April 21, 2010

no one will snatch them out of my hand

In reading some commentaries yesterday two pieces of information seemed especially important. The first is that John 10:22 takes place three months after John 10:21. Jesus, it seems, has been harping on the theme of sheep and shepherd for quite a while. It makes sense then that the crowd would finally say, "just tell us dude!" The second piece of background worth noting is the John's community was by far the most persecuted of the four Gospel Churches.

The persecution shines a bright light on what John chooses to share. That he chooses to share with his community Jesus' promise that "no one will snatch [his sheep] out of his hand" is a powerful statement of faith. Even when things are at their worst, Jesus promises eternal life. He doesn't promise safety. He doesn't promise an easy road. He just promises that he will be there every step of the way.

In this same exchange, with the background of awful persecution shining bright, Jesus also says, "my works testify to who I am." He doesn't say, "hide" or "lay low", but rather reminds his disciples through the challenge of his detractors that just as Jesus' works are a window to his Father, so too are we called to be a window to Him.

It isn't an easy road, but it is a fruitful one, the road called eternal life.

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