John 10:24 “Tell us boldly”

The Jewish leaders in Judea use such interesting words in their approach to Jesus. Literally this verse may be translated “For how long will you take away our life? If you are the Christ, tell us boldly.”

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The context in John 10 strongly emphasizes the glorious fact that Jesus is the beautiful shepherd with beautiful works (10.32 is literally ‘beautiful works’, not “great miracles”), particularly that he lays down his life for his sheep. So 10.24 stands in marked contrast. Does Jesus take life away from those who will not believe in him and follow him? Is he the final judge? Or are the Jewish leaders implying that Jesus is failing to proclaim his messiahship and thus causing loss of true life? Their enigmatic question may imply both these thoughts.
The word used for “boldly” (Greek parresia) cannot easily be translated into English. It means that the person is absolutely sure and convinced of the truth and reality of what they believe. This assured confidence leads to a boldness which is willing to suffer in consequence. It is used quite often by Paul and about him. For example, in Colossians 4.19 Paul asks prayer that he may be enabled to make the good news of Jesus known “fearlessly” – the same Greek word.
In Britain today we need also to pray for such “boldness”. Christians need quality teaching, so that we may know what we are talking about and have a deep and confident assurance of biblical truth. We also need to gain the courage to proclaim and share the good news of new life in Jesus boldly with our neighbours, friends and relatives. Good teaching and assured faith without bold witness is useless; and bold witness without underlying assured knowledge is just empty fanaticism.
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