John 10:22-30 (NRSV)
Verse 22At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, Verse 23and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. Verse 24So 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." Verse 25Jesus answered, "I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name testify to me; Verse 26but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. Verse 27My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. Verse 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. Verse 29What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father's hand. Verse 30The Father and I are one."
In many ways the world is still in suspense, still looking for the Messiah. Even for many contemporary Christians, a related question might be posed: “For which Messiah are we looking?”
Is the world searching for a Jesus who shelters us from all ills, promises us personal prosperity, invites us into a community separate from all other people of faith? Or are we looking for a Messiah who dares calls us beyond ourselves, calls us into lives of service to others, sends us into a suffering world rather than away from it?
In this week’s gospel, Jesus talks about his works done in God’s name which testifies to his identity. I think wherever justice is done in the world, wherever people are welcomed rather than excluded in the community of faith, wherever the hungry are fed, wherever peace reigns—Jesus is there.
Gracious God, you who like a shepherd not only care for us but also lead us, lead us to find the fullness of life in caring for others. Amen.