John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
30 I and my Father are one.
We began to look at Jesus’ phrase in verse 27 yesterday: “and they follow me”. We noted yesterday that Judas followed Jesus for about 3 1/2 years. He was chosen by Jesus as one of the 12 disciples. Judas never followed Jesus spiritually. He was with Him physically, but he rejected Jesus for Who He was. We noted that he was a thief. The Bible also tells us that he betrayed Jesus. He did this as part of his life as a thief. Thieves are greedy people. They want something that others have but they do not want to work for it. They want to steal it. Judas wanted wealth and prominence and he was willing to sell out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. We do not know all that was going through his mind but when he realized his plan was not working out, he tried to reverse things. He returned the blood money, but he found out that the false teachers were even more calloused than he was. They did not care about his remorse. They had what they wanted. They were able to arrest Jesus without a large crowd watching. They were able to bring Him before a kangaroo court and have Him condemned to death. They did not want the 30 pieces of silver back. That was a small price for them to pay for what they thought they had gained. They rejected the many warnings that Jesus had given them over the past 3 1/2 years. They chose an eternity in torment over an eternity of peace.
Judas went out and hanged himself. He proved he was not a true follower of Jesus Christ. If he would have been a true follower of Jesus Christ, he would have known the place to go for forgiveness was to Jesus Christ, not to the false teachers. Jesus had earlier stated that Judas was a devil, and Judas proved he was a devil.
Peter was also one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. He also followed Jesus for about 3 1/2 years. He was not a thief, but he was a very impulsive, outspoken man. He followed Jesus physically but he also followed Him spiritually. Peter was the one who denied Jesus Christ at His trial. Peter did that three times. He had three opportunities to realize what he was doing, but it did not sink in until he heard the rooster crow. Jesus had warned Peter that he would deny Him three times. He also told him he would do that before the cock would crow.
The difference between Peter and Judas is that Peter went out and wept bitterly. He had a Godly sorrow for his sin. He did not go to the false teachers to try to find forgiveness. He lived with the misery of his sin for a time after Jesus’ death. After Jesus rose from the dead, Peter showed his desire to be made right with the Saviour. He was one of the first ones at the empty tomb. He ran to that place. Later, he led the other disciples back to their old occupation of fishermen. Jesus had a different plan for Peter and He would continue to reach out to Peter regarding that plan. Peter made it possible for that plan to be fulfilled by not following the same path that Judas took. Peter was desiring to be right with Jesus. He knew better than what he had done, and he desired to be back in a right relationship with the Lord. In fact Peter wanted a better relationship with the Lord than he had previously had.
Jesus met Peter at the seashore and we are given a brief record of that meeting. When Peter realized that Jesus was the man on the shore calling out to them, he left the fishing boat with the fish and with the other disciples, and he jumped into the water and came to shore ahead of the others. He had gone fishing in a state of despair. However, when he had the opportunity to meet his Saviour once again, he left the fishing and ran to meet with Jesus. The account we read obviously shows us that Peter sought forgiveness from the Lord and it also shows that Jesus forgave him. Jesus restored Peter to fellowship and challenged him with what was really going on in his heart. Peter needed to know in his heart what was truly going on. Peter had failed Jesus at a crucial moment in the past. Now Jesus was giving Peter another opportunity to examine what was really going on in his heart. Peter needed to examine where his first love was. He discovered that his first love was not for the sea and the fishing business. He discovered that his first love was truly for the Saviour and His call to be a fisher of men. Jesus tested Peter further by telling him what was ahead for him, but Peter did not back away. He declared his love for the Lord, but he also demonstrated his love for the Lord.
Peter was a true follower of Jesus Christ. Peter was truly known by the Lord.
In verse 28 of our text, Jesus further stated that those who truly hear His voice are given eternal life by Jesus Christ. Peter received the gift of eternal life. Judas did not. Both of these men had to make a choice. Would they follow Jesus Christ or not. We see that Peter did not follow Jesus perfectly. Any true child of God will have to admit that they too do not follow Jesus Christ perfectly. However, the true child of God does not live in sin. The true child of God also sorrows for sin with a godly sorrow.
Paul was directed by God to help us understand this.
II Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
Judas had the sorrow of the world. He went back to the world to try to resolve his problem. He could not find forgiveness there. The world does not understand forgiveness. Peter had a godly sorrow. He went back to the Saviour for forgiveness and he found forgiveness. He had eternal life. His was not a fair weather relationship.
There are many people who turn to Jesus Christ in a moment of crisis, but they do not turn to Him for salvation. I am told that many soldiers would cry out to God for protection while in the trenches in the war. God was merciful and many were spared death at that time. However, when they were spared death, they did not follow the Lord. They kept their drinking and smoking and foul language and whatever other sins they had. Many have perished since that time because they did not follow the Lord. There are many others in this same situation. They want some relief, but they do not want the life that God offers them.
True Christians follow Jesus. They may still have some attraction to the world, but when challenged by God through His Word on those things, they recognize their first love is for Jesus Christ and they give up the worldly attractions for the blessing of following more closely to Jesus Christ. Lost people find a way to defend their ungodly ways but still insist on being saved.
I am called upon by God to use the talents He gives me for His glory. Those that are true followers of Jesus Christ are known of Him and they have been given eternal life by Him and they shall never perish. Peter did not perish. Judas perished. He took his own life and never found the forgiveness his soul needed because he went to the wrong place to try to find what his soul needed.
Jesus further stated that the ones who hear Him, are held in His hand. He assures them that no man is able to pluck them out of His hand.
In verse 29 He gives further assurance to His sheep. God the Father is greater than all. He then declares that no man is able to pluck one of His sheep out of His Father’s hand. Eternal life is a promise of God that cannot be broken. God has His ways of chastening His true children. No true child of God takes his or her salvation for granted. They do not assume they have a license to sin because after all, they are held in the Father’s hand. The very fact that the true child of God is held in the Father’s hand shows us that the child of God cannot live in sin. God’s hand is a holy hand. Sin cannot dwell there. The true child of God desires to be holy even as His Father is holy. The true child of God needs to be reminded of this important fact, but he or she does not fight against that truth. They follow Jesus.
In verse 30 Jesus reminds us that He and His Father are one. Jesus has declared that the true sheep are held in His hand and they are also held in the Father’s hand. He reminds us that that hand is one big hand. There is no difference between following Jesus Christ and following God the Father. They are one. Their message is the same. It is important to truly hear the Lord Jesus Christ and to follow Him.