About 20 years ago I was very taken with the concept of ‘being in relationship with Jesus’. It was trendy at the time, and a bit fresh to Lutheran circles. Overtime, I came to see it all a bit schmalzy and ‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ like. There is definitely some substance to the concept of being in relationship with Christ (although not as boyfriend of course, despite the popular contemporary Christian song!!!). That said, Scripture is actually much more profound than this term can capture. A text like Galatians 2:15-21 sums up no less than our ‘union with Christ’ by his work (not ours). And today’s Gospel, especially John 10:27-28, describes the contours of this union. You see, it’s not an abstract concept, but a lived experience. ‘My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish’ (verse 27-28a).
Today we will unpack what it is to hear, know, follow, be given and never perish. While it’s relational, it’s given by God as grace and meets us in so many of the areas where conventional relationships fail. After all, ‘No one can snatch them out of my hand’ (John 10:29).