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Rest from the Battle - John 10:31 - 42

Posted on July 30, 2017

Rest from the Battle

John 10:31 – 42

Scripture Reading

John 10:31 – 42

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 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.

Introduction:

  • This passage marks the end of John’s writing on Jesus public ministry
    • Jesus never traveled more than 200 miles from home
    • He spent three years going all over Israel teaching, ministering and performing healings and miracles
    • His message was one of repentance from sin in order to receive the kingdom of God, to be born again
    • He confronted the hypocritical false religious leaders
    • He was always instructing and mentoring the twelve disciples and others
    • He revealed through His words with authority and the power of signs and wonders He truly was the Messiah
    • Israel, for the most part rejected Him as the Messiah as was predicted in the OT. Psalm 22:6-8; Isaiah 49:7; 50:6; 53:3; John 1:10-11

Isaiah 53:3

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

 

John 1:10 – 11

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

  • At the end of Jesus public ministry, He had a small handful of believers who were genuine followers of Him
    • According to Acts 1:15 there were 120 people in the room praying in Jerusalem awaiting the Holy Spirit
    • There were several hundred in Galilee – I Corinthians 15:1- 6; Matthew 28:7
    • Then at the end of His public ministry they nailed Him to the cross as we will see in John 18-19
    • We see throughout John’s Gospel, the repeated rejection of Jesus
    • This passage ends what began in John 1:35 with another confrontation with between Jesus and the unbelieving Jewish religious leaders.
    • As we have read through this narrative that the tension continued to increase until the betrayal and arrest of Jesus
    • Things were looking pretty grim for Jesus and His followers as they faced this confrontation.
    • As we will read in John 10:39 – 42, Jesus went away for a time of rest, reflection and affirmation.

Purpose: Every believer needs to know when it is time to take a break from the battle and rest in preparation to return to battle to be the best warrior they can be.

Transition: Let’s review what Jesus said to these Jewish religious leaders about His being the Good Shepherd.

Review

The Father secures us eternally with His Son – John 10:22-30

  • True believers see the Father through Jesus – John 10:22 - 26
  • True believers hear and follow the Father’s voice – John 10:27
  • True believers are eternally secure in the Father – John 10:28 – 30

 

  • Jesus as the Good Shepherd
    • His motive is to give life to His sheep
    • He sacrifices Himself to serve the sheep
    • He knows His sheep intimately and calls them by name
    • He protects His sheep
    • He leads His sheep

Application:  Are you living in the hope and security that the Father will keep you in His hand and take you to heaven?

Transition: Let’s focus now on end of the confrontation Jesus had with the Jewish religious leaders

The Father continues to reveal Himself to all through His Son – John 10:31-42

  • The works of the Father through Jesus reveals their equality

 John 10:31

31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.

  • This is the fourth time that the Jewish leaders picked up stones to kill Jesus for blasphemy even though Rome forbade them to carry out capital punishment.
    • They knew that according to John 18:31

John 18:31

31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.”

  • This mob of leaders was so incensed with anger they did not care about the Roman decree. They wanted to kill Jesus by taking matters into their own hands
  • Jesus showing peace and calmness in the midst of a lynch mob asked them this convicting question

John 10:32

Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?”

  • The word “good” here means noble, excellent or beautiful
  • Jesus did not withdraw or water down His claim to being God.
  • He forced those incensed leaders to deal with the miraculous good works He had performed head on. These works as He previously spoke about proves He was not a blasphemer but was representing the Father here on earth.
  • The Jewish leaders were in a very awkward and unpopular position by opposing all of the good and public things Jesus had done for all to see.

John 10:33

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.”

  • Notice they brushed aside the argument about good works. They did not dispute that the works were good but they denied the fact that they were a reason to point to the fact that Jesus was God.
  • Their mind was made up. Don’t confuse us with the facts. The love of sin and darkness held them captive.
  • You have seen this, people who want to be in control of others keep changing the rules and measurements so that the people under their control can never attain the goal. People in control oftentimes continue to move the goalposts.
  • These Jewish leaders were never open to the possibility that they could be wrong about Jesus

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Transition: They just were not open minded to seeking the truth wherever they could find it.

  • The words of the Father are eternal

John 10:34 – 36

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’?

  • The Law is referenced in these verses which was Jesus way of talking about the entire OT not just the first five books of the OT which is often referred to by Jews as the Pentateuch or the books of the laws of God.
  • Jesus used the term “god” to refer to others than God Himself
  • Jesus is quoting from Psalm 82:6

Psalm 82:6

I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you;

  • God rebuked Israel for their judges / gods as He called them, being unjust with their decisions over court matters
  • Notice it is a small g for god because they were in a lesser sense than God
  • They were representatives, spokesmen and judges serving on behalf of God. Speaking of Aaron, Moses’ brother, for example

Exodus 4:16

He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him.

 

Exodus 7:1

And the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.

  • The key point Jesus is making here is that in verses 35 – 36, that since God called the unjust judges gods (by the way the Jewish religious leaders had to agree with that), how could the Jewish religious leaders say of Jesus whom God the Father set apart and sent into the world that He was a blasphemer because He said He was the Son of God?
  • Jesus was God’s representative and spokesman to the world on behalf of God the Father.
  • Jesus was not adding to the fact He was equal with the Father and God but to rebuke them on the level of their overreaction to the use of God’s Word in reference to who Jesus was; the Messiah
  • He was consecrated – set apart, dedicated by God and this was a play on the solemn occasion of the event they were at the Feast of Dedication.

Quote: “He is arguing from the less to the greater. If the word god could be used of people who were no more than judges, how much more could it be used of one with greater dignity, greater importance, and significance than any mere judge, one ‘whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world’? He is not placing Himself on the level of men but setting Himself apart from them.” Leon Morris – Reflections on the Gospel of John

  • Jesus appeal to the OT fell on deaf ears with these Jewish religious leaders

Transition: As other times before, with patience, Jesus appealed to His works as evidence He was from the Father.

  • The witness that Jesus and the Father are one

John 10:37-38

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.”

  • Jesus final challenge to them. If my works are not from God then do not believe in me but if they are from the Father, you must believe in me.

Transition: Once again as Jesus so often does, brings them and us to a point of decision. One way or another. Embrace Him and His teachings or reject Him outright. No neutrality with Jesus.

  • The weightof the matter leads to two responses
    • The wrathful crowd

 John 10:39

39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

  • Again, they must have wanted to take Him out of the temple so that they could stone Him and no blood would be shed in the temple and less chance someone would stop them from killing Jesus.
  • Maybe they wanted to take Him and put Him on trial before they stoned Him. Not sure their purpose for arresting Him
  • Jesus escaped miraculously because He would leave Jerusalem for 3 -4 months and then come back and raise Lazarus from the dead and then come to Jerusalem for His triumphal entry.
  • In verse 40 it tells us that Jesus left the Feast of Dedication, left Jerusalem altogether, and went to a place of rest, safety and encouragement where John the Baptist had been baptizing people before.
  • The welcoming crowd – 2 Corinthians 4:1 – 12; Galatians 6:9: 2 Corinthians 1:8

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.

  • The people there, remembering the teaching of John the Baptist that he, John the Baptist was a mere forerunner of the Messiah / Jesus and that he pointed them to Jesus. The people left John the Baptist and flocked to Jesus believing in Him by John the Baptist’s testimony.
  • These people testified that everything John the Baptist had said about Jesus had come true and so they trusted in Christ to be their Savior.
  • After this final rejection by the elite Jewish religious leaders which was a foreshadowing of worse things to come, Jesus retreated to a place that was very welcoming to Him.
  • I believe Jesus was weary in His humanity of the opposition speaking evil of all the good works that God had done through Him for others.
  • Yes, He was God and was fully aware of how people would react to His preaching and works ahead of time but nonetheless, He was fully human and had a full range of emotions just like you and I have.
    • He wept at Lazarus tomb because of the death of His close friend
    • He wept over Jerusalem and wished He could gather them altogether to receive and follow Him.
    • I am sure He laughed at times of joyous occasions or in talking with children.
  • So, in His humanity, He needed to be around those who would affirm Him as a person and His teachings. He needed physical, emotional and spiritual rest and refreshment. He needed human support for who He was and what He was doing.
  • That is why in my humble opinion Jesus goes back to where John the Baptist had success with his teaching and seeing lives changed. I believe He knew He would be well received there.
  • When you and I are in the heat of the battle for long periods of time we get weary, worn down, and over time ineffective if we stay in the battle too long. We are in a moment by moment battle with our flesh, our selfish desires, with Satan and the world around us which is growing increasingly more hostile to those of us who call ourselves Christ – followers. Every human warrior needs a break from time to time.
  • When I get weary in the battle, here are some scriptures that I turn to along with others that reenergize me and encourage me to rest and get back into the battle. Turn to;

2 Corinthians 4:1 - 2

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.

  • Sometimes we get worn down by paddling upstream against the cultural current that goes against God and His Word.
    • Taking a stand for marriage as God defines it is becoming an increasingly challenging stance to take.
    • Sharing the exclusive way to heaven through Jesus sets people off as intolerant.
    • How to be salt and light pointing people to Jesus in a positive way is becoming more and more difficult as it is misquoted and misconstrued.

Galatians 6:9

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

  • Sometimes we get worn down working and working without seeing fruit from our labor
    • Sometimes people who are Christians let us down
    • Someone I spent an amount of time discipling at the request of their family and then they left
    • A couple of people who we invested in and became leaders left the church
    • I have seen my good be used against me and be spoken of as evil
    • People taking advantage of your Christianity, your morality and your commitment to God and His Word. – Blanchette’s
    • All of these positions in our church that we struggle to fill and finding leaders which is so essential for the ongoing growth of our church.
  • Hold onto and celebrate the positive things that are happening
    • We have witnessed through our baptisms of lives changed and spiritual growth occurring.
    • We have people who have joined our church and more who are joining this week.
    • Great Awana and Youth Group and good fellowship with our Seniors at our lunches and dinners.
  • Keep on keeping on keeping your eyes on Jesus only.

2 Corinthians 1:8

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.

  • Sometimes we are just overwhelmed with the needs and burdens of so many people.
    • We have church family members whose kids are going through painful marriage issues
    • We have spouses who are here worshiping with their spouses
    • We have wayward kids who grew up knowing the Lord but have turned their backs on Him
    • We have painful relationships with siblings and extended family members.
    • We have people around us who we love who are blind to the Gospel or as Christians blind to sin in their lives.
  • Wherever you are in your life and you find yourself in one of these and other difficult places, stay true to the Word, trusting in God and His promises and allow these things to intensify your prayer life and shape you more into the image of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:3-12

3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

  • The key is to find that secret, hiding place where you can go physically or spiritually to know that;

                                          i.    God is in control and He has what is best in mind for each of us

                                        ii.    Wait on the Lord for His timing. Waiting on the Lord is hard but running ahead of God’s will is a big mistake and may create more hardship than waiting does.

                                       iii.    He knows we are made of flesh. We can only handle so much

                                       iv.    It is in our weakness, God shows His strength – 2 Corinthians 12:9

                                        v.    It is Jesus who said He would build HIS church – Matthew 16:18

  • We have a responsibility to tell others about Christ
  • Some plant, some water and some harvest. We are involved in all of those processes.

                                       vi.    It is God who does the changing of people’s hearts and lives. It is merely up to you and I to be faithful to live out the Word and to tell people the truth no matter how they receive it.

  • We must speak the truth in love. – Ephesians 4:15
  • We must speak with words of grace – Colossians 4:6

                                      vii.    Lastly, be reminded and take great hope in the fact that God’s Word will never return void but it will accomplish what God sets out for it to do. So, don’t ever quit sharing the Word of God with others in love.

  • Andrea Richard – married 11 years ago.
  • Jose Martinez
  • We are to stay in the battle as long as we can but there are times to go and get rest before burnout occurs. You must keep your eyes on Jesus, not other Christians, not the people of this world and not even on church and its leadership. They will all fail you from time to time. But get rested up emotionally and spiritually so that you can get back into the battle and be effective once again.
  • Why do you have to stay emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy?

Illustration: The following story was shared by Ed Salmon, a pastor from South Carolina, who passed away in 2016:

“Just yesterday, I went out for lunch. When I got to Forest Park, there's usually a homeless man or two standing there, and there was this terribly disheveled man standing there with his sign, "I'm homeless." And of course, he was going by the cars, and nobody looked at him. He got to my car, and I rolled down the window, and I said, "I don't have any money with me, but my wife is going to take me to the airport in about an hour and a half, and I'll have something for you then. And do you know what he said to me? He said, "Thank you for looking at me." Didn't say a word about money. He said, "Thank you for looking at me."

Salmon then gave the following charge to his fellow ministers (although this can apply to every Christian): "You see, the Good Shepherd is raising you up so that the world you minister to can look at you and say, "Thank you for looking at me, because in that, I see the glory of God."

Sarah Condon, "Heaven Side Encouragement for Earth Side Ministry: A Remembrance of Ed Salmon," Mockingbird blog (6-13-17)

Application: Are we speaking the eternal truth that will save peoples’ souls despite the opposition?

Key Thought: There is a time to be in the battle and a time to rest from the battle. It is up to us to know what time it is.

Three Questions to Ponder

1.    Are you willing to stand alone on the truths of God’s Word even if those around you reject God’s truth?

2.    Are you weary in your obedience to Christ.

3.    How can you take a break from the battles of life and be refreshed? How do you best slow down and refresh yourself?