Jesus had just finished revealing Himself as The Good Shepherd (John 10:1-16), predicting His death and resurrection (10:17), and reaffirming his relationship with the Father and His complete commitment to His Father’s Will (10:18), when many responded (10:20),
He has a demon and is insane; why listen to Him?
This text is both discouraging and encouraging to me.
I find it discouraging because most of His audience didn’t understand. They listened as their Creator (John 1:1, 3) told them the truth about His identity and purpose. And they thought He was insane. How awful is sin that it blinds people to the truth? Sin kept them from listening to the words of their own Maker. This disheartens me. Sin keeps people from seeing reality (Psa. 40:12, Col. 2:2). So many unbelieving and unconverted hearts are just as hard these days as they were in Jesus’ day. And if few actually listened to Jesus in the flesh, few will listen to Him through His New Testament today.
But I find it encouraging because I know Jesus said what He said perfectly. He didn’t forget any important points; He didn’t choose His words poorly. He said exactly what He wanted to say and they thought He was insane. If they thought Jesus was insane, why should we who preach the same message expect to be treated any differently? When I preach the Word with authority (Titus 2:15, cf. 2 Tim. 4:1-2), I don’t have to wonder about what is wrong with me or my message (cf. 2 Tim. 4:3). The problem is not with the Word, but with hearts of those listening. Those who teach the truth will be rejected, just as Jesus was rejected (Luke 10:16).
We should always remember that it is this “foolish” message that causes people to believe (1 Cor. 1:18). Many write this message off as nonsense or ‘not a big deal,’ and others will value the same message and come to know the Son because of it. The truth is polarizing! It is only through this message that we come out of the blindness and death of sin and into the life of Christ. “He goes before them and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice… If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:4, 9).