24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
John 10: 24-29
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”
In the New Testament Gospels, we see Jesus as the fulfillment of the promise of God hidden in the Old Testament. He is God the Son, and His words are important.
But do not ignore who he was talking to, and the full context of what he was saying.
To the multitudes, Jesus showed them God as their loving father, who loved them, cared for them and provided for them.
But Jesus’ harshest words were for the Scribes and Pharisees, whose error was that they believed they were perfected by the law, and through their own efforts to keep it. Jesus was often rebuking them, showing them how their own efforts failed the standard that the law was given to set. In modern terms, they thought they were “all that and a bag of chips.” Jesus proved to them that they were not. And instead of their hearts softening, they were offended by the rebuke of this man whom they perceived to be a lowly carpenter from the backwater town of Nazareth. Who was He to tell them anything? And this self-righteousness became a bitter root that grew to the point that they determined to kill him rather than hear His words.
Many preachers commit the error of pulling Jesus’ teaching out of that context, with the result that they teach the old law in a new setting (new wine in old wineskins). The Gospel then becomes a new series of “does and don’ts”, rather than the rebirth with a new nature, based solely on the reconciliation with God, in unmerited grace, by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. And rather than focusing our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) so that we grow in His nature and likeness, the teaching of the Gospel in the form of a new law focuses our eyes on our selves, which will only grow the bitter roots of self-righteousness or defeat.
A good way to test to see whether you are living in the law or walking in the Spirit is to note where the major focus of your thoughts are. Are you looking at yourself, or are you gazing upon Jesus?