Humanly speaking, Jesus was a very polarizing individual. It seemed that no matter where He went, there were those in the crowd who absolutely hated Him, and there were those in the crowd who were absolutely astounded by Him. There was no middle ground. The language used by those in the crowd and the actions that they constantly took indicate that this effect was even at times a bit harrowing for Jesus and His followers. Several times, Jesus was equated to or even directly called “the devil.” In the same crowds, Jesus was also worshipped and believed in. In short, there was no lack of drama every time Jesus stepped into a highly populated metropolitan area.
John 10 takes place in Jerusalem, in an exterior part of the temple called Solomon’s porch. The crowd had predictably (as was typical) divided over the true identity of Jesus. There were those who thought that He was teaching dangerous doctrine, and there were others who were beginning to realize that He truly was the Messiah. The recent healing of the blind man had been the most startling of the miracles of Jesus since no one in the history of the world had ever healed a man born with blindness. The miraculous acts all indicated that Jesus was truly who He claimed to be – the Son of God.
Finally, the most direct statement that could be made came from the boldest member of the audience, “If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.” The people were beginning to get frustrated with all of the parables and imagery, and they wanted Jesus to speak on their terms and not on His own terms.
In the next paragraph, Jesus taught a very distinct truth. Using the imagery that had previously frustrated the crowd, Jesus laid out very plainly the truths that we would do well to understand from this text. Back in John 6:44, Jesus had explained that no one puts their faith in Jesus, unless God draws them to Him. Now in John 10, Jesus explained this truth with a little bit more depth.
There are two types of people- those who God has chosen (God’s sheep), and those who have not been chosen. So how do you know if you are one of God’s sheep? Jesus teaches that those who belong to God are revealed as the sheep of God when they respond in faith to the call of God. Now, there is a very important point that you must understand here. These people that come in faith to God don’t become sheep when they put their faith in Jesus, rather, they already are sheep and the evidence of that is that they are able to put their faith in true Shepherd. Belief doesn’t make them sheep. They already are sheep. Belief just reveals that they are sheep. Finally, in verse 29, He reiterates the point he made in John 6:44 that all those who come to Him, come because God sent them to Him.
In the next verse, Jesus made one of the most direct statements of His ministry: “I and my Father are one.” In effect, He was claiming divinity. He was saying that as the Son of God, He was God. Many might argue that Jesus did not claim that He was God, but that concept is foreign to the those who heard Him that day, because their reaction and words indicate in verse 33 that they knew exactly what Jesus was saying. He had come as the Good Shepherd. His sheep would come to Him. And there was no question to the fact that He indeed was God in the flesh.
Food For Thought: If someone were to say that Jesus never claimed to be God, what about the response of the angry mob could you use to explain that even the people of His day knew that He made claims of Deity?