22 Then came the Feast of Hanukkah at Jerusalem. It was winter. 23 Jesus was in the temple courtyard walking in Solomon’s Porch. 24 The Jews who were gathered there around Jesus spoke to him. They said, “How long will you keep us waiting? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you. But you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name are a witness for me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never die. No one will steal them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than anyone. No one can steal them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” 31 Again the Jews who had challenged him picked up stones to kill him. 32 But Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. Which good work are you throwing stones at me for?” 33 “We are not throwing stones at you for any good work,” they replied. “We are stoning you for saying a very evil thing. You are only a man. But you claim to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Didn’t God say in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ’? (Psalm 82:6) 35 We know that Scripture is always true. God spoke to some people and called them ‘gods.’ 36 If that is true, what about the one the Father set apart as his very own? What about this one the Father sent into the world? Why do you charge me with saying a very evil thing? Is it because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Don’t believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But what if I do them? Even if you don’t believe me, believe these works. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to arrest him. But he escaped from them. 40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan River. He went to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed. 41 Many people came to him. They said, “John never performed a sign. But everything he said about this man was true.” 42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.
What strikes me about this passage is that the Jews around Jesus, learned though they were in the scripture, did not hear Jesus for what He was actually saying because they did not believe He really was who He says He was. You see in verses like verse 33 that the Jews around Jesus were plainly blinkered by their zeal for God’s law in the way they understood it to be true and right. They were unable to accept a new way that God could be working in the world.
Clearly prejudices, personal preferences, and personal assumptions can get in the way of me seeing Jesus for who He really is, and what He really does do in my life, and in the world around me. How do I keep my heart from being blinded by these? 4 times Jesus mentions the works that he had been doing in their midst. For me, this means looking out for God’s work in my life – provisions from God, people sent from God to me, miraculous answers to prayers. God’s works demonstrate who God is and what God is doing, and help confirm His word is true and trustworthy.
God, I actually need you to be working in my world, and in the world. Not because I need to see your works in order to believe in you, but because your works in the world help confirm what you are doing, and what your will is in the world. More importantly, they keep my heart free from prejudices, personal preferences and assumptions that can get in the way of me seeing you for who you really are. Thank you that you are so willing to point us to yourself through your works as well as your word! Amen.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh