“At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 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.” 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, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 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. I and the Father are one.”” (John 10:22-30, ESV)
The Jewish leadership had been pushing Jesus to answer one question, “Are you the Christ?” Here they asked Him how much longer He was going to keep them in suspense in answering this question. Every time they asked He spoke about the Father, His relationship with the Father, His place of origin and return, the reason for His coming, the things He was going to do and more. Jesus said a lot of things about Himself, and all of them pointed to Him being the Christ. But in the presence of the Jewish leadership He did not say the four words they wanted to hear, the four words that they would try to use to accuse Him of some form of blasphemy and put Him to death. He did not say directly to them “I am the Christ.”
Back in chapter 1 John the Baptist clearly said that he was not the Christ (1:20), and then in chapter 3 he said again that he was not the Christ, but that he had been sent before Him (3:28). And of course we read in John 1:29 and 30 he identified Jesus as the one that he had been sent before. In John chapter 4 the woman at the well asked Jesus about the Messiah (the Christ) who was to come, and in verse 26 we read, “Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”” (John 4:26, ESV)
The Jews demanded that He tell them plainly. Jesus was not trying to be evasive, but He also knew His audience and He told them exactly what He needed to say and what they needed to hear such that those who could hear would hear and those whose ears were deafened would not. He responded to them saying, “I told you, and you do not believe Me.” Simply reading backwards in John as I did tonight it was easy for me to see how many times and in how many ways He had told them. But the difference between my reading backwards and their considering the words they had heard is very basic. I believe and they didn’t.
Jesus pointed to the works that He had done repeatedly (and again here) as proof of Him being sent by the Father. Many who believed, believed because of the signs. They knew that only One sent by God could do those things, and as such Jesus must be that One. These are the ones that Jesus refers to as His sheep. They heard His voice and they knew Him to be their Shepherd. These are the ones who have been given eternal life, who would never perish, and who would never be snatched out of Jesus' hand. These are the ones who are secure in the eternal promise.
Jesus went on to say, “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. I and the Father are one.” Without saying the words they wanted Him to say Jesus said exactly who He was and they clearly (as we will see) knew what He meant. He is the Christ and He has made it quite clear what this means and why Him being such is so important to us. Life is only found in Him. There is no other name in heaven and on earth by which man can be saved (Acts 4:12). Jesus is the Bread of Life, the Light of the world, the Door of the sheep, the Good Shepherd. He is the Christ.