The religious leaders have trouble believing that Jesus is the Messiah. But what is hard for me to believe or even imagine is the aspect of eternal life and never perishing. Not that I would have recognized Jesus for who he really was back then either, but it would have been this odd and new idea of life everlasting that would have boggled my mind. Many authors have written novels about life after death. Each portrays a different vision.
The New Testament also offers hints about this reality, but usually those hints are perplexing. And why should it matter? Well, one theme that runs through all the novels is that our life now prepares us in significant ways for the next. That theme is less overt in the biblical text, but it is implied often enough.
This passage highlights the benefits of being a sheep who hears the voice of Jesus. Those who do will not perish or be snatched from his hand. A comforting thought that Jesus’ power and ability stems from his relationship with his all-powerful Father. Given by God, we remain God’s.
Only those who hear Jesus’ voice and follow receive this offer of eternal life. It comes to those who experience a reorientation from outside to inside, who move beyond the words. So what does this mean for those within the fold? Like those in Revelation, a great throng of people stand in the fold: “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. . . . But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit” (The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis)—and none will be snatched from Jesus’ hand.
Jesus, I want help in becoming a long-term goal person, especially when it comes to eternal life. Amen.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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