Jesus had been with His disciples for close to three and a half years and the length of time that He had to spend with them was running out very fast. So there was the need to boost their morale so that they could withstand the challenges they would be facing when the vacuum of His absence hits home; it could be devastating for them. In sum, He was preparing their minds. But what made matters worse was that the Jewish authorities were in the way, bothering Him with unending questions. They had just asked Him; “How long can you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” (John 10:24)
His reply was not just to reconfirm what the Jews already knew and thus get them off His back, but with one stone He hit two birds. He was going to also reaffirm His person to His disciples – some of whom maybe still harboured doubts. “He answered, ‘I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe me because you are not my sheep.” It would seem that this first part of His answer addressed the question all right.
But He continued, for the benefit of the disciples; “My sheep know my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can 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.” Then He ends with this: “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:24-30)
Was this intended to be a new revelation for His disciples? Was this truth to prepare them for His return to the Father? How would knowing that He was returning to the Father cushion the bitter experience that was awaiting them?
The Jews were furious and would have stoned Him to death for blasphemy on the count, “because you a mere man, claim to be God.” (John 10:33) He stopped them in their tracks with another clarification. “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods!’ If He called them ‘gods’, to whom the word of God came – and the Scripture cannot be broken – what about the One whom the Father set apart as His very own and sent into the world?’ ”
Then He hits the nail on its head; “ ‘Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I in the Father.” (John 10:34--38)
The bottom line is, only someone of a God stature could have done the miracles Jesus did. No ordinary man or woman could have taken two fish and five loaves of bread and multiplied them to feed a starving 5,000 men - not counting the women and children. No man could tell seasoned fisherman where to throw their nets for a catch after a fruitless night at sea and they drew in so much fish that their net began to break.
The Bible is replete with instances where Jesus addresses God as our Father. It is only in Christianity that God is seen as a Father figure and not as someone with a whip in hand. It portrays the intimacy between the Father supreme and His children. Christians do not fear God because of what He can do to them, but appreciate Him because of His loving-kindness and tender mercies that He bestows upon them. The Scriptures reveal that He loves each and every one of them with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3) Indeed, He loved humanity first; we are only reciprocating.
Jesus literally teaches His followers when praying, to address God in these terms; “Our Father in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9) What a privilege!
What follows is stunningly true. Jesus underlined rather categorically that “No one can come to [Him] unless the Father who sent [Him] draws him.” (John 6:43-44) Wow! By the same token, He assures us thus; “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Throughout the Gospels Jesus Himself reveals who He is with respect to the Father. “No one has seen the Father except the One who is from God. Only He has seen the Father.” (John 6:46)
Offended at what His Father’s house had been turned into, Jesus lashed at the merchants: “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market?” (John 2:16) The traders had taken over the Temple with their wares - with the tacit complicity of the authorities who were benefitting from it no doubt.
On one occasion when His parents lost sight of Him on their return journey from Jerusalem - where they had attended the Feast of the
Passover, He replied to His mother’s scolding with; “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49) The Son could not hide His zealousness for matters pertaining to His Father. “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and, I, too, am working.” (John 5:17)
Quizzed about His return to earth, Jesus replied politely; “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32)
Prior to His crucifixion and resurrection, our Lord Jesus prayed to His Father for His disciples whom He was leaving behind. “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your name---the name You gave me so that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:11) Oneness with the Father is what puts Jesus in a class all on His own. Whatever He shares with believers comes from a solid relationship with the Father.
Our Lord Jesus held nothing back from His disciples that He had seen the Father do. His desire today is to link up with you, to empower you also. Make sure you belong to His flock of sheep. Begin by addressing God as your Father too. One thing He taught us is that God is love.