“The Jews who gathered around him…”
John 10:24 (NIVUK)
Nowadays people gather around famous and well-known celebrities just to get a glimpse of them or to hear what they might say. It was the same at the time of Jesus, and often crowds would surround him and also follow him as he went from one place to another.
In John 10 Jesus was walking in Solomon’s Colonnade in the Temple area at the time of the Feast of Dedication. The Jews gathered around him, and began to ask him questions. They were so incensed by what he had to say that they sought to stone him, but Jesus “escaped their grasp” (v 39). Afterwards “many people came to him” (v 41), and later, after he had raised Lazarus from the dead, “a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus” (12:9). “Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word” (12:17).
Jesus explained that those who believe in him would gather together. Faith in Jesus would be a shared experience both with the non-believer and the believer. In Matthew 16 Jesus told his disciples that they should beware of the leaven (false teachings) of the Pharisees and Sadducees that was taught when the Jews gathered in the synagogues, and then he said that he would create his own gathering of those called out by the Spirit. “I will build my church”, he said (Matthew 16:18).
By assembling together, Christians can encourage one another and listen to the expounding of Jesus’ teachings. This became more relevant as time went on, especially at times of persecution and difficulty. Thus we read in Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more so as you see the Day approaching.”
The same need exists for us today: let’s make the effort to go to church, to gather together and to be taught by Jesus.
Great Father, thank you for the gift of church, and help us, as we able, to gather together often, to listen together to the teachings of your son, Jesus. In his name.
Study by James Henderson
About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. This week James us speaking in our Northampton congregation.
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