That winter, Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Temple Festival. One day he was walking in that part of the temple known as Solomon’s Porch, and the people gathered all around him. They said, “How long are you going to keep us guessing? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly!”
Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you refused to believe me. The things I do by my Father’s authority show who I am. But since you are not my sheep, you don’t believe me. My sheep know my voice, and I know them. They follow me, and I give them eternal life, so that they will never be lost. No one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father gave them to me, and he is greater than all others. No one can snatch them from his hands, and I am one with the Father.” John 10:22-30 (CEV)
“Tell me, Lord!” How often have I cried out to God to answer my questions and tell me “plainly”?! Sometimes it is one of life’s tough questions about right and wrong. Maybe it is a question of which way to go in my life – left or right, stop or go. Maybe my question is simple: Why did this happen or turn out this way? The answers can be very complicated.
In this Scripture from John’s gospel, the Pharisees are asking that Jesus identify Himself. Of course, we know that Jesus has answered that question many times through what He preaches and what He does. We have the hindsight of 2,000 years. But the Pharisees do not want to hear it! Matthew tells us in his Gospel that when Jesus tells the High Priest and other leadership that He is the Son of God, they tear their robes and basically – go ballistic! (Matthew 26:64-65) They still don’t believe what Jesus says and only look for the answer that they want to hear. They are not open to God’s voice. They only want to hear their own.
Jesus speaks to me. I am of His flock. I spend time with Him so that I will know His voice. If I spend time with Him every day, I will become so familiar with His voice that I know God’s voice and His ways. I can identify who is speaking to me not only by how He sounds but also by what He says. God does not contradict Himself. What He says to me today will line up with what He said yesterday and 2000 years ago. God’s Holy Spirit that moved over the water in Genesis 1:2 is the same Spirit that speaks to my spirit. Am I willing to open my spirit to hear what God has to say in encouragement, in discipline and correction? Am I willing?
[Jesus said,] “If you have ears, pay attention!” Matthew 11:15 (CEV)
[Jesus said,] “If you have ears, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22
If Jesus says basically the same thing – EIGHT TIMES – maybe it is important! If I have ears to hear what God wants to say to me – then I am listening ‘rightly’. To paraphrase Rev. Steve Hill, God will often have wonderful ‘Twinkie-tasting’ messages to say to me. But sometimes the messages will taste more like brussel sprouts! I need to have open ears to hear both!