John 10:22-31 (ESVST)
22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter,
Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication. It was apparently not a required pilgrimage festival, but the eight- day celebration of lights in the temple was beautiful, and many pious Jews from nearby Galilee would come to Jerusalem. It was the next festival after those immediately connected to the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Dedication was the commemoration of the dedication of the temple by Judas Maccabeus in December, 164 b. c., after it had been profaned by Antiochus Epiphanes. The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, which celebrates the Israelite victory over the Syrian leader Antiochus Epiphanes, who persecuted Israel. In 170 b. c. he conquered Jerusalem and desecrated the Jewish temple by setting up a pagan altar to displace the altar of God. Under the leadership of an old priest named Mattathias, the Jews fought guerrilla warfare (known as the Maccabean Revolt—166–142 b. c.) against Syria and freed the temple and the land from Syrian dominance until 63 b. c. when Rome (Pompey) took control of Palestine. It was in 164 b. c. on 25 Chislev (December approximately), that the Jews liberated the temple and rededicated it. The celebration is also known as the “Feast of Lights” because of the lighting of lamps and candles in Jewish homes to commemorate the event.
It was winter. The word winter used here is a Greek is the word “cheimon” meaning bad weather or stormy weather. This means that this was around the time when it was cold and raining in Jerusalem.
23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.
The word colonnade used here in Greek means porch. A porch is a structure often build on the outside of a building normally covered to allow people to walk or sit or stand underneath without being exposed to bad weather. The outer part of the temple had porches on all four sides; the Royal Porch, on the south, had four rows of pillars. Solomon’s Porch was on the east side of the temple, with two rows of pillars (as on the west and north sides). The south portico was called Solomon’s because people thought that it contained remains of Solomon’s temple. Greek public buildings often included such porches, and they had long been a popular place for public lectures and discussions. It was cool and raining in Jerusalem in winter, so people would be especially inclined to walk under the colonnades.
So John is telling us that the reason why Jesus was walking in the temple under the porch of Solomon was that it was winter and in winter it is cold and rainy and it is better to be under these porches. Now that John has given us the background of the area where Jesus was and why, john now get straight into the message.
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.”
Now for anyone who has not read John from chapter 5, would at this stage think that Jesus had not already told these Jews that he was the Christ. Not only did he tell them but he showed them. Now here they are asking Jesus not to keep them in suspense or doubting but to plainly tell them if he was the Christ.
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,
Jesus then gave them an answer which was so obvious and said, people I told you and you did not beleive. I have been telling you all along but you do not beleive. Jesus went on to say to them that even the works that he did bear witness of him. Jesus simply meant that not only did he tell them and they did not beleive but the works that he is being doing among them also bear witness of him and they still don’t beleive.
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.
And now here Jesus gives a reason for this unbelief by the Jews. Jesus told them that they don’t beleive because they are not among his sheep. If they were, they would hear his voice and they would follow him. They would beleive in him but now that they are not among his sheep, they cannot. Jesus then told them as well that he knows his sheep and that is why he says that they are not among his sheep. Jesus introduces here the doctrine of predestination which I will not discuss here. All we need to know here is that Jesus knows his sheep and his sheep will beleive in him.
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.
The reward of being among Jesus sheep is that he gives his sheep eternal life and they will never perish and no one will snatch them out of his hand. Now I want us to look at this closely, reason being that there are people that think that once saved, a born again Christian can loose his salvation. I am going to show you using this verse that once saved always saved. A born again Christian will never loose his salvation. Let’s us look at the verbs used in verse 28:
1. I “give” them eternal life. The word used here in Greek is “didomi”. This word is used is in an indicative mood. Now the indicative mood in Greek makes an assertion of fact and is used with all six Greek tenses. Jesus used this specific word in this specific mood to indicate a fact. Therefore a Greek person listening to Jesus would understand that Jesus is stating a fact when he says “I give them eternal life and they will never perish and no one will snatch them out of my hand”. This is a fact that was stated by Jesus.
2. And they will “never” perish. The word in Greek is “ou me”, negative expression consisting of the word “ou” which means “not” and “me” which also means “not”. A double negative strengthening the denial, meaning not at all, no never. This word is in an emphatic future negative. The Emphatic Future Negative is indicated by the negative particles ou, “not,” and me, “not,” which are used together to emphasize the negation. A Greek person listening to Jesus would understand this as a fact that cannot and will never be snatched out of Jesus’s hand, now or in future. This clearly shows then that they will never loose their salvation..
So when Jesus speaking in Greek to a Greek person made this statement “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand“, this was understood by a Greek person as Jesus stating a fact and indicating that a born again Christian will never, never, never loose his salvation. The choice of words here in Greek makes it very clear that once saved, always saved.
Then Jesus went on to say that it is God his Father, who has given him his sheep and since God is greater than all, no one is able to snatch them out of his hand as well. Here Jesus giving further assurance to believers that it is not only him that will protect the believers from loosing their salvation I but also God who is greater than all, also protect the believers.
30 I and the Father are one.”
Then Jesus said me and my father are one. This meant that we both protect the believers. No one is able to snatch them out of my hand and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.
31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.
This was now becoming sort of an automated response by the Jews.