Easter 4 is affectionately referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday. Each year (A, B, and C) we hear a portion of John 10, in which Jesus uses the metaphor of sheep and shepherd for his relationship with those who will follow him. In Year C, we catch the tail end of the story (no pun intended) as Jesus is challenged the Temple leadership, what John calls “the Jews” to show them his bona fides. They want to know for sure, if Jesus is or is not the Messiah. “Tell us plainly,” they demand.
“I have already told you.”
Getting the Gospel of John in fits and starts over the course of a three year period means that I very rarely take the time to look at the larger narrative arc of the Fourth Gospel. When I read Jesus say, “I have already told you,” I can’t help but think, “has he really?” I guess I’m so used to Mark’s messianic secret that it is easy to forget that the other Gospels handle the question of Jesus’ messiahship in different ways. I started digging through the first nine chapters of John’s Gospel, looking for places that it might be clear that Jesus or someone else had inferred that he was the Son of God.
- While the priests and Levites were questioning John the Baptist, he saw Jesus and declared, “Here is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (Jn 1.29)
- While cleansing the Temple, Jesus calls it “My Father’s house.” (Jn 2.16)
- When pressed for a sign by the Temple leadership, Jesus promised to rebuild the temple in three days (Jn 2.19)
- Nicodemus came to Jesus saying, “We know that you… have come from God.” (Jn 3.3)
- Jesus clearly infers that he is the Son in John 3.16-17
- Jesus tells the Woman at the Well that he is a “gift from God” (not in that way) (Jn 4.10)
- After Jesus healed on the Sabbath, he exacerbates the situation by calling God his Father. (Jn 5.17-18)
- Jesus promises eternal life that can only come from the Father. (Jn 5.40)
- Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” (Jn 6.35)
- “My teaching is not mine but his who sent me.” (Jn 7.16)
- The crowd wonders if the Temple leaders know that Jesus is the Messiah (Jn 7.26)
- Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” (Jn 8.12)
- Jesus says, “I am not of this world.” (Jn 8.23)
It seems clear that Jesus has made it known that was at least the Messiah, if not the Son of God, if not actually God.