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John 10:22-30

“A Relationship That Will Never Be Taken Away”


I want to start with something funny. I read this story on an internet site: One day, a little girl is sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly notices that her mother has several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast to her brunette hair. She looks at her mother and inquisitively asks, “Why are some of your hairs white, Mum?” Her mother replied, “Well, every time you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.” The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then asked, “Mumma, how come all grandma’s hairs are white?”

Today is Mother’s Day. We have memories of our mothers. Some are sad; some are joyful. Even though we are aging, we still miss our mothers. A relationship between a mother and child will never be taken away, if it is a good relationship. The memories about our mothers sometimes come to a corner of our hearts as regretful or grateful stories. What kind of memories comes to your mind on Mother’s Day? These tissue flowers come to my mind first in a mingling sense of gratitude and regret every Mother’s Day. I am thankful to my mother for her scarifying and loving care for me, and I am regretful that I should have listened more to her well and been a better daughter. Since I learned how to make tissue flowers in school when I was 9, I made tissue flowers for my mother and father every year. Korea has a “Parent’s Day” on May 8th. I used to make two flowers every Parent’s Day for my mother and father. I also gave a present to my mother and father along with the flowers. The presents I prepared for Parents Day were handkerchiefs. I wished they would wash out my mother’s tears and my father’s sweat. It was the best way I could express my love to them. My mother told me that I was the only one among her five children to give her flowers and gifts on Parent’s Day when we were children. Of course, my siblings gave my parents much better gifts than I did when they became adults.

What kinds of presents do you expect from your children? You may say, “Well, I wish they would grow healthy. That’s enough.” My younger sister said, “I think money is the best present. When I gave money to my in-laws, they looked happy.” I asked her again, “What about you? What do you expect from your children?” She said, “Well, I wish they would come and visit me as often as possible.” I think the best present children can give is to be present in their parents lives. You may be happy when you see them face to face. One of my friends, who has grandchildren, said, “You know, when they don’t visit me for a long, I miss them and wait for them to visit me, but when they are staying with me, I wish they would go home soon.” There is a saying, “if your grandchild come to you, you are happy, but if your grandchild is back at their place, you are happier than when they came.” A relationship between parents and children is special and will never be taken away whether they have a good or bad relationship because they are connected with DNA, blood and/or love, which is a deeper connection than the DNA or blood.

Today’s scripture tells us about another relationship that will never be taken away. It is a relationship between God and those of us who believe in Jesus Christ because the love of Jesus Christ connects us. God and all of us are connected by the blood and the love of Jesus Christ as if it is a relationship between a mother and her child.

In today’s scripture, it is the season of the Feast of Dedication, which can be called “Hanukah.” Jewish Hanukah is held 25 days in December (winter) to celebrate for recovery of the Temple of Jerusalem. While they had a festival at the Temple, they thought of their Messiah and when the Messiah would come. The people asked Jesus to clarify if he was the Messiah because they were confused seeing Jesus’ miraculous works and suspected him after hearing his teachings. They were suspicious of him as the Messiah, but they didn’t believe in him. Their intention in asking him was to stone him (John 10: 31), not believe in him. Jesus knew their purpose well and said to them, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me, but you don’t believe because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I gave them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Jesus used the metaphor “shepherd and sheep” for a relationship with Jesus Christ and believers. You may hear that sheep notice their shepherd’s voice and follow only their shepherd as if a baby notices their mother’s voice, smell, and gesture. A baby may know who loves them. As a relationship with a mother and her child will never be taken away, a relationship with Jesus and us will never be taken away. No one can ever be taken away from Jesus Christ because God the Father, who is greater than all else, has given us to Jesus Christ. No one takes us away from God the Father’s hand because God the Father and Jesus Christ are one God (John 10:27-30). In addition, Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish” (John 10:28). This verse reminds us of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

The good news is that the love of God is open to everyone, and God wants everyone to get an opportunity to hear that God loves them, whether they are poor or rich. Perhaps, among the many people who have listened to the good news, some may not believe in him as the people in today’s scripture didn’t believe in him. Nevertheless, we should proclaim the good news to everyone regardless of age, gender, social or ethnic background, and boundaries. Remember the Prophet Isiah’s proclamation, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19). The good news is Jesus came to the poor as their friends, to the blind as the Healer, to the captive as the Liberator, and to the oppressed as the Advocator. If whoever believes in Jesus Christ, no one can make them separate from the love of God in Jesus Christ because the blood of Jesus Christ connects them to the love of God.

Now I want to ask you, “Can you hear Jesus’ voice to love God and love others? And do you follow Jesus Christ?” If you do so, you are in a relationship with Jesus Christ that will never be taken away. Thanks be to God. Amen!