Cover to Cover
In verse 22, we read that it is now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah, a celebration that was added to the already existing 7 feasts. This feast celebrated the rededication of the temple after it had been defiled by Antiochus Epiphanes.
Unbelieving Jews approached Jesus, demanding He plainly state that He was the promised Messiah, the Christ. They would consider it blasphemy and give them cause to kill Him.
My sheep hear My voice
Jesus responded by telling them that they were not His sheep. In Biblical times, Jews understood shepherding. They knew sheep would obey the voice of their shepherd, but if someone else called for the flock, the sheep would not respond. The people understood when He said, “My sheep hear My voice.”
I know them
Also, in verse 27, Jesus says, “I know them.” A shepherd knows his/her sheep by name. The shepherd cares for each sheep, knowing them individually as well as a whole.
They follow Me
Sheep will follow their shepherd. It’s their relationship – the shepherd leads, and they follow. As they follow, they are fed, cared for, protected. If they wander, they are found. If they are scattered, they are regathered. If they are hurt, they are restored. The shepherd is one who leads by serving.
The Jews pick up stones to throw at Jesus in order to take His life. Jesus asks the charge against Him. They believe His sin is blasphemy, making Himself out to be God. Jesus quotes Scripture from Psalm 82:6 where God said, “You are gods.” Was Jesus saying that people are deity? No. What Jesus saying that we have authority in the earth as sons of God? Yes.
They again tried to capture Jesus, but it was not His time. The Holy Spirit again supernaturally helped Jesus to escape them.
Jesus went to where the prophet John based his ministry, on the other side of the Jordan. The people there remembered what John said about Jesus, seeing it was true. Many believed in Him there because John had prepared the way. Prophets are sometimes used to help pioneer a new work, declaring God’s plan ahead of time. One, words are powerful and bring God’s plan into existence. Two, the words prepare the hearts of people, and they recognize the move of God when it comes.
1 Chronicles 20-22
In chapter 20, we read the records of more conquests under King David.
In chapter 21, we read about David’s self-sufficient act of numbering the people in a census, which went against faith. Sin always opens the door to trouble. In this case, a plague broke out among the people. David offered a sacrifice to atone for his sin and stop the plague.
From this story we can see how the sin of a leader can give access to the enemy to the people underneath the leader’s authority. There is much responsibility on the leader to guard the group for which they are given charge by God. It is vital that we pray for and support our leaders. The Bible also teaches the importance of a leader having a group of counselors or advisors in place for input, perspective, wisdom, and accountability. Those counselors should be qualified for the position from experience and education. Those advisors should also share vision and values of the leader, be full of faith in God with trust for authority, and humble in heart. If someone is unqualified, he or she could become more of a burden than a blessing to a leader. It’s important that we all know our place, authority and subordinates alike.
In verses 22-24, David wants to purchase a place to make the sacrifice. The owner offers to give it to David; however, David is making an offering to the Lord. His offering needs to be from him, so he says that he will not be able to make a true sacrificial offering with something that costs him nothing.
In chapter 22, we get a little more insight into David’s role in building the temple. Because he was a war king, his purpose was acquiring much of the treasures needed for the temple. Because of all the blood David shed, God did not want David to be the one to build His house; however, David did have his part to play. Solomon’s purpose was to use the preparations David made to build God’s house. In this, I see the importance of generations working together, one setting up the next for success, increase, and expansion. I also see the importance of each of us knowing our purpose in the plan, finding joy and contentment in doing our part.