(Jesus said) "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." John 10:28-30
At the top of the 1,000-foot mountainous peaks of Meteora, Greece, monasteries have been built, not recently, but hundreds of years ago. Their inaccessible location provides safety and, at the same time, offers them a chance to escape the cares and concerns of the world.
Up until the last century, goods and the most rare of individuals, visitors, had to be winched up in a basket that was hand powered by the monks. Those who made the ascent found the ride a terrifying experience, what with the basket swaying and swinging.
One of these tourists, recording his adventure, admitted to getting nervous about halfway up the cliff. That's when he noticed the rope holding the basket seemed old and frayed. Thinking that he might relieve his fear, at least somewhat, he asked one of the brothers who was riding with him, "How often do you change the rope?"
Without a moment's hesitation, the reply came back, "Whenever it breaks!"
That kind of response doesn't give a person a feeling of absolute security, does it?
Sadly, those who search for security are often forced to confess the initiation and implementation of countless security measures have not made the world feel all that much safer. Those of you who are blessed to have an elderly member as part of your family, ask them if this world is more or less secure than it was 50, 60 or 70 years ago.
I suppose you really don't have to do that, do you? You know the answer already. Being scared, not secure, is the sad situation of our sinful society.
Years ago, I was told of a little boy who had been given a part in the church's Easter play. In the role of the angel at the empty tomb, he had one line. That line was this: "It is I, be not afraid." In spite of his practicing, the day of the service the boy was a wretched wreck. His stomach churned as the teacher coached him. Finally, he walked out on the stage, saw the hundreds of faces looking right at him, his mind went blank, his tongue kept working. Rather than saying, "It is I, be not afraid," he said, "It's me, and I'm scared to death."
"It's me, and I'm scared to death." I suppose in this world, there are some people who aren't scared, but I've never encountered a single one of them. The devoted dad, the loving mom, the successful salesman, the brilliant banker, the faithful farmer, the diligent doctor -- every person, at every age, in every occupation, in almost every situation -- has fear.
This is why we need to think upon and savor the words of the Savior. Listen as He says, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father's hand."
In this world where nothing seems secure and everything seems unsure, Jesus speaks in absolutes. His words have no exceptions, no exemptions, no excuses.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may the Savior's sacrifice grant me the peace that passes all human understanding. This I ask in the Redeemer's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries