I Give Them Eternal Life
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: The scene changes in John’s Gospel with Jesus at the Feast of Dedication, but the theme from the previous passage remains the same. People want a clear statement from Jesus as to whether or not He is (or claims to be) the Messiah. Jesus has already affirmed His identity as such, and His works are sufficient to back up His claims. However, as He points out, those who do not believe do not belong to the redeemed people of God even though they have a strong religious background. Using shepherding imagery once more, Jesus claims that His sheep hear His voice, follow Him, and know Him. As the good shepherd of the sheep, He gives eternal life to them, and no one can snatch them out of His Hand. Moreover, God the Father also prevents the sheep from being taken away from the Shepherd such that the Father and Son are the source and security for all who are saved. This brief dialogue from long ago provides key insights today about the nature of salvation and the security of all true believers in Christ Jesus.
01. Eternal life is available to all who call upon the name of the Lord in repentance and faith; by definition, it cannot end, and by the power of God, it will not be taken away.
02. Eternal life begins the moment we call upon the name of the Lord in repentance and faith; but our assurance can be weakened, and the Christian faith can be counterfeited.
03. Eternal life describes God’s commitment to us more than it describes our commitment to God; He may allow us to experience trials and doubts of various kinds, but He will never let us go.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. The Feast of Dedication is not mentioned or proscribed in the Old Testament, but John uses it as a historical reference to the events taking place at the time. With Jesus moving ever so closer to the cross, note the tension in the conversation between He and the Jews. How does this tension seem apparent in verse 24?
2. Jesus’s response to the question in verse 24 comes in two parts. First, He did tell them that He was the Christ; and second, He did many works that backed up His claim. Try working your way back through John’s gospel to highlight the occasions when Jesus revealed His true identity and when He performed a miracle (or sign) that backed up His claim. How can you use both the claims of Jesus and the works of Jesus to share with unbelieving family and friends that Jesus is, in fact, the Son of God?
3. Why does Jesus tell the Jews who are questioning Him that they are not among His sheep? Since they were Jewish by birth, aware of God’s commandments, and participants in festivals proscribed in the Old Testament, what did they still lack? See Romans 9:1-18 and Galatians 3:10-14 for further insight.
4. How does the shepherding imagery assist us in understanding the faithfulness of God in keeping His flock safe from harm? Are sheep able to defend themselves well against predators? What other passages of Scripture affirm God’s faithfulness in keeping His promise to grant eternal life to all who truly trust in Christ?
For Further Reading: Robert Peterson, Our Secure Salvation: Preservation and Apostasy (P&R, 2009)