In His Hands - by Jeff Byerley
John 10:22-41 – In His Hands
10:22 The Feast of the Dedication
This encounter occurred during winter. This feast has a fascinating history when in 170BC the king of Syria attempted to snatch Israel out of God's hands. I have left commentary on this to last.
10:23-30 Amazing Declarations by Jesus.
Jesus was challenged by the Jews to declare who he was. Jesus replied that he had already stated this, but they did not recognize his voice because they were not his sheep (v.26), a terrible eternal indictment of them. Then Jesus makes the following declarations about himself and his Father:
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; 28 and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
10:31-39 Jesus' arguments against the Jews.
10:31-33 Jesus referred to his many good works – surely only a man of God could do these. Therefore they should have believed his words, but they disbelieved him, seeing him only as a man.
10:34-36 Jesus referred to scripture [Psalm 82:6], where judges were warned “You are gods. You are sons of the Most High” The judges were to speak God's words and in regard to the power they were given, they were like gods. God's warning was that they were to judge fairly. How more important were Jesus' words and surely he could be said to be a Son of God in this capacity also.
10:37-39 Jesus then referred to the works he did that these were the works of the Father within him, but the Jews were only intent on stoning him, but he escaped as it was not his time.
10:40-41 Jesus' Preparation for the final ordeal.
Jesus was already conscious of the work for which the Father consecrated him (v.36). He returns to the east side of the Jordan, where he was baptised by John the Baptist. Here many believed in Jesus because everything that John the Baptist had said about Jesus was true. This reminded us of the important preparatory work of all those who go before.
The Feast of the Dedication – From William Barclay's Commentary pp 80-82.
“It was often called The Festival of Lights. Its Jewish name was Hamakkah. It was held on the 25th of the Jewish month of Chislew, [roughly equivalent to December]. … There were great illuminations in the Temple; and there were also illuminations – which can be seen to this day – in every Jewish home. ....
The origin of the Festival of the Dedication lies in one of the greatest times of ordeal and heroism in Jewish history. There was a king of Syria called Antiochus Epiphanes who reigned in Syria from 175 to 164 B.C. He was a lover and a devotee of all things Greek. He decided that he would eliminate the Jewish religion once and for all, and introduce Greek ways and Greek thoughts, Greek religion and Greek gods into Palestine. …. It was in 170 B.C. That the deluge really broke. In that year Antochus attacked Jerusalem. It was said that 80,000 Jews perished and as many were sold into slavery. … The Temple Courts were profaned. …. It was then that Judas Maccabeus and his brothers rose to fight their epic light for freedom and to deliver their country. It was in 164 B.C. that the struggle was finally won; and in that year the Temple was cleansed and purified. “