The Mercy, Patience, and the Long Suffering of Jesus.

We learn in John 10:22-23 that Jesus celebrated the Feast of Dedication, a national holiday not mentioned in the Old Testament. It was winter, and Jesus walked in the portico where it would have been warmer. Here, Jesus was confronted for the final time in His public ministry by the religious leaders. Only three months away from crucifixion, Jesus boldly proclaimed (John 10:30) that He and His Father are one, and the Jews picked up stones to kill Him (John 10:31).

"I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). The word "one" in this verse is neuter not masculine, indicating distinct individuals yet not one person. Jesus and the Father are one in action and purpose, but they are two different persons. Repeatedly throughout the book of John, Jesus stated that He could only do the will of the Father who had sent Him. Jesus clearly proclaimed that His purpose was exclusively that of the Father’s and referenced His heavenly nature and origin (John 8). His mission was the eternal will of the Father and the glory He shared with the Father before the foundations of the earth. His Sonship is unique because it is eternal (John 1, John 3:16). The divine unity of the Father and the Son existed in eternity past. Now we can enjoy predetermined spiritual unity with the Godhead in salvation and in mission.

Mercy, patience, and long suffering are divine attributes of both the Father and the Son in relationship to unbelief. We are commanded and encouraged in 2 Peter 3:8-9 to remember that God is not slow but desires all to come to repentance. For the entirety of His earthly ministry, Jesus in His mercy lived the long suffering of God the Father in the presence of the religious ones. He continued in obedience to the Father in the midst of spiritual stubbornness.

God is immeasurably kind and patient towards us to bring us to the moment of our conversion. We are no different than these religious ones in unbelief, as we, too, are like sheep who have gone astray, each to our own way (Isaiah 53:6). The quickening of our dead souls is the very mercy and long suffering of God (Ephesians 2).

The Jews wanted Jesus to announce Himself as Christ (John 10:24). These men had already made up their minds that they were not going to believe, desiring only to trap Him. If Jesus proclaimed publicly that He was the Christ, Messiah, the King of the Jews, then the Jewish leaders knew it would be a declaration of war against the Romans, leading to Jesus’s death. Amazingly, Jesus responds with mercy, patience, and long suffering.

Application Points

Do you have unsaved loved ones, friends, or coworkers? Are you persevering with the same position and disposition that Jesus did? Are you extending the mercy, patience, and long suffering of God to these lost sheep just as it has been extended to you?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore

Psalm 85:15; 78:38, Numbers 14:18, Joel 2:13, Exodus 34:6, Isaiah 48:9