Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Father Who Won't Let Go

Devotional studies on the Father from John's gospel

Scripture

Today's full Bible reading can be found here:
'No one will ever snatch them out of my hand. My Father who has given them to me, is more powerful than all, and no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.'
John 10:29-30 
Observation

There is a lot of devotional wealth to be mined in these verses and there is a lot that can be said about the Father.

First. In this passage we're given the assurance from Jesus that the Father is more powerful than all the forces that would try to snatch his sheep away. There is the reassurance that those under Jesus' care will not be lost.

Jesus says 'no one can snatch them from my hand' and then 'no one can snatch them from my Father's hand'. Well, which is it? The answer comes - 'I and the Father are one.' Jesus and the Father are of one mind and heart in this regard. The sheep in his care will remain in his care. Case closed, matter settled.

Now, I have plenty of questions about this - especially in light of friends I've known who've walked away from God. Friends who it seems were 'snatched' from God's hands. What about them, I wonder?

Questions like this are important but cannot easily be answered in a general Bible study like this, especially since in the Bible passage we're looking at it's not a question that is asked. The truth announced by Jesus here is that 'no one can be snatched' from his hand.

How we examine the lives and faith of others must not contradict that statement of his. Besides I've been a Christian long enough to know that 'the end has not yet been written.' I often say to people 'God is good and by his grace, life is long' - who knows what will happen in the future. Besides that, answers to these questions are found most commonly through prayer and reflection. For this morning's devotion let us draw out from the text the truth about the Father revealed in these words:
  • The Father gives 'sheep' to the Son.
  • The Father is more powerful and greater than all.
  • The Father won't let go of those in his hand.
He is a rescuing, generous, strong, active, protective Father. We also learn from Jesus that:
  • Jesus and the Father are one.
Is that 'of one mind' or 'of one being'? The doctrine of God as Trinity is a tricky one to understand but the answer to those questions is found by looking at what happened next in the Bible passage: 'they picked up stones to kill him.' Whatever Jesus meant, his audience clearly understood him to be assuming a place of privilege that had up until now only been reserved for God. They heard the apparent blasphemy in what he was saying; the claim to divinity. Whether of one substance or mind, Jesus is claiming a harmony with God the Father that no human being has ever had before.

Application

The Father is saving, loving, protecting and preserving the people he loves. We were once straying like sheep but now have returned to the shepherd and overseer of our souls. 

The Father is my shepherd and the reason Jesus behaves so 'shepherdly' toward us is because he is 'one' with the Father.

Prayer

Thank you Father. Thank you that keep us safe in your care, that you love me and have shown me great kindness. Today I choose to trust you and look to you as the one who is able to answer all of my deepest questions. Please help me to understand many of the big questions I can't work out on my own. Amen.

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