“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.” (John 10:28-29)
Before Jesus made the statements in our text from John chapter 10, the Pharisees had surrounded Jesus and demanded that he tell them whether or not he was the Christ. The passage above was part of Jesus’ answer. (If you’re interested in learning more about the previous part of this debate, see the previous post from the book of John: Insubordinate God)
“I Am Trash”
One day Kawika Haglund was walking behind the cafeteria at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California where he was a student. He saw something move as he passed by a dumpster and decided to check it out. As he peered over the edge he saw a man with long straggly hair curled up under some cardboard. Kawika began conversing with the man when the man stopped himself in mid-sentence and said, “Look at me, man. I am in a dumpster. I am f—— trash.” He kept repeating this again and again. (Haglund)
The man in the dumpster reasoned that because he found himself in a dumpster surrounded by trash, then, he must be trash. We can think like that sometimes. When we sin we can feel like trash. When we lose someone we love, even when it’s not our fault, we can feel like trash. When we lose a job we can feel like trash. When we’re broke, we can feel like trash. When we fail we can feel like trash. Or, we might feel like a dumpster load of trash has come our way recently, causing us to feel like our life has been trashed.
But Kawika looked the man in the eyes and said, “Brother, you are not trash. That is a lie. God loves you. Jesus came for sinners, the lost, those in the trash.” He might have also said that God came for those who feel like right now their life is trash.
Giving us eternal life in heaven is an amazing testimony of Jesus’ love for us. But that’s not all there is to the story. God didn’t just wave a magic wand to give each of us eternal life with Him in heaven.
What happened was God sent His son. His good kind and merciful son. His beloved son. God sent His only son from the best possible place, from His intimate presence in heaven, to earth. To earth, where Jesus was mocked and hated by the religious leaders of his day. Where one of his disciples would betray him. Where all of his disciples would desert him. Where another of his disciples would deny he ever knew him. Where he would suffer such anxiety that he sweat great drops of blood. Where there would be six attempts on his life, the last of which was successful.
Where he would bear the weight of the sins of the whole world, including your sins, and mine.
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed . . .” Jesus said.
The Son of Man had to suffer, and his suffering included his hands. The same hands that hold you for eternity were pierced for your transgressions. “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands . . .” Isaiah 49:16 says.
He did all that out of love–for you.
He endured all that suffering out of love–for you.
He knowingly left his Father and faced all those horrors here on earth out of love–for you.
He will reach down with his hand, that hand that was pierced out of love for you, and he will pull you up out of the trash–if you’ll just open yourself up to his love.
That’s how much Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that no one will snatch you out of his hand.
That’s how much God loves you. His love is so secure that no one is able to snatch you out of the Father’s hand.
Jesus loves you.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39) For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)
Kawika Haglund, The Voice Of Love, 2016
Image of dumpster via Caterina Fake – Creative Commons