Shall Never Perish
“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 can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27, 28).
When the voice booms out over the loudspeakers, “Now hear this!” wise people listen.
Sometimes the message is mundane and routine. Sometimes it is critical. If on a ship the voice calls out, “General Quarters! General Quarters!” those sailors better follow that order or death and disaster may well follow.
We usually do not envision Jesus, the Good Shepherd, barking out commands to his flock. But sometimes he does. Soft words are not heard in the heat of battle.
We are apt to view Jesus as David did when he wrote, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside the still waters…”. Some days that is an accurate view. Those are days of peace and safety. It is not a picture of the times when the wolves attack!
Those under attack need a strong leader. They need clear directions. Those about to fall prey to the enemy need protection. Jesus provides all of this for his sheep.
How many times do mothers call out to their children, “Listen to me!” And how many times are the words ignored? Children are prone not to pay attention to warnings about riding bikes in the street, not doing homework, or running with scissors in hand. Later on in life , the warnings about bad friends, bad habits, and bad consequences may also fall upon deaf ears.
“My sheep listen to my voice…” the Good Shepherd declares. “I know them…” “They follow me.”
He sounds like a drill sergeant. One of the first things a recruit learns in basic training is to listen to orders. Next, he learns to obey—without question and without delay. It doesn’t take too long before a good drill sergeant can say, “I know this batch of recruits.” He knows which ones malinger, which ones are bold, and which ones are timid. He knows that some day promptly following an order may save their lives.
Maybe we don’t think of Jesus issuing orders. But aren’t his commandments just that? Aren’t they for the same purpose—to keep us safe? Isn’t it true that disobeying his orders can cost us more than our earthly life? Isn’t wandering off from the path he lays out more dangerous than walking over a field filled with IEDs?
Shouldn’t we step into the same footprints that he left behind, and that others under his command faithfully followed?
Isn’t that wise? Isn’t that safe? Isn’t any other action foolish?
Following him; staying close to him, brings a guarantee: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”
When Jesus says, “Listen up!” we gladly say, “Yes Sir!”
Lord Jesus, we recognize you as our leader and place ourselves under your command. We delight to learn that you will not drive us on as if we were your prisoners, or shout at us in anger. We are glad to hear that you are the Good Shepherd, who leads us with a strong arm and holds us with a grip from which no enemy can break us free. Lead us on to the green pastures and the still waters. We will follow. Amen.