They were celebrating Hanukkah just then in Jerusalem. It was winter. Jesus was strolling in the Temple across Solomon’s Porch. The Jews, circling him, said, “How long are you going to keep us guessing? If you’re the Messiah, tell us straight out.”
Jesus answered, “I told you, but you don’t believe. Everything I have done has been authorized by my Father, actions that speak louder than words. You don’t believe because you’re not my sheep. My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. I and the Father are one.”
The Jewish community wanted liberation. They wanted a political revolution. And they wanted to know if Jesus was the one who would lead them as their "Messiah."
Jesus' answer amounts to: yes, obviously! but not in the way you think...
Jesus makes the point that he has come to bring liberation - true liberation - out of the cycles of violence and rivalry that make empires and oppression possible in the first place. But achieving this freedom doesn't happen by picking a fight. It's an entirely new way of being that's needed: one willing to self-sacrifice, rather than demand others' sacrifice.
And if we are are so willing to try out this way of being, we might just discover a God who refuses to be in rivalry with us too; a good shepherd who leads us to pastures of healing rather than to the altar of sacrifice.
Outward Mindset Application Do something for a coworker that they would like you to do but that you have been resisting.
Pathways Toward Centeredness What is something you have always wanted to learn? Find and watch some Youtube videos on that topic!
Questions for Consideration Does the non-violent way of Jesus seem like good news? or bad news? What assurances would you need before trying out this "way?" Have you ever felt so misunderstood by someone no matter how are you try to share the truth of yourself? What helps you remain secure in yourself? Do you know of anyone who seems to behave like this version of Jesus?