Devotional Reading: John 10: 19-42. Morning Psalm 27; Evening Psalm 126
Text: No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. (vss. 28b & 29)
I remember the elderly parents who were nearing the end of their life. They were worried for their only son. They couldn’t have biological children so they adopted their son as a toddler. Unfortunately, he had already been scarred by life. Nevertheless, they loved him dearly. This is why they were afraid, not just what would happen to him after their death, but forever.
Faithful in the rural Presbyterian church that my wife and I served, they had somewhere in the later years of their faith journey fallen under the influence of a radio evangelist. The concern they expressed to me was that their son, while a good husband, father and faithful in church and community, had not said “the believer’s prayer.” I asked the couple if they loved their son. They said that did. Then I asked if they thought that God loved their son any less than they did. They didn’t. Next I reminded them of their son’s baptism. Baptism is the visible sign of an invisible Truth–“We love God because God first loved us”. (I John 4: 19) In baptism we acknowledge the mystery of this love and commit ourselves to raising a child in Christian nurture.
Salvation is not our story but God’s. It is not about us, but about God. Our salvation is secure. It was secured on a hill far away over 2000 years. It is this truth that seems to lie at the heart of John’s gospel; God’s love–for the world, for you and for me. “No one can snatch them out of my hand,” Jesus said. Grace is unconditional and irrevocable.
I believe that we need to remember this during the season of Lent as we prepare for Easter. We need to tell others, too, because there is no greater news to share. Our challenge, as followers of Jesus, is to live into our baptism,
Lord God, remove ALL fear from my heart. Show me how to live into my baptism and give me the strength to do what You show me to do. Amen.