4th Sunday of Easter
Reading I: Acts 13:14,43-52 II: Rev 7:9,14-17
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;
28 and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.
29 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.
30 I and the Father are one."
The context. Jesus was at the temple in the winter, at the feast of Hanukkah, which celebrated the reconsecration of the temple in 164 BC after a Jewish revolt against the Syrian domination. In v. 24 of this chapter, the Jews asked whether Jesus was the Messiah, meaning whether he would deliver them from foreign dominion again. What Jesus said here did not satisfy them, so they wanted to stone him (v. 31).
Shepherd was a title commonly used for the king or ruler of the people in ancient Mesopotamia and also in Israel. God Himself is called the Shepherd of Israel (Gen. 48:15, Ps. 28:9, etc.)
"My sheep hear my voice" (v. 27). Few people had their own sheep-pen, so different shepherds put their sheep together in the same pen each evening. Next morning, each shepherd would call his own sheep.
"I give them eternal life" (v. 28). Jesus is a special shepherd. Not only he knows and feeds his sheep, but he also gives them eternal life; not only a life, but "have [life] to the full" (Jn 10:10).
"From my Father's hand no one can snatch away" (v. 29). This supreme power shows that the Father is God, because the souls are in God's hand (Wisdom 3:1) and no one can snatch them from God's hand (Isaiah 43:13). So Jesus is the Son of God. Furthermore, he is also God, and has the same power to protect souls.
"The Father and I are one" (v. 30). This short verse expresses clearly he unity of power and operation, and led to the 4th-century Church doctrine of one divine nature in the Trinity.
The unity in verse 30 also binds all people together: "that they may be one, even as we (Jn 17:11).
One Main Point
The Trinity binds us together in love and gives us a full, eternal life.
Do I listen to the Lord's call so that I can follow Him and he can feed me?
Looking at my life, do I see how the Lord has fed and led me?
Am I united with all people, rich and poor, in all nations? Why, or why not?