Reframing Outrage | John 10:22-42
April 7, 2019 Speaker: Christopher Rich Series: REFRAMING JESUS | Portraits of Glory from John's Gospel
Topic: Gospel Passage: John 10:22–10:42
Introduction | What Gets you angry?
Good Morning Welcome to Damascus Road where we are Saved by Jesus Work, Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we are continuing our series REFRAMING JESUS: Portraits of Glory from John’s Gospel. In Reframing Jesus, our desire isn’t to reinvent Jesus into someone He is not or make Jesus into an image we are more comfortable with. Instead, we seek to have our portrait of Jesus reframed by John’s Gospel to see Him as accurately and glorious as possible.
What do gets you angry? What takes you to another level of outrage? I don’t mean like getting cut off in traffic angry, or long line at Starbucks angry, but next level you know you’re mad, angry, hot, resentful, where a bit annoyed turns into distraught and even disoriented? Where an injustice has been suffered, where a wrong has been committed. Where a relationship is broken. Where a season we liked is over and we have to process loss and grief. Where or when we become exceedingly upset is when we are the most unsettled. We like thinks to be predictable, to be stable, reliable so when they’re not we get upset. We like to know what is going on and believe we have some command of or at least a working knowledge of our situations and station in life. Stable equals calm even if “stable” is less than flourishing. We often prefer misery or melancholy we know, than the unsettled feeling of transitioning to something new or different than what we’re used to. When we’re in these points of change or being challenged we can get very angry when we feel there isn’t clarity. If I could just know what’s happening now and what will happen in the near (even distant) future then my anger could be calmed because I would be able to see. Good luck, we don’t get the privilege of knowing the future or every chapter of the story and if we did we’d likely be upset with how the story plays out. We get angry when we don’t understand something. Something is happening that I don’t understand, someone is acting in a way that doesn’t make sense to me (thing are no longer predictable or reliable in the way I appreciate them or expect them to be) So we think if someone could just explain themselves or a situation in a way I can understand then I would be calm because my frustration is just a lack of understanding. Sometimes we get an explanation and we just don’t like it. Yeah, I hear you loud and clear and… I really disagree. We get angry when what we have believed is true is challenged in ways that are unsettling. I understand a situation perfectly but now someone else has come in and actively challenged my own perspective of myself, God, or the world around me. I don’t have good response to counter what I am being challenged with, so I am going to dig in and get more upset. I don’t like the message so I’ll discredit the messenger. In each of these we are outraged because we’re THE arbitrator of what is good and right and we cannot bear that weight. In Jesus we are Reframing Outrage.
PART I | Jesus the Savior |John 10:22-30
John 10:22-30 | 22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, 26 but
you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will 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.”
We’re in winter during the “feast of dedication” Hanukkah at that time about 150 year old festival with both religious and highly political themes. We’re 3 months later and a few months before Passover (Cross). Tensions have been building between the religious leaders and Jesus for months if not a couple of years. They see Jesus and they’re coming in to this engagement already in a place of agitation if not open outrage. They come not to converse but to confront. What they ask seems simple and reasonable “Just tell us plainly Jesus who are you? Are you the Christ, the Savior-King of God’s people?” Their question isn’t to clear up their doubt but to stir up more debate. So it’s not, “Hey we just want to understand better”, it is “we want you to lay you cards down so we can have it out.” The “suspense” is “How long are we going to be troubled by (annoyed by) you? Just give us a clear answer so we can either dismiss you or prosecute you.”
Jesus doesn’t give a simple yes or no for many reasons. First, they’re not looking to have curiosity satisfied but to have conflict fueled. If Jesus thought a clear response would satisfy and lead to calm acceptance rather than further anger, then I’m sure He would tell them. “Yes, I am. You on the team?” Second, they have a warped view of what that term means, Messiah/Christ/Savior for them has great current political implications. They’re gathered to celebrate a great guerrilla military victory over a mighty military power that led to them having their place of worship restored and returned to its previous function. If Jesus says a simple “yes” he’ll be contributing to their misunderstanding of how God has intended to come and redeem His people. They want a military victory they think they deserve and Jesus has come to suffer defeat for His people that they truly deserve. He’s a suffering servant. Third if He says “no’ ‘I’m not the Christ (which is the proper term) then… simply He’s lying. He’s not giving them the full truth of His identity.
Instead He points them back to what He’s already said and done. You’re not outraged because you don’t understand or you just think you need clarity, you have been given enough information to come to an accurate conclusion but instead you choose to reject what has already been plainly revealed. There have been plenty of clear indicators both in word (what He’s said) and deed (what He’s done). I’ve said “I am the bread of Life” I am the Light of the world that leads God’s people. I am living water, all who come and drink won’t thirst.” Before Abraham was “I AM” I’ve healed a man who was paralyzed for 38 years, I’ve given sight to a man born blind…. fed a few thousand (twice) have you had a carafe of vintage AD 31 Cana Wine.. It’s literally the best. In case you forgot all of these were done in “my Father’s name” I said and did all of these things. What more evidence do you need to know who I am, where I come from, and what I am here to do? See, to receive and understand what Jesus is saying would mean changing their prejudices of Jesus (of what the messiah would be, a suffering servant) and humbly admitting they’re not the final arbitrator of what is true. That is a handing over, opening up, to authority outside our own. You’re angry because you thought God (and His appointed/anointed savior) was at your beckon call to serve you in the way you want to be served, but instead He is here to serve in a way to transform you as you need.
Jesus is willing to have conflict revealed, clarity given, for the purpose of showing where comfort can be experienced. Jesus answers their conflict with a contrast. Why they’re experiencing conflict is not because Jesus hasn’t been clear; but you haven’t believed in what is clearly displayed in word and deed.
The reason you don’t believe in the identity as savior/Good shepherd is because you’re not among my sheep.
They still have responsibility for how they respond to the truth of who Jesus is and who they are.
Rom 8:19-20 | 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Let me tell you what it means to be one of my sheep, so you know more fully. There is clarity through contrast.
Jesus’ Sheep listen to Jesus.- Receive His words. Jesus’ words about who He is (identity), who we are (need), and what He is here to accomplish (purpose) are believe at the soul level. Jesus’ Sheep are known by Jesus – There is relationship birthed out of great needs of provision/protection met by and given by Jesus. They are “among” the sheep so they are individual sheep part of a collective flock. Jesus’ Sheep Follow Jesus – Respond to Jesus leadership. We know we need to be led, and without His leadership we are without provision, protection, and purpose we all need to flourish. We follow Him from our outrage to still waters.
However, to not be among Jesus’ sheep means, you can hear Jesus’ words but not believe them in a functional sense. To know about Jesus but not be known by Jesus. Jesus identity has been made pretty plain, but your identity (as it relates to Jesus) has been made plain as well. There is no relationship with Jesus as savior/king. Reject Jesus’ leadership over your life in favor of your own. This is more than selecting a political party to Join or a major in college…. The stakes for your response to Jesus are high.
It’s a matter of life and death. Jesus draws out this comparison so they/you/we can know how much it matters. Jesus’ sheep receive more than temporary provision and protection. Jesus gives eternal life (life that doesn’t end) Life that is life (protection, provision, purpose) Life with God/Jesus that doesn’t end because you never perish…. Life that is eternally secure. It’s life free from the threat of being taken by/possessed by anyone or anything other than Jesus. You are held by Jesus… you are held by God the Father. Sealed by the Holy Spirit. When your identity is “Jesus’ Sheep” owned by Jesus, and you are “held by God” there is so much safety (and comfort for our souls) to know we are in the hand of the Living God. Conversely……. If you’re not Jesus’ sheep you have not been granted this life. You will perish. You don’t have the rest of eternal security gently held by God; but the promise of eternal punishment under the hand of God’s justice. You don’t hear Jesus as true, you don’t believe, receive, or follow. This doesn’t let you off the hook, Oh’ I guess I am just not a sheep… No it convicts you of your status… so repent and receive mercy from Jesus.
Jesus is a powerful Savior. The life given is not as amazing as the lifegiver who is powerful enough to not lose any of His people. This means our security is not in ourselves or our greatness but in God’s goodness.
To be held is to be secure in the hands of an all-powerful God means there isn’t anything able to pull you away from His grip. This included your squirming heart! I am so thankful for this! We need a powerful God!
What could be greater than God? What is more powerful? Mighty? Who or what can overpower God?
Romans 8:38-39 | 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
He is here to give people eternal life with Him saving them from the consequences of sin and death. Jesus isn’t raising this conflict, this contrast to condemn or to spike the football in their face. He is bringing clarity to showing what is at stake and call them to His strength and security, as He’s taught before.
John 6:37 | All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
All He’s said and done is to the answer their big question. Who are you? Jesus holds us, God the Father holds us, why? Because they’re one. We can trust Jesus is powerful to keep us secure because HE Jesus and the Father are one in power the power to give life to people who are spiritually dead. One in purpose to hold them, keep them, endure for them keeping them in their grip. It doesn’t mean same, but it means equal. God the Father and Son are distinct. TRINITY. Jesus answers their outrage with an offer of rest and security.
PART II | Jesus the Son | John 10:31-39
John 10:31-39 |31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
Given clarity from Jesus the response from many to Jesus is not to receive Him but reject him. Sometimes you ask a question and you’re pretty sure you already know the answers but when you actually hear it… uh it confirms what you were fearing was true. Many seek His death because Jesus claims to be God. Jesus works show He is doing the will of His Father. They don’t accept His true words or His powerful works, instead they seek to arrest and execute Him. Jesus is equal to God this leads to great outrage from them. This is the 3rd time they have welled up and attempted to stone Jesus. Jesus remains present enough to push back on their motives. “What of all the good things I’ve done, I’ve done from God, do you seek to kill me for?? Why the outrage? And Remember the power displayed?” I am the presence of God with the Power of God.
Outrage isn’t rational. They’re plain and clear, it’s not what you’re doing it’s what you’ve said “Blasphemy!” you’re not God you’re a man and you claim to be God. This is what they understood Jesus to be doing and saying. This was clear enough for them. When we’re in outrage we cannot argue with good truth that is in front of us so we fight back… We get outraged when we hear things that are true but inconvenient. We like to be ignorant because it’s easier to go unchallenged then to have to deal with our own sense of anger and resentment when we find out we were really wrong. We can get angry and outraged when we do fully understand but we don’t agree. They don’t fully understand. They’re partially right, partially wrong. Yes, Jesus is saying He’s equal with God, but NO He’s not making himself a new God or different God.
Jesus doesn’t respond with “oh never mind” that’s not what I meant at all! Equal with God heavens no! I’m just a prophet. I am just a good teacher. I am just one of many gods. No, he argues with them on their own terms… Your interpretation of Psalm 82, This was a Psalm about Israel receiving the law (you should have no other God’s) but rejecting God’s law. And it led to the death of a whole generation. It says “those who brought God’s word to the people are “gods” (literally like God) You are “god’s” because you’ve received God’s word, you’re going to live by it but because you rejected God’s law you will die like mere mortals. and they’re just fallible people then how can you call me out who “God the Father” (set apart and sent) dedicated for worship (like the temple we’re in right now) (Jesus is the temple! Jesus is where, who, how people can worship God!) to be sent for a purpose because I said “I am the Son of God” This can be a confusing argument, not knowing the whole context, so let’s make it real simple. Jesus is saying “It isn’t blasphemy to say I’m equal with God or I am God… If it’s true!” I AM God. What I am saying tells you and what I am doing is shows you. We get outraged when we’re confronted with the truth we don’t want to see. Our problem isn’t where God in Jesus has been unclear and we’ve misunderstood but where Jesus has been clear and we’ve haven’t wanted to receive it. It’s not we don’t know what God has said or called us to, it’s we know what’s true and right, but we just don’t like it. We don’t want God to contradict us.
Where has God been clear in your life? It’s time to end this relationship, its time to repent of this sin, it’s time to turn from this addiction, it’s time to awaken from the slumber of comfort and pursue the mission of God. It’s time become intentional about pursuing growth in the Gospel. It’s time to begin serving or giving. When have you struggled not to understand difficult teaching about the character and nature of God, but to receive it? Where has the call and commands of God been made clear and your response is not to receive and react with positive action but has been to reject and respond with greater resistance?
We get outraged and angry, because we think we’re the ones who need to be satisfied, we determine justice. Jesus is the only one with the just right to be angry…. We’ve rejected Him! In the presence of the embodiment of our outrage at Him being God and us not being God, with all resentment and rejection, Jesus is calm…. collected and is still preaching the Gospel. Jesus restrains His outrage.. Ok you don’t believe me based on my word, but reexamine my works so that you can have your outrage at a perceived offense turned to understanding so that you can know and fully comprehend “I am who I say I am and I’ve come to give eternal life to my sheep.” Jesus again answers outrage with compassion and anger with absorbing it so we can be reconciled to God and experience eternal life with God. He calls them/us to “Be united with me as I am united with God the Father and stop being an outraged orphan and become a son or daughter.” God should be outraged that we have falsely make ourselves equal with Him, we deserve death. Instead, God responds by sending His Son who IS God to be rejected and killed so we may live.
PART III | Jesus the True |John 10:40-42
John 10:40-42 | 40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.
Jesus left Jerusalem goes back to where He’s worked before. More work in the same place as before. Jesus retreat is strategic, He’s not afraid of conflict, or avoiding outrage, in fact in a few months He will endure the righteous wrath of God for sinners on the cross so those who know, trust, follow Jesus as savior, Jesus the Son of God, worship him as Jesus the True. So can be His sheep who will not perish but have eternal life. But he has more and specific work to do. There is more teaching to be done and more miraculous deeds to be performed.
Jesus has sheep, Jesus calls people to be His sheep, and Jesus will find His sheep. John the Baptizer spoke of Jesus words and works. John paved the way for Jesus public ministry, now Jesus returns as His public ministry winds down As John’s followers encounter Jesus they see all said about Him is true and they believe in Jesus. Jesus has affirmed/confirmed and then some, what John had promised about Jesus.
Yet he still hadn’t take sin away brought the Holy Spirit, and still people believed because He was true, and is true.
John didn’t do signs, but Jesus did. Our response to the identity of Jesus is all that matters when considering His words and works. Jesus is the Son of God, so He should be worshipped and obeyed. We have a royal invitation to know and grow in knowledge of who Jesus is! To Hear His words and receive them, to be led by Jesus and be secure in Jesus. Jesus is clear on His identity (Son of God), His purpose (Savior – King) and our need (eternal life). Jesus is true, He’s reliable, He’s authentic. Because Jesus is True we can Trust Jesus.