Hanukkah is a Hebrew word meaning dedication, and it became the name of an important winter festival for Jewish people. It is also called the “Feast of Dedication” and lasts several days. What is the important “feast day” in the year for your family? Who generally attends? What is served? What traditions do you participate in as part of that celebration?
Again, Jesus is being pressured to declare His candidacy as Messiah plainly and publicly. Judging from Jesus’ reply, is He open with them? Evasive? Provocative? Why have some people received Jesus with open arms while others do not? Human stubbornness? God’s election? Blindness? Need of more miracles as proof?
What things have convinced you that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God? What difference does it make to you that Jesus really is God, and not just a man?
Read together the Scripture passage for today’s sermon, John 10:22-30. Jesus says the following about His sheep:
- They listen to His voice.
- They are known by Jesus, the Good Shepherd
- They follow Jesus.
- He gives (not ‘will give’) them eternal life.
- They will never perish.
- No one will snatch them out of His hand.
- They have been given to Jesus by the Father.
Which of these statements would you like to ask Jesus to explain in greater detail? Which of these promises bring you the most hope? The most challenge?
Consider the following quote about what it means to believe in Jesus. “It is not objective proof of God’s existence that we want but, whether we use religious language for it or not, the experience of God’s presence. That is the miracle we are really after. And that is also, I think, the miracle that we really get.” (Frederick Buechner) Sheep know their shepherd because they are his; they walk, graze, feed, and sleep in his shadow, beneath his rod and staff, within constant earshot of his voice. They believe because they have surrendered to his care, his authority, his leadership, and his guidance. There is no belonging from the outside; Christianity is not a spectator sport. Belong, Jesus says. Consent to belong. Belief will follow.
How is belonging to Jesus so important in believing? How have you come to surrender and belong to Him? What was one of your takeaways from today’s sermon?