Today’s Gospel reading was from John 10:22-30. Here is the meditation from Word Among Us:
Jesus’ Jewish interlocutors sounded frustrated. “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”Jesus, too, seemed to have reason to be frustrated. “I told you, and you do not believe.” What was going on?
The questioners were looking for intellectual information so that they could categorize this man—and then condemn him. But Jesus was after something different: a response of faith. Sadly, however, he concluded: “You do not believe, because you are not among my sheep” (John 10:26). For Jesus, belonging is more fundamental than intellectual propositions. Those who are united to him know who he is from the inside.
Barnabas had this kind of knowledge. Something new was happening in the Christian community at Antioch: Gentiles were being converted to Christ. The church in Jerusalem, composed almost entirely of Jews who had accepted Jesus as Messiah, sent Barnabas to evaluate this new development.
Barnabas could have made a factual report including the answers to many questions: Do the Gentile Christians outnumber the Jewish Christians? Are they being circumcised and observing other essential provisions of the Jewish Law? But instead, he asked: What is God accomplishing here? Do these new believers bear the mark of being the Lord’s sheep, the mark of love? How can we encourage them to remain in close fellowship with Christ? And so: “When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart” (Acts 11: 23).
Often, we too ask the wrong questions. We look for information we can use against someone. We seek answers to theological puzzles. We get frustrated when God seems to tum a deaf ear to our petitions or when we feel him nudging us to become the answer to the need we’ve laid at his feet. Instead, let’s be eager to discover where God is at work and how we can fit into what he is doing. Let’s be attentive to his Spirit moving us to draw closer to his heart and to put others in living touch with his love.
”Jesus, I have a lot of questions, but what is on your heart and mind today? Where is your Spirit at work today? How can I show the world that belong to your flock?”
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