Posted by: duncandrews | April 2, 2012

Being confronted by Jesus

From a sermon on John 10:22-42

As we see Jesus in the Scriptures, here in John’s gospel, we need to be careful of not relating to him like the Jews did in the temple; of arrogantly surrounding him, demanding he answer our questions, putting him on trial. I reckon this is a particular temptation for us, in 21st Century Australia, and it’s important to see how God’s word here challenges us. It challenges our ideas of how we know ourselves and the world and even how we know God.

For many people, knowing stuff is all about our own feelings, our own decisions. We create our own reality. We can be anything we want to be, whatever we feel is right. You’re free to define your future, your sexuality, your goals and ambitions.

But in a strange mixture, alongside this glorification of our feeling we also glorify our rationality. We often see science as the answer to everything, we think we can’t know anything without testing it, weighing the evidence.

In both these approaches, though, there’s a common factor: us. We’re central. We’re in the driver’s seat. We critique reality, we live as we want.

But we can never understand Jesus like that. He won’t be weighed, or judged. In a powerful way, we don’t actually confront Jesus, not like the Jews in the temple. They tried to confront Jesus, but he wouldn’t have a bar of it. He confronted them. And he confronts us. He confronts us with the reality of who he is. And His claims are just as radical and shocking and complete for us as they were for those first hearers.

The Jewish leaders tried to demand answers from Jesus, they even demanded to take his life; but they couldn’t. We don’t demand of him; he demands of us. As the eternal Son of God he demands our very lives.

The Jewish leaders tested Jesus, asking who he was; but for Jesus, the question is not who he is; that’s obvious. The real question is who are we? Who are we? Are we his sheep?

Unless we are, unless we entrust ourselves to him, we will never be able to know him.

But if we do; if we do cast ourselves on him; then we will hear his voice not as our judge but as our shepherd. We’ll know him for who he is; the Messiah, the Son of God who is also for us, who loves and tenderly cares for us. The good shepherd who laid down his life for us, his sheep.

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