Indeed, he loves his people; all his holy ones are in his hands. They follow in his steps and accept his teaching. (Deuteronomy 33:3)
Relate: I was probably not yet a teenager when I got into yet another all night theological debate with some baptist friends. I was attending a winter retreat at a Baptist camp and the speaker had spoken that night on eternal security. One of the other kids at that camp went to the same baptist Christian school as I did knew that I wasn’t a baptist and so back in the cabin when all of us should have been getting ready for bed he couldn’t resist sticking it to me with “so what do you think about that?” Of course, being the belligerent young man I was and knowing that I was never wrong or misinformed about anything I told him exactly what I thought about that.
Inevitably, every other camper and both the counselors got sucked in and soon we were all frantically looking up scriptures we could bash at the other side and thus prove our point. One of the counselor finally drew it to a close when one of the few of the boys on my side lost it and just yelled out, “Who are the sheep? Who are the F*ing sheep?” Well, I would be hard pressed at that point to say any of us were. We certainly didn’t look or sound much like sheep.
That boy’s voice rings in the back of my mind every time I enter into a discussion on this issue. Honestly, I rarely do get into it these days and would much rather discuss far more important matters (or debate far less). My usual response is to simply say that as long as we are passionately pursuing Jesus then we have nothing to worry about. If someone really does want to press the issue, I will simply ask, “who are the sheep?” In the same breath that Jesus says no one can snatch His sheep from His hand, He also says that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. If we aren’t listening and following after Him, what business do we have calling ourselves His sheep? If we are, like I said, we have nothing to worry about.
React: I think when we let ourselves get drawn into such theological points and debates we are missing the entire thrust of what Jesus was saying in John ten when He took Deuteronomy 33:3 and personalized it. God loves us and has us in His hand. Jesus loves us and has us in His hand. He is saying, “I am the One, True, legitimate Shepherd and I will do anything, anything, for my sheep. I love you and I’ve got you in my hands and I am not letting go.” If we could really listen and hear that truth, who would not want to follow such a Savior.
I am so deeply thankful for the Your faithful, enduring, all powerful, everlasting love. I am so grateful that You moved heaven and earth to be with me. You have me in Your hands and that is not so much a theological proposition as it is a confident assurance that I am safe in You. With everything I have let me hold on to You because You are holding on to me. With everything I am I will follow after You because it is Your love and strength that defines me.