Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe.” John 10:24–25
Why is it that these people did not know that Jesus was the Christ? They wanted Jesus to speak “plainly” to them, but Jesus surprises them by saying that He already answered their question but they “do not believe.” This Gospel passage continues the beautiful teaching about Jesus being the Good Shepherd. It’s interesting that these people want Jesus to speak plainly about whether or not He is the Christ, but instead, Jesus speaks plainly about the fact that they do not believe in Him because they are not listening. They have missed what He has said and are left in confusion.
One thing this tells us is that God speaks to us in His own way, not necessarily in the way we would like Him to speak. He speaks a mystical, profound, gentle and hidden language. He reveals His deepest mysteries only to those who have come to learn His language. But to those who do not understand God’s language, confusion sets in.
If you ever find yourself confused in life, or confused about the plan God has for you, then perhaps it’s time to examine how carefully you listen to the way God speaks. We could beg God, day and night, to “speak plainly” to us, but He will only speak in the way He has always spoken. And what is that language? On the deepest level, it’s the language of infused prayer.
Prayer, of course, is different than only saying prayers. Prayer is ultimately a relationship of love with God. It’s a communication on the deepest level. Prayer is an act of God within our soul by which God invites us to believe in Him, to follow Him, and to love Him. This invitation is continually offered to us, but too often we fail to hear it because we fail to truly pray.
Much of John’s Gospel, including Chapter Ten from which we are reading today, speaks in a mystical way. It’s not possible to simply read it like a novel and comprehend all that Jesus says with one read. Jesus’ teaching must be heard in your soul, prayerfully, pondered, and heard. This approach will open the ears of your heart to the certitude of the voice of God.
Reflect, today, upon the mysterious ways in which God communicates to you. If you do not understand how He speaks, then that is a good starting point. Spend time with this Gospel, prayerfully pondering it. Meditate upon Jesus’ words, listening for His voice. Learn His language through silent prayer and allow His holy words to draw you to Himself.
My mysterious and hidden Lord, You speak to me day and night and continually reveal Your love to me. Help me to learn to listen to You so that I may grow deep in faith and may truly become Your follower in every way. Jesus, I trust in You.