“The Father and I are One”

John 10:22-30

May 8, 2022

The Rev. Todd R. Goddard, Pastor

Rush United Methodist Church

John 10:22-30

At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

| Centering Prayer |

It is a bit of an awkward transition

During this season of Easter,

The season of resurrection,

To move from last Sunday’s final resurrection appearance of Jesus

To this Sunday’s narrative from the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John.

This narrative takes place before our Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection.

It is like being whiplashed back into the pre-passion life and ministry of Jesus.

‘So what’s the connection?’ the inquisitive are certain to ask.

As I spoke about last Sunday

In Jesus’ final post resurrection appearance in the Gospel of John,

Abundance is a characteristic Jesus puts forward

For living a life as one of his disciples.

An abundant life is not one of material abundance,

But one recognizing the amazing grace of living in God’s abundant love.

It is symbolized

When 153 fish strain and nearly break the disciples’ nets,

With 6 stone jars of water being turning into wine,

When 5 loaves and 2 fish are multiplied to feed crowds of thousands.

Are you aware of God’s amazing, abundant love?

It’s been supporting you all your life

Whether you know it, or not.

In your experience

What is it like having it support you?

What is it like to drink it in?

What is it like to have the abundant love of God move in and take up residence in your life?

Let’s have a conversation about sheep.

The metaphor of sheep

Is the common ligament that connects

Jesus teaching

About what a life of discipleship is like

With those who are called to follow Jesus.

Jesus tells Simon Peter what a life of discipleship looks like:

“Feed my lambs,” Jesus says.

“Tend my sheep.”

“Feed my sheep.” (21:15-17)

Feed: i.e. Nourish. Sustain. Abide with and in.

Tend: i.e. Encourage. Direct. Lead.

Look around;

These are the sheep of Jesus.

We are the stand-in shepherd,

Until the Good Shepherd returns.

Are we feeding each other?

Tending one another?

Teaching each other?

Calling each other and holding each other to accountability?

Are we abiding with each other,

Even when sometimes that means we walk with each other

Through the valley of the shadow of death?

Have no fear!

We are not alone!

Take comfort!

God abides with us,

And we are invited to lean on his rod and staff!

(Psalm 23:4)

Are we each other’s biggest cheerleaders, supporters, and fans?

Are we using the skills God has given us

To discern God’s will and ways, and

To faithfully steer ourselves and God’s flock

In the direction of God’s will?

What a glorious Church we become

When we all pull together,

When we all steer a common course,

Fixing our eyes upon Jesus!

“I have told you, and you do not believe,” Jesus told the crowd of Jews

Who asked if he was the Jewish Messiah. (10:25)

I told you.

Is there something you don’t understand?

I told you.

If you understood,

The only possibility is that you must have chosen to not believe.

You have chosen not to follow.

Belief begins with a choice:

Become familiar with the voice of Jesus? and

Choose to follow?

Or,

Choose to remain a stranger?

Keep Jesus at arm’s length.

Don’t let him into our lives, and

Don’t let Jesus guide or call us?

Free will means the final decision is up to us, to you and me.

Choose wisely.

There are consequences to choosing not to believe or follow Jesus:

1. There is not the protection of the Good Shepherd.

You will be vulnerable to

The evil of this world

That snatches and steals like a fox.

You will face evil and temptation.

The question will be if you choose to face it with Christ or without him?

2. Without a shepherd

Life occurs in isolation, away from the flock, disconnected from the body.

Abundance is replaced by dependence,

Dependence becomes desperation, and

Desperation leads to death.

Lone sheep don’t last long in the wild.

On the other hand, there are benefits to choosing to believe.

There are benefits to choosing to follow Jesus:

1. Choose Jesus and you will be protected.

The Lord’s protection is largely unnoticed for

It is largely unrecognized

The Lord’s protection often

Happens outside of our awareness, or

Happens outside or our timeline.

2. Choose to believe and follow Jesus, and

You will have eternal life and never perish. (10:28)

John’s Revelation gives us a glimpse of what this might mean:

Forgiveness, worship, and a great banquet.

No more crying or mourning.

You will be sheltered from the scorching sun by day.

You are promised to be

Refreshed and replenished by the water of life.

(Revelations 7:14-17)

When the choice is death or life,

Always choose life;

Life in his flock,

Life with Jesus Christ.

I told you before,

But I’ll tell you again:

“The Father and I are one.” (10:30)

‘The Father and Jesus are one’

Is more than a second confirmation

Of Jewish messianic expectation.

‘The Father and Jesus are one’

Is more than a theological detail

Necessary for early Church fathers

To stitch together a trinitarian doctrine. 

‘The Father and Jesus are one’

Is an invitation to unity, Christian unity.

With Christian unity comes the promise of

Christian perfection and immortality.

Christian unity is not about maintaining

the organizational integrity of the denomination.

Christian unity is only about abiding in Christ, and

Allowing Christ to abide in us.

Abide!

This is Christian unity.

We are one:

One in the Spirit,

One in the Lord;

One united with each other, and

One united with Jesus.

The Father and Jesus are one.

We are one united with the Father,

Our creator, and

The Creator.

We are one with the Creator of all things before all things.

We are united with the Creator who is transforming the kingdom of this world into the kingdom of God.

We are one with the Creator who will continue to create all things for ever more.

Eternal unity is confirmed with God’s pronouncement in Revelation,

“I Am the Alpha and the Omega,

the beginning and the end.”

(Revelation 21:6)

Dearly beloved,

Let us be united in our belief

That Jesus is Messiah;

The fulfillment of our expectation,

That he is one with our Father,

The Creator of the heavens and the earth.

Let us be united in our choice

To follow Jesus and become the benefactors of God’s amazing grace and love.

Let us be united in our discipleship

Feeding others,

Tending others,

Good stewards of Christ’s flock

Drawing others towards the same Good Shepherd.

May his flock grow!

Let us be united in our forgiveness and our salvation.

Let us be one.

To God be the glory!

Amen.

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