questioned Jesus were looking for a different kind of Messiah and were not prepared to accept what He was doing as the signs that He was the Messiah.

    Those that followed Him understood that His message was different and perhaps more relevant to their lives. Those who rejected the message did so, in part, because they wanted something here and now. That’s the problem with have today – many want the Kingdom of God here and now and on their terms, not on God’s terms.

    • The problem we have today, as I see it, is lack of education by the layperson as well as the teacher. The problem today is the same as the problems Christ saw in the teaching of the people by the leaders of His day and why Christ was so hard on them.

      The message Christ gave was no different than the message of earlier prophets.
      The understanding of the message was distorted and misunderstood..

  3. Humans have free will to only believe what they want, in spite of evidence. Therefore the willingness to believe, to be in the congregation of sheep, who will listen to the word, is the necessary beginning to becoming a real believer. The Jewish leaders saw and heard only what they wanted to. They ignored evidence that did not fit their pre-determined criteria for the messiah. Before we condemn, we need to open our minds to the times we have failed to accept evidence that we were wrong, or that one who did not meet our expectations should be dismissed.

    • Many Methodists , when the new pastor is not musical, or does not visit hospitals, go “church shopping” or complain to the D.S. instead of forming a music or visitation committee of laypersons. Especially when their church lacks administration or a mission vision but they refuse to recognize those needs.

  4. Is this saying that we must first be a follower of Jesus before we begin to properly see his works and hear his voice?
    Answer No
    Belonging comes before believing?
    Consider the following:

    “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.

    “anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.”

    Where does discernment of spiritual things come from and who does Christ say are true followers of God?

    • Words matter here.

      Specifically, how the word “believe” works in Greek.

      When followed by “eis” (into) the construction is literally, “believe into” or “put one’s whole trust in.” Those who “believe into” Jesus are those who “belong” because they have placed themselves into the hands of Jesus, as it were.

      When followed by “en” (in), or when not followed at all (as we have here), the construction means “to give intellectual assent to” or “to accept.” Those who “believe” in this sense are those those who accept certain assertions about Jesus.

      The question posed by the religious leaders is an “assertional” one. They want to know whether Jesus assigns the category or label “Messiah” to himself or not. They also want to know whether such as assignment is legitimate doctrinally (so, they’d want more proof to back up the label, if indeed they’re going to assign it). They are not at all committing themselves to believe into Jesus, to belong to him.

      Jesus’ response to the religious leaders isn’t at all facetious. He’s saying they can’t possibly “get” how the category Messiah would apply to Jesus– nor indeed, much of anything at all about him– until they’ve first committed themselves to him, until they “belong.”

      “Come and see” is the primary way the invitation of Jesus is stated in John’s gospel. It is to say, “Spend time with me and with others spending time with me,” or, in other words, “belong” and discover what happens when you do.

      Or if you like, “Take the red pill.”

      • Or in biblical language become a slave to God. Slavery by choice.
        A desire to willingly and with full knowledge acknowledge the superiority of God.

        What does Christ say is his greatest accomplishment?
        He did the will of His Father and to be Christ like means we are to attempt to do the same.
        When that truth is believed…. true discernment is not far to follow..IMHO.

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