“The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.” (John 10:25-26)
Jesus was fond of saying to those he cured: “Your faith has made you well.” In other words, “you also cooperated in your healing by believing.” Faith is a gift but it is also a choice. You cannot pretend about your core beliefs. Many often recite the creed but deep down within them, they do not believe it.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus explains that it is the nature of our beliefs that qualify us as His sheep. To the Jews who argued with him, Jesus simply said: “you do not believe because you do not belong to my sheep.” That is to say: “if you were my sheep, you will not doubt that I am the Christ, you will listen to my words and you will follow me.”
Have you ever tried to tell someone what you believe only to realize you are pouring water on a stone? This was the situation Jesus found himself in with the Jews. There was just nothing that Jesus would say to them that would make them believe He is the Christ. Even when they saw all the works He did. “The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; but you do not believe.”
Unlike Nicodemus who came to Jesus with an open mind, when we encounter people who already have a closed mind towards our beliefs, we can only pray to God to put the right words on our lips. Arguing with them could even lead to fights. The Jews were so convinced that Jesus was a blasphemer that they did everything to kill him. In John 19:6-8, we read: “Pilate said to them, ‘… I find no crime in him. The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and by that law, he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God’ When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid.”
The sheep of Jesus are his sheep not because they speak a particular language or come from a certain tribe but because of what they believe. Does it even occur to you that it was among a Gentile-community that persons were for the first time addressed as Christians? In truth, our way of life proclaims our faith louder than our singing and dancing.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, may my actions not betray my faith in you. Amen.
Bible Study: Acts 11:19-26, Ps. 87, John 10:22-30)
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu