The Hand of God
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” (John 10:27-33)
Jesus had claimed to be the Good Shepherd who would give His life for the sheep (John 10:11) and in doing so, would impart unto all who would believe eternal life. Eternal life, in the sense that they should never perish. They were safe and secure in the hand of the Saviour from whence they could never be plucked. The Pharisees knew the exact verses Jesus was referring to and sought to stone Him, for these Old Testament Scriptures were in reference to the Lord God. And if any were not sure of His claim to Deity, He confirmed to His listeners saying, “I and my Father are one.”
First off, He is the Good Shepherd. Who is the Good Shepherd? “The LORD is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1). Who is the Good Shepherd? “Our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20). Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11, 14). In the plainest of terms, He identified for them that He was the Great Shepherd of the sheep, and “is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” (Hebrews 7:25). Jesus said, all that “cometh to me I will in no wise cast out… [and] I should lose nothing” (John 6:37-39). He said they, “shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
Again, the Pharisees knew exactly what He was saying. Consider what the Psalmist said concerning Jehovah's sheep, “the LORD upholdeth him with his hand... and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever” (Psalm 37:23-28). Moses and the prophets spoke the same thing. “The LORD... he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand” (Deuteronomy 33:2-3). “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand...” (Isaiah 40:9-12).
Yes, the Pharisees knew exactly what Jesus was saying, and took up stones again to stone Him saying, “that thou, being a man, makest thyself God” (John 10:33). This was not the first time they sought to stone Him. Jesus previously told them, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him” (John 8:56-59). Abraham lived more than 2000 years before Christ, but Jesus claim, “Before Abraham was, I am”, drove them to a pious and religious frenzy, and they sought to stone Him. To claim that He was the “I AM”, not only pre-existing Abraham, but the self-existing One, the One who had neither “beginning of days, nor end of life” (Hebrews 7:3), the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending... [the] Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 1:8, 4:8), they just could not grasp nor handle.
The Pharisees had no problem so much, with the miracles that Jesus performed, and that, perhaps He was a prophet. After all, some of the prophets of old were used of God to perform mighty miracles, like Elijah and Moses. Even Nicodemus, who was himself a Pharisee, said, “we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” (John 3:2) Nicodemus was likely thinking of what Moses said, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken” (Deuteronomy 18:15). He was like Moses, but He was much more than a Prophet. What they could not wrap their head around was the fact of Jesus claim to Deity, that He was God manifest in the flesh. And today is no different. “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 1:7). Nevertheless, there were always those who have confessed concerning Jesus saying, “we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:69).
Jesus is the Word of God who became flesh. He is the Creator (John 1:1-3, 14). A body was prepared for Him in which to tabernacle, and therein, veiled in human flesh, He entered the world which He made (Hebrews 10:5). This is the problem that most cults have today, that God would take on the form of human flesh, be “made in the likeness of men”, and “give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28), so that it could be said, “God… hath purchased with his own blood” the church (Acts 20:28). And this He did when “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).
Yes, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This is “the glorious gospel of the blessed God” (1 Timothy 1:11). Christ paid for our sin debt in full, dying on the cross. On that cruel cross, the hands of the Saviour were pierced, but even those nails could not pluck His sheep from His hands. Instead, the shedding of His blood satisfied the just demands of God against sinners, “being put to death in the flesh” (1 Peter 3:18). God then “raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God” (1 Peter 1:21). This is the Good News for destitute sinners who understand that death and separation from God is their just reward. Christ having died for our sins, made us free from the law of sin and death. In Christ, death has no more dominion over us for He died for our sins, and was raised for our justification.
The Bible tells us, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16) The mystery of the incarnation was hidden from the foundation of the world but in due time, revealed to the church. God was manifest in the flesh, uniting Deity in human flesh wherein the Son of God became the Son of man. And for “this purpose was the Son of God manifested, to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). The devil “had the power of death” (Hebrews 2:14), but “through death” Christ would destroy him, but not only that, redeem lost sinners, whom He came into the world to save.
We all were “alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in his sight” (Colossians 1:20-21). By death, “our Saviour Jesus Christ ... hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10). God must become man to die for man, and so we are told, “that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). Our sins were imputed to Christ. He bore our sins in His own body on the tree where He died for the sins of the world.
But that was not the end, He was quickened by the Spirit, and raised from the dead. He was justified in the Spirit, He lived an absolutely holy and spotless life, and although He died for our sins, paying our debt in full, He was acquitted, vindicated and raised from the dead and received up into glory. No sin can enter heaven, but He was received up into glory assuring us that every last sin was taken care of, none withstanding.
The prophet Isaiah said that God “shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11). Having satisfied the justice of God, He raised Him from the dead. He was justified in the Spirit, "And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:39).
Furthermore, we are told, “if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:11). Christ has become our Surety, and if we will receive Him as our Saviour, if we will believe on Him, we too shall be saved from sin and death, and receive the gift of everlasting life. When we believe the gospel, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, the Spirit of Christ dwells in us and we are “born again”, “born of God”, and by adoption, become a child of the living God.
Sin was not original to this world. The world was “very good” in the beginning, but by our father Adam, sin entered the world, “and death by sin” and like a great plague, “death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). The prophet Isaiah said, “we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:3). We can learn from the leaf, how it appears to be green and vibrant at its start, but how soon it is wrinkled and withered and before long turned back to dirt. “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away” (1 Peter 1:24). How soon life is gone. As the old saying goes, Here today and gone tomorrow. And some sooner than expected. “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).
Because of sin we die and are separated from God and this life. Life is so soon over and then eternity. Where will you spend it? It all depends on what you have done with Jesus. The Bible tells us, “Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you...” (Isaiah 59:1-2) Sin is our big problem. Sin is what separates us from God. The Bible tells us that “nothing that defileth” (Revelation 21:27) shall enter into heaven, and sin “defiles” (Matthew 15:10-20). Because of the defilement of sin, “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6).
But today, you can believe the gospel and have the hope of everlasting life. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24) When someone dies, it is usually said, "He passed away", but today you can pass from "death unto life". Jesus said, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:40, 47).
There is only one alternative if we neglect or reject so great a salvation. “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:26-29)
God loves you, He has done everything for you, He sent His very own Son to die for you, but left the choice in your hands to trust Him as Saviour. As Moses told the children of Israel long ago, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days…” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). While the choice is in your hands, eternal security can only be found in the hands of God our Saviour. Will you “commit the keeping of [your] soul to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19)? Believe the gospel today and entrust your life into His hands. He promised, “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Choose wisely, choose LIFE today and receive Jesus as your very own and none shall ever be able to pluck you out of His hand. And in that glorious day when we shall see Him face to face, we shall know Him by the nail prints in His hand, and like Thomas, bow down and confess Him as my Lord and my God.