Shepherds walk as kings
John 10 v 22-30
“Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
The time is the festival of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication, centred on the re-dedication of the temple brought about by the battle for it between the arch-enemy Antiochus Epiphanes and Judas Maccabaeus in 167AD. Judas and his family in effect rose as kings amongst God’s people and the stories are full of bravery and dedication to the cause. It is also called the Festival of Lights as during this time the Temple would be beautifully lit up and during the dark nights of winter this was a grand sight.
Shepherds walk as kings, v23.
Jesus is walking through the Temple and John specifically says he is walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. This was an important area on the east side of the Temple for the Jewish people and one of the last surviving parts hence they kept the name Solomon. Many would gather there to listen to teachers, it was open, visible and of course beautiful. The Church a few years later chose this place to hold their meetings.
Can you see the picture? At a time when everyone is thinking of the Maccabean revolt and the courage of the kings to fight for God’s Temple, Jesus is walking through the visible and open kingly colonnade and is about to make the most daring of statements, “I and the Father are one.” This is not a shepherd playing with the lambs in the fields. This is a picture of courage, controversy, danger and confidence.
Today, shepherds will wake up and have to make big, faith-filled decisions. They will battle spiritual enemies and even physical ones. They will have to stand up and be counted upon.