John 10:22–42: The Works of Jesus
There is a faith that perpetually seeks the next thrill. As long as the mountain-top experience continues, this faith is willing to continue forward. The moment, however, that this faith falls from the mountain-top experience down into the valley of the shadow of death, this faith refuses to continue following the Good Shepherd—or even to seek the Shepherd’s presence and comfort there in the darkness (Ps. 23:4). Instead, this faith moves on to someone or something else, hoping that the next thrill will offer more and longer-lasting pleasure. This false faith, then, is chiefly attracted to extraordinary, impressive works, and John has already warned us to be on the lookout for it in his Gospel (John 2:23–25, 4:43–48, 6:2, 26), for that false faith will vanish as soon as following Jesus becomes hard (John 6:60–66).
This false, works-seeking faith, however, is not our only spiritual danger. There is also a blind, deaf faith that remains so dogmatically self-assured that it refuses to believe, even when confronted with Jesus’ extraordinary works. It is not that there is no faith, because in fact this is a very strong faith—strong enough to ignore the clearest proofs. This is a blind faith because it cannot see the Light of the world (John 9:39, 41), and it is a deaf faith because it cannot hear the voice of the Good Shepherd (John 10:25–26). Jesus is not unreasonable; when he preaches and teaches about himself, his mission, and his relationship to the Father, he does not ask us merely to make an irrational leap of faith to believe his word. To help us believe, Jesus provides many works that prove his claims. Nevertheless, when faith is blind, it cannot truly see the works for what they are, and when faith is deaf, it cannot truly hear the words that Jesus speaks to explain them. In John 10:22–42, Jesus confronts this false faith by arguing that even if people cannot believe his word, they should believe on the basis of his works (John 10:38), for the works of Jesus corroborate, validate, and authenticate the word of Jesus.
1. What role does the word of Jesus play in our faith? Brainstorm as many roles as possible that the word of Jesus should play in our lives.
2. What role do the works of Jesus play in our faith? Brainstorm as many roles as possible that the works of Jesus should play in our lives.
3. What does Jesus teach us about his relationship to the Father in John 10:30 and 10:38? What practical value does our doctrine of the Trinity play in our lives?
4. If someone asked you, “Is Jesus the Christ?”, how would you answer? What does this passage give you to strengthen your apologetics—that is, your ability to give a rational defense for the faith?