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  • Chad Werkhoven

John 10:22-31 - In This Thought We Rest

Having stuff is good, but it's the thought that counts!


John 10:22–30 (NIV)

22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him...


39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.


Listen to passage & devotional:


Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 13: The Doctrine of God’s Providence

We believe that this good God,

after he created all things,

did not abandon them to chance or fortune

but leads and governs them

according to his holy will,

in such a way that nothing happens in this world

without his orderly arrangement.

Yet God is not the author of,

nor can he be charged with,

the sin that occurs.

For his power and goodness

are so great and incomprehensible

that he arranges and does his work very well and justly

even when the devils and wicked men act unjustly.

We do not wish to inquire

with undue curiosity

into what he does that surpasses human understanding

and is beyond our ability to comprehend.

But in all humility and reverence

we adore the just judgments of God,

which are hidden from us,

being content to be Christ’s disciples,

so as to learn only what he shows us in his Word,

without going beyond those limits.

This doctrine gives us unspeakable comfort

since it teaches us

that nothing can happen to us by chance

but only by the arrangement of our gracious

heavenly Father.

He watches over us with fatherly care,

keeping all creatures under his control,

so that not one of the hairs on our heads

(for they are all numbered)

nor even a little bird

can fall to the ground

without the will of our Father.

In this thought we rest,

knowing that he holds in check

the devils and all our enemies,

who cannot hurt us

without his permission and will.

For that reason we reject

the damnable error of the Epicureans,

who say that God involves himself in nothing

and leaves everything to chance.



It might give you a warm, fuzzy feeling to hear Jesus describe you as His sheep, but the context in which He spoke these words was anything but warm and fuzzy. Jesus isn't conversing with a group of truly curious people eagerly seeking the truth, but with representatives of the religious establishment trying to protect their turf.

Jesus drops several high powered theological bombs on them, telling these people straight up that they're not His sheep, so they'll never truly believe, and He ends by reiterating that He and His Father are one. This was the kind of 'blasphemy' the crowd actually wanted to hear, so they don't waste a moment in picking up rocks to stone Jesus with. This wasn't even their first attempt; John writes "Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones..."

What grabs our attention today is the security that Jesus' words here give to His sheep. You belong to the Father, and He's given you to Christ, and no one can snatch you out of either Jesus' or our Father's hand!

Jesus' words here describing God's providence are much more than just a abstract lesson. Jesus miraculously escapes "their grasp" even though their hell bent on stoning Him.

In the same way, you can trust that your Father's grip will always be stronger than the forces of evil in this world.

Dig Deeper

What a line our Confession uses here: In this thought we rest, knowing that our Father holds in check the devils and all our enemies. All of our expensive resources meant to provide us rest and recreation are good blessings that we ought to give thanks for, but always remember that true rest and peace comes through thought. Physical things certainly bring physical comfort, but full shalom can only come through the theology we read, hear, and think about that flows from God's Word.

You probably don't think you know any of the Epicureans mentioned in the Confession, but you do. While it's true that very few people attach that label to themselves any more, the strong emphasis on personal contentment, skepticism of religion's role in public life, and the belief in the centrality of human experience reflect a continuation of Epicurean influence in contemporary society.

In that all of these thoughts lead people from reliance on God to reliance upon themselves and luck, our Confession is right to harshly call this a damnable error. Don't fall for it! Find your rest in knowing that you are Christ's sheep, and are firmly gripped and guarded by your all powerful God!

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who is "greater than all";

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for His providential grip on your life and pray that more and more this thought will bring you rest and peace;



Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Matthew 2


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