A person lifts up their hands in prayer in Trinity Church

Five Ways Into Sunday’s Scripture: Invitation to Direct Relationship

John 10:22–30

At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So 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.” Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father's hand. The Father and I are one.”

Set in a moment of high tension in John's Gospel, today's Gospel passage is Jesus’s answer to the question: who are you, exactly?

Are you the Messiah? He responds by saying, in effect, “If you have to ask, then you are not one of my sheep.” Jesus claims his authority and asserts his unity with God when he says, “The Father and I are one.” At the conclusion of these words, John reports that the angered religious leaders intend to stone Jesus for blasphemy, but he escapes them.

In this brief passage, Jesus identifies so closely with God that they are not just close but “one.” In other words, to know Jesus is to know God. Jesus doesn’t just bring us closer to God, he puts us directly in relationship with God, removing any distance between us. Jesus invites all who hear the Good Shepherd’s voice to share in the life of God.

Few of us have direct experience with sheep, but the image of the shepherd speaks of care and protection and security; it is no wonder that Psalm 23 is one of the most beloved prayers throughout the ages.

Question for Reflection: If “shepherd” is not a familiar reference for you, is there a metaphor from your lived experience to express God’s gentle guidance — and your reliance on the voice that claims and liberates you?

—Dr. Kathy Bozzuti-Jones

“Amidst all the other voices that evoke fear, make demands, or give advice, the voice of the good shepherd is a voice of promise — a voice that calls us by name and claims us as God’s own.”

Are you the Messiah? Identity is not easy to articulate, says the writer from the Corymeela Community in Ireland, “especially when we live in a world where people-pleasing is rife.”

Reflections on the most famous poem ever written: Psalm 23.

This live concert setting of Psalm 23 by Jeff Majors will make you a believer! 

Enjoy this art exhibition inspired by Psalm 23: The Lord is My Shepherd from the Theology and Religious Studies department at King’s College London.  

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Coming Up

This week in Discovery, Sunday at 10am, the Rev. Phillip Jackson discusses the new stained-glass window at Trinity Church and how the Parable of the Talents speaks to Trinity’s context specifically. Please note: the series schedule has changed. View the updated Discovery schedule and register to join.