27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, 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.” – John 10:27-30 NASB
I hate being called a sheep. If there must be an animal metaphor, I’d rather be a lion or perhaps a bear or an eagle. Sheep are defenseless and dumb and stubborn. It is insulting. Yes, the truth hurts. What an accurate picture of low anthropology! However, notice that not only was David a shepherd – meaning he was well acquainted with sheep – but he identified as a sheep in the famous Psalm 23! Jesus Himself welcomed John the Baptist’s proclamation that He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. So if you identify as a sheep, you are in very good company indeed.
However, there are many blessings hidden in this passage that tell us what a blessing it is to be God’s sheep!
- You have the capacity to hear God. You may not have the heavens open up and have the audible voice of God speak directly to you on a regular basis, but there is something innate in you as a believer that knows when people are speaking to you in ways that are consonant or dissonant with voice of your savior. When you hear teaching which is at odds with this Voice which you know so well, you know it is wrong.
- You are known by Jesus. Unlike the “Lord, Lord didn’t I” people who thought they could manipulate God with their deeds, and thus make themselves out to be God’s God, of whom Christ says “depart from Me, I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21-23), Jesus Christ has known you since before the foundation of the universe (Ephesians 1:4). He knows you at your worst, He knows your secrets, He knows your affliction, He knows your sacrifices and frustrations and hopes and broken dreams. He has known you and He takes you as His own possession despite all of this.
- You follow Jesus. You may follow Him the same halting and stupid and broken way that a sheep does, but you do it. You follow Him. You hear His voice and you say “Yes!” You find comfort and great trust in His voice, which you truly recognize.
- You are highly gifted. Far beyond what you deserve or have worked for, God has gifted you. He gives eternal life to you.
- You are an eternal being. You have been given eternal life. It is not up to you! When you transition past your own physical death, you will see that it was not truly perishing. You will see that it was only a transition! You will see that all along, you have been made an eternal creature. The blessing and favor and love of God will never be removed from you forever. You have a fantastic and rich hope. Heaven and earth will pass away, stars and galaxies and civilizations will end, but you will not end.
- You are the gift of the Father to Jesus. That’s right! You may think that you are a ragged stumbling poor sinful insignificant nothing with no ministry and no vision and no success in the world. You may think you have missed every opportunity to reach your potential in life. You may think that you have completely fallen short of the glory of God. But Jesus thinks you are worth dying for. Jesus is glad for you. The greatest gift the Father has given Him in the history of eternity is YOU. You are that significant! It’s hard to believe, but according Jesus, it is true!
- You are secure in God’s grasp. Jesus hugely emphasizes this point! The Father is greater than all, and it is He who grasps you! There is no physical power which is greater than the power which created the universe! There is no moral accusation which is greater than God’s declaration that you have been made just in His eyes. You yourself are not greater than God, so even you Yourself cannot escape His loving grasp through your own sheepish stupidity. His love is so stubborn that He forgives as we kill Him and resurrects from the dead to find you hiding to forgive you. He has loved you with an everlasting eternal love and nothing is greater than this. Nothing can defeat it. You can count on this for the rest of eternity – it is a secure fact.
These are the words of Jesus Himself. They are trustworthy and true and you can and should count on them as the word of God which will never perish. Rejoice and give thanks, believer!!!