Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon's Colonnade. The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly." Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father's name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
John 10:22-30 NIV
Jesus often used the porches that separated the areas in the temple. They provided a cool gathering spot in the summertime and a warm spot in the cold winter. Jesus also liked to teach there because it had a steady flow of people going to it.
While there, Jesus was approached by Jews who had heard all the talk that was centering on Jesus being more than just another inspiring teacher of the law. Many people were believing the rumor that Jesus was the messiah, the Son of the Living God.
All timidity and shame that these people had melted away into curiosity. So, they surrounded Jesus at Solomon’s Colonnade and said to Him, “If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” This implies that they believe that Jesus is intentionally leaving them in suspense. They want Him to plainly satisfy their anxious uncertainties.
Jesus responds that His words and works proclaim who He is. Everything that He has done and everything that people have said about Him ought to confirm who He is.
When we listen to His words and witness His testimony, it is clear who He is. For both us and those who met Jesus at Solomon’s Colonnade, that is precisely the problem. The issue is a matter of relationship. Jesus highlights that by saying that there is no uncertainty for those that follow Him, and that “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Those who follow Christ do not need to settle their anxiety, because we have the relationship to know Christ. The witness that He has given us is enough to reveal the certainty of His identity. But this is a critical challenge for every generation. There is a tension between wanting to affirm Jesus and accept Him by faith. Jesus is implying that many times people have affirmed Him because of the signs and wonders, not because of the relationship. Jesus taught that true faith is reaching the point where you don’t need a sign or a wonder to testify that He is Lord.
It is important for us to come to a point in our faith that we don’t need Jesus’ signs and wonders to sustain us. If He doesn’t multiply bread and fish or pay our bills, we must still be able to testify that He is Lord. Even when we aren’t healed, don’t get a raise, or don’t get a promotion, He must still be Lord. His Lordship is not based on signs and wonders, but it is based on our faith-affirmation that in Him we have the manifestation of the Eternal God and that He is the only Son of the Living God.