A daily devotion for January 27th
Further Conflict Over Jesus’ Claims
22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, 41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” 42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.(John 10:27-29)
How can you tell a true Christian? Jesus says,
They follow me. That is, they obey Jesus; they do what he commands. This does not mean that they always do so instantaneously, without struggle. All of us struggle at times with what our Lord says; all of us resist at times. Sometimes the word needs to be brought clearly and sharply into focus in our life. But the point of it is, once we see what Jesus wants, the attitude of a true sheep is,
Lord, even though it hurts, even though it costs, I will do what you say. I will follow you.
Why do sheep act this way? What has made the difference? Three things: First, Jesus says,
I give unto them eternal life. That is stated in the present indicative tense:
I keep on giving to them eternal life. What holds us to Jesus? It is the life he gives, the peace, the joy, the love that we feel, the sense of inner serenity, the forgiveness, the sense of belonging and being guarded and kept and loved, that is what brings us. It is a quality of life which comes so continually to us that we would give up anything else rather than give that up. We are drawn because he keeps on giving us life, eternal life, God's kind of life.
Secondly, that quality of life has an element of assurance: it will never end. It has a certainty of safety, of security about it. We will never perish. Isn't that a marvelous word? We live in a world that is perishing, a world that is headed for judgment, for ultimate destruction. People all around us are committed to ways of life that end at last in hell—but because he has given us eternal life, we shall never perish! What a wonderful word of assurance. It is a life that survives death, that even disdains death. Everyone is headed for death, yet many are unafraid. They do not look with terrible tragic hopelessness toward that future. They know that a way has been provided by which they will not even know death or sense it when it happens, but they will be ushered immediately into glory and life and truth.
Thirdly, this is a life which is guarded, kept, protected by two unconquerable Beings. Jesus said,
No one shall snatch them out of my hand. 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. In Colossians, Paul puts these two things together:
Your life is hid with Christ in God, (Colossians 3:3). What a wonderful view that is of our safety! No one, not even we ourselves, can take us out of the Father's hand. (Romans 8:38-39)
Thank you, Lord, for the assurance of eternal life, and that life will never end. Thank you, that I can trust in your promise that no one can snatch me out of your strong hand.
Life Application: As sheep dependent on our Shepherd's care, are we learning to deliberately choose and trust our Shepherd as He leads us in paths of righteousness for His name's sake?
From your friends at www.RayStedman.org
Daily Devotion © 2014 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.