"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them", says Jesus, "and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand." John 10:27-28
There seems to be many things to be fearful about in our world today, wouldn't you agree? In my ministry in New York, we had Bible studies on Wall Street down by the Twin Towers. When the planes flew into the buildings on 9/11, it was a neighborhood tragedy, as well as a national tragedy, for many people I loved and cared for. It seems like those kinds of fears are becoming more and more commonplace today too. With other recent attacks in France and in Belgium, with people gleefully celebrating the death of innocent people, life in this world seems to be cheaper than ever, doesn't it? And with that kind of disregard for others, violence and fear seem to be inevitable.
Terror, tragedy and fear have always been a part of human life to one degree or another. The Bible clearly says that such things are a result of human sinfulness and rebellion against God (the Bible says the wages of sin is death). When Jesus was confronted with a tragedy in His day, He got right to the heart of the matter with the people who were questioning Him. He warned those who gathered not to speculate about why this happened to the people who died. But, instead, He calls all people to personal repentance and faith so that the reality of this world's terror, sin and fear might not overwhelm them as well.
In our sermon yesterday, we talked about the truth that Jesus is the "Good Shepherd." It's an image of the love of God in action for you. The Shepherd protects His sheep, leads them out of trouble, brings them to life-giving pastures. He does all that is needed for their life, their health, their safety, with a voice the sheep themselves trust -- no matter what else is going on all around them.
All this shepherd/sheep talk is really about God ... for you talk. It's a metaphor of His love amidst the fearful realities of the day. It's an image of God in action for you when you feel like you are in the valley of the shadow of death itself. Actually, it's not merely a metaphor, it's a promise Jesus makes to all who put their faith in Him.
Listen again then to the voice of Jesus today:
* Jesus says, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them!" You and I matter to Him always!
* Jesus says, "I give My sheep eternal life, and they will never perish!" Jesus Himself is the Source, then, of our abundant life, to face whatever we're facing at the moment!
* And, when it comes to facing the fears and terrors of this world, our Lord and Savior makes an eternal promise to His people: "No one will snatch them out of My hand." Real security for life; count on it.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, there are fears -- real fears in this world. But you are a real Savior that calls for real faith that can overcome all those fears. Give us that kind of faith today, not only to trust You, indeed, so that we might do what is right, but to do all things in faith without fear. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"