They were celebrating Hanukkah just then in Jerusalem. It was winter.
Jesus was strolling in the Temple across Solomon's Porch.
The Jews, circling him, said, "How long are you going to keep us guessing? If you're the Messiah, tell us straight out."
Jesus answered, "I told you, but you don't believe. Everything I have done has been authorized by my Father, actions that speak louder than words.
You don't believe because you're not my sheep.
My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me.
I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand.
The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him.
I and the Father are one heart and mind."
Again the Jews picked up rocks to throw at him.
Jesus said, "I have made a present to you from the Father of a great many good actions. For which of these acts do you stone me?"
The Jews said, "We're not stoning you for anything good you did, but for what you said - this blasphemy of calling yourself God."
Jesus said, "I'm only quoting your inspired Scriptures, where God said, 'I tell you - you are gods.'
If God called your ancestors 'gods' - and Scripture doesn't lie -
why do you yell, 'Blasphemer! Blasphemer!' at the unique One the Father consecrated and sent into the world, just because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?
If I don't do the things my Father does, well and good; don't believe me.
But if I am doing them, put aside for a moment what you hear me say about myself and just take the evidence of the actions that are right before your eyes. Then perhaps things will come together for you, and you'll see that not only are we doing the same thing, we are the same - Father and Son. He is in me; I am in him."
They tried yet again to arrest him, but he slipped through their fingers.
He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and stayed there.
A lot of people followed him over. They were saying, "John did no miracles, but everything he said about this man has come true."
Many believed in him then and there.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)