Sunday – February 28, 2016
Day 19 – John 10:22-42
Focus: vss. 28-30
“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.”
Sheep and shepherding are common images in the Bible because of the importance of sheep in those cultures. They represented food, wealth and the blessing of God. Their care was important and vital to the family as well as to the society at large. Theirs was an economy based on agriculture. Sheep have predators – those animals that wish to snatch them out of the hand of the shepherd. Wolves and coyotes and wild dogs are among the many predators we still fight today.
I remember ranchers back in the Black Hills losing foals and calves to predators like mountain lions and coyotes. They were cunning and always looking for an easy meal. You have to be there when the foals and calves are being born if you want to fend off the predators.
Our scripture passage for today is a hard one. Jesus is continuing his battle with the Jewish leaders of the day. They are growing more and more against Him and He refuses to stop telling the truth of who He is. Once again they want to arrest or kill Him but it’s not time for that yet so He escapes to continue His Father’s work. Out of his argument with the Jews comes this scriptural gem.
This passage is one that has caused some theological contention. Some use it to mean God will always protect the Church and thus the theology of those in charge can never be wrong (since God would never allow it). Some use it to mean believers will always persevere to the end and cannot be lost once they are found. In a way, both of these views are right as long as we understand the context of the sheep. Jesus’ sheep are those who hear His voice, are known by Him and follow Him. By this we can understand how there can be many in the Church who claim faith in Christ but are not His sheep because they don’t follow their shepherd. If you don’t follow the shepherd, you’ll get lost. If you don’t hear His voice, you won’t get the theology straight. The Church has often had to be corrected because ungodly sheep have gotten into the fold but God does eventually correct it.
God’s sheep are under His protection. The predators can come but God’s protection is upon the faithful. If you listen to God’s voice and follow Him, then God has three promises for you: He will give you eternal life, you will not perish and nothing can steal you away from God’s hand. If you follow Jesus, you will never be an easy meal for a predator. God will fight for you and protect you. Think about it – if you are beset by a great temptation to do something you know is sin, you can gain victory by following Jesus. Resist the Devil and He must flee. Seek power from on high to give you the strength to defeat the temptation. Live your life like Jesus and you may find many temptations are avoided altogether. If you mess up and give into the temptation and fall into sin, you can still gain victory by following Jesus. Just ask for forgiveness and God will lift you up out of the miry clay. So, are you ready to follow Jesus? God’s got a promise for you and He is the One who is greater than all.
Prayer Focus: Dear Jesus, I will follow you. Give me victory in you. Give me strength to life for you and forgive me when I fail to follow you. Find me when I am lost and we’ll celebrate together. Amen.