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John 10:22-42 Study Guide: Safe in the Father\'s Hand

Community Group Study Guide — Secure in the Father’s Hand
John 10:22-42

Study Information:
The identity of Jesus as the Good Shepherd gives hope to weary Christians. We explored in our last study guide how following the Good Shepherd leads to life because Jesus laid down his own. This week we will learn more about the identity of Jesus as the Messiah and how God preserves his sheep through his protective care. The truth is that, if you’re a follower of Jesus he will keep you close to him and there is no power that can separate you from God. 

The Right Hand of God
John 10:22-30
Some time has taken place between Jesus’ first declaration of being the Good Shepherd and this passage. It is now winter and Jesus is in the temple grounds during the feast of dedication which we know today as Hanukah. It commemorated a previous revolt that took place about 185 years before where a family named the Maccabees led a revolt against the Seleucid empire. The Seleucids rose up in the wake of the death of Alexander the Great. They were particularly harsh to the Jews including provoking them with things like sacrificing pigs in the temple. The Maccabees rose up against them and actually maintained political freedom for 47 years.

The Jews were in suspense and wanted to know plainly if Jesus was the Christ (John 10:24). Jesus had previously spoken about his identity as one from heaven, being one with the father and that his works testified to God; however the Jews wanted him to declare it openly. The logic would be that in this political climate, around this feast that such a declaration would bring them closer to a rebellion. Jesus was not concerned with their political freedom so much as he was concerned with their spiritual freedom.

Jesus’ works pointed to who he was and they were unable to believe because they were not his sheep. Jesus repeated his words from earlier in John 10, his sheep hear his voice, he knows them and they follow him. There are six wonderful declarations in verse 28-29 about the security his sheep have. Jesus gives them eternal life, they will never perish, no one can take them from his hand, the Father has given them to him, no one is greater than the Father and no one can take them from the Father’s hand. So whose hand are the sheep in? Jesus’ hand or the Father’s hand? This repetition is purposeful to underscore the divine identity of Jesus that the Father’s hand and the Son’s hand are one; followers of Christ are secure in God (John 10:30).

What causes you to doubt God’s ongoing care? Jesus will speak later on in the gospel of John to warn his disciples of persecution and suffering. Certainly when life gets difficult because of our faith we can doubt God’s care. Likewise, when we suffer, feel apathy or have nagging questions. These things are to be expected living in a world filled with sin, but the truth of this passage is that God is with his people in those times and there is no power greater than God’s and nothing can separate God’s people from the love of Christ (Romans 8:37-39).

Your ongoing relationship with God does not rest on your ability to be faithful. God protects and preserves his sheep. Think of it like a rock climber who has the safety of the climbing rope and carabiner attached to their harness. They are still following the lead climber (Jesus) and put forth effort and skill to climb, but are constantly in the grip and safety of Jesus with that rope. If you are one of God’s sheep he will preserve your faith and give you grace and comfort during the difficult seasons. 

Are you the Messiah?
John 10:31-42

There are only a handful of times Jesus plainly said he was the Christ. The Jews here want to use his statement against him and they are not asking with open and honest minds and hearts. With that said, we can tell though what they thought Jesus claimed about himself by their response. When Jesus said “I and the Father are one” and that his works pointed to the Father, they respond with wanting to kill him for blasphemy. Jesus told them and us that he was more than just a good teacher or a nice man. Jesus is God in the flesh.  

Any cult/false teaching that pretends to be Christian usually ignores Jesus’ statements about his divine nature, like this one. Jesus says that he and the Father are one and the Jews rightly interpreted it as Jesus claiming to be God. They charge him with blasphemy and Jesus responded by asking them to look at the works he did and see how they matched up with the works of God the Father. 

The crowds continue to wonder about Jesus and divide over who he is. They responded here by comparing him to John the Baptist and pointing out the irony that people accepted John’s teaching even without all the powerful works but they denied Jesus even though he did all those incredible miracles. Yet, the passage ends with more people believing in Jesus and following him as disciples. 

If you’re in Christ you have an amazing security in your faith with the right hand of the Father holding onto you. Jesus’ works point to his divine identity as the Christ and as his sheep we are to follow his lead to eternal life and walk in his ways.  

At your community group:

Take 15-20 minutes to share about how God has been at work in your life, prayer concerns and pray for one another.

How did God speak to you through the scripture and the sermon this week? 

Discussion Questions:
Read John 10:22-30

Why would the Jews want a plain answer to their question “are you the Christ?” Has Jesus answered this question before in the gospel of John?

Look at verse 28 and 29. How does Jesus talk about the believer’s security? What are some things that cause believers to doubt God’s care of them?

Read John 10:31-42

What do the Jews want to do to Jesus and how does this help us understand what they thought about the message of his teaching?

What would you say to someone who is struggling with assurance of their salvation and questions about Jesus identity as the Messiah based on these verses?