It is here Jesus explains that we belong to Him. Here Jesus says you are My Sheep. Here Jesus describes the eternally secure life we have in Him. The more we understand what Jesus says about us as His sheep, about shepherding, and what it means to belong to Him, the more thrilling it becomes.
Jesus is walking in the winter, on the great porch of Herod’s Temple.If we look into the words John wrote down we realize that we can pinpoint just when this event took place. It is amazing to find those clues to the historical, cultural, geographic context of this event in the Gospels. Now follow along with me as we hear Christ’s voice:
John 10:22-31 (NKJV) Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”
Jesus was Teaching the Truths of John 10 in the month of December
First, it was the cold and rainy season; and because of the weather, Jesus stayed on the eastern side of the Temple (John 10:22-23); under the cover of the colonnaded porch. This is the exact same place where the early church continued to meet (Acts 3:11; 5:12).
Second, it was during the month of December. Look at v. 22, this is the Jewish Feast of Dedication, more commonly called in our time: Hanukkah. This year Jews celebrate Hanukkah or the Feast of Lights from December 9-16, remembering the re-consecration of the Temple after the desecration of the Holy of Holies in 170BC by the Greek General Antiochus Epiphanes.
Finally, it was here that Jesus used the most enduring and comprehensive name for believers. Here in John 10 the term “sheep” is used 16x (out of 40x in all the New Testament, and 21x in John).
“My Sheep” is Christ’s Powerful Term for Believers