Day 17: The Father Who Won’t Let Go


Today’s full reading is John 10:25-40

“No one will ever snatch them out of my hand. My Father who has given them to me, is more powerful than all, and no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
John 10:29-30

Read More


There is a lot of devotional wealth to be mined in these verses and there is a lot that can be said about the Father.

First. In this passage we’re given the assurance from Jesus that the Father is more powerful than all the forces that would try to snatch his sheep away. There is the reassurance that those under Jesus’ care will not be lost.

Jesus says ‘no one can snatch them from my hand‘ and then ‘no one can snatch them from my Father’s hand‘. Well, which is it? The answer comes — ‘I and the Father are one.’ Jesus and the Father are of one mind and heart in this regard. The sheep in his care will remain in his care. Case closed, matter settled.

Now, I have plenty of questions about this — especially in light of friends I’ve known who’ve walked away from God. Friends who it seems were ‘snatched’ from God’s hands. What about them, I wonder?

Questions like this are important but cannot easily be answered in a general Bible study like this, especially since in the Bible passage we’re looking at it’s not a question that is asked. The truth announced by Jesus here is that ‘no one can be snatched’ from his hand.

How we examine the lives and faith of others must not contradict that statement of his. Besides I’ve been a Christian long enough to know that ‘the end has not yet been written.’ I often say to people ‘God is good and by his grace, life is long’ — who knows what will happen in the future. Besides that, answers to these questions are found most commonly through prayer and reflection. For this morning’s devotion let us draw out from the text the truth about the Father revealed in these words:

  • The Father gives ‘sheep’ to the Son.
  • The Father is more powerful and greater than all.
  • The Father won’t let go of those in his hand.

He is a rescuing, generous, strong, active, protective Father. We also learn from Jesus that:

  • Jesus and the Father are one.

Is that ‘of one mind’ or ‘of one being’? The doctrine of God as Trinity is a tricky one to understand but the answer to those questions is found by looking at what happened next in the Bible passage: ‘they picked up stones to kill him.’ Whatever Jesus meant, his audience clearly understood him to be assuming a place of privilege that had up until now only been reserved for God. They heard the apparent blasphemy in what he was saying; the claim to divinity. Whether of one substance or mind, Jesus is claiming a harmony with God the Father that no human being has ever had before.


The Father is saving, loving, protecting and preserving the people he loves. We were once straying like sheep but now have returned to the shepherd and overseer of our souls.

The Father is my shepherd and the reason Jesus behaves so ‘shepherdly’ toward us is because he is ‘one’ with the Father.


Thank you Father. Thank you that keep us safe in your care, that you love me and have shown me great kindness. Today I choose to trust you and look to you as the one who is able to answer all of my deepest questions. Please help me to understand many of the big questions I can’t work out on my own. Amen.

Day 16: The Reason the Father Loves the Son


Today’s full reading is John 10:1-21

“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. This is the charge I have received from my Father.”
John 10:17

Read More


Jesus says the words ‘For this reason…’ when describing why it is that the Father loves the Son. I’ll be honest, these words jar in my mind. ‘For this reason?’ It sounds initially like Jesus is saying ‘this is the reason he loves me.’ which sounds like a love based on a job Jesus does. This is out of step with everything else Jesus has said about his father up until this point. So it can’t mean what I might initially think it means. In which case, what does it mean?

The thrust of the sentiment Jesus is conveying is more like: ‘this is what my Father loves about me…’ or maybe even ‘the reason for my Father’s love is because of how I trust him even to the point of laying my life down.’

The Father loves the Son and one of the main reasons for this love is because of the Son’s complete and utter trust in the Father. He is willing to obey him even when that obedience costs him his life. Who wouldn’t say ‘I love that about you?’ to someone who does that?

This is astonishing. The Son here shows a trust and obedience that means (in his case) death by crucifixion. Speaking, as he is here, a short time before his death, the Son clearly shows a single minded awareness of and compliance with his destiny.

He lays his life down because he loves the sheep, certainly; but also and most remarkably of all, he does it because he trusts his Father. Jesus was fully God, but he was also fully man. As a man he would quite likely have received his destiny to die simply from reading about it in the scrolls. He would have read Isaiah 53 and concluded ‘that’s me, that’s what I shall do and shall have done to me.’

Wonderful Jesus. Is it any wonder the Father is made up with delight over him? The Father loves the Son… and so do I!


The Son is glorious but the Father is utterly trustworthy. Jesus read about his destiny in the scrolls and didn’t deviate from it even though it would likely have been hard to do so. What is there in your life that you know the Father wants you to do? What habits is he asking you to give up? What people is telling you to love that you don’t want to?

Jesus trusted him because he is trustworthy. He hasn’t changed. You can still trust him today.


Father thank you for Jesus. Jesus thank you for the obedience to your Father’s plan you demonstrated. Holy Spirit please help me to trust my Father in the same way that Jesus did. I love you Father, I need you. I trust you. Amen.

Day 15: The Father Who Knows Me


Today’s full reading is John 10:1-19

“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay my life down for the sheep.”
John 10:14

Read More


Jesus speaks these words immediately after explaining that ‘bad shepherds’ (hired hands) run for the hills at the first sign of trouble. He, the Good Shepherd, (in contrast to the hired hands) knows his own and his own know him.

The contrast draws out the meaning of exactly what this ‘knowledge’ is.

When you truly know someone you can’t just up and leave them at the first hint of trouble. The knowledge that Jesus is talking about here is an intimate familiarity with someone. It involves commitment and belonging. In the Bible ‘knowing’ is a euphemism for having sex with them:

‘Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain’
Genesis 1:4

Jesus’s knowledge of us isn’t sexual of course but the euphemism helps all the same. Jesus knows (read: is committed to and joined with) his people and us to him — our fates are one and the same. Jesus knows me and I know him. In other words — he has looked into the depths of my soul and into the whites of my eyes and said ‘I’m never giving up’ and he has said to me in effect: ask me any question you like.

This is wonderful but it doesn’t stop there.

Jesus then reveals that the committed knowing, faithfulness and intimacy that he has with those he loves; he also has with the Father:

‘…just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.’


We are brought into the relationship Jesus has with the Father. The model Jesus uses for how he interacts with and knows his people is the relationship he has with the Father.

For as the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father, in that way the Son loves the church.


This is what the Father is like, imaged and presented to me in the form of Jesus’ sacrificial generous knowing of myself.

The Father loves with a deep, committed, familiar love. He loves without regard for his own well-being. He loves by laying down his life. He loves by not giving up or leaving when trouble comes. What a good God we have. How wonderful it is to be loved by him!


Father I am lost for words when it comes to expressing how grateful I am for you and your love. My brain cannot fully understand how rich and deep your love is. Thank you that in the way Jesus behaves toward me I see a picture of what you’re like. Please help me to know you more and to love you more today. Amen.

Day 14: The Alive and Life Giving Father


Today’s full reading is John 6:52-59

“As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.”
John 6:57

Read More


What can we observe about the Father from this short verse? Well, it seems to me that the word ‘live’ appearing three times offers us a clue. Jesus is trying to emphasise something about The Father. The Father he tells us is living, alive, and also the giver of life.

The first thing Jesus says about the Father is that he is ‘the living Father’. God is the living one. The Father is alive. He is the living one. That means that he’s not dead. He is active and involved and he is the source of life in all it’s liveliness. He provides life.

Jesus says ‘I live because of the Father’. Our second point to be made then is that the Father sustains the Son. He is the reason that the Son exists.

Such is the nature of God the Father. He is living but also life giving, to such an extent that Jesus could say ‘the only reason I live is because of him.’ This is more than saying ‘he’s my reason to live’ or, as we sometimes use the expression, ‘I live for it…’ Jesus is speaking literally:

‘I have life in my veins and breath in my lungs because of God the Father. He puts it there and ensures it stays there.’

God is the living Father, and the life giving Father.


Father? Come to him and have life in his name. When you get near this Father, when you receive his Son Life is the inevitable consequence. He is liked an overflowing fountain that if you get too close to you get drenched. The Father oozes life and as Christians we come to him and receive life in his name ad with his permission.

Praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead.


Thank you Father. What can I say? I’m in awe of you and I realise that so many of my thoughts about you aren’t accurate. Often I think of you as stingy and cruel or if not those things, then far off and distant. It’s not true, I see that. Thank you that you give me life, both kinds of life; temporal and earthly but also full and eternal.

Day 13: The Father Who Draws People to the Son


Today’s full reading is John 6:22-59

“Jesus answered them, ‘Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”
John 6:43

Read More


In this Bible verse we learn that the Father is both the gatekeeper of the Son and also the one who initiates salvation. What I mean is this:

  • God the Father draws people to the Son (‘No one can come… unless the Father… draws him’) and is therefore out and about in people’s lives bringing individuals to the Son.
  • The very fact that there is a salvation on offer at all is a result of God the Father sending the Son (‘The Father who sent me…’).

We have this strange double-idea in salvation. The Father draws people (and no one who comes to Christ comes unless the Father draws him), but also elsewhere Jesus says ‘I have come to seek and save the lost’ (Luke 19:10).

Jesus is looking for those that the Father is drawing to the Son. He is looking to see where the Father is working. There is a sense in which the Father and the Son are labouring together, each doing a distinct role. They are a partnership and team.

It is this relationship that we’re invited into.

So, we have seen:

  • It’s the Father’s desire that all who look to the Son for life are saved.
  • No one who comes, comes unless the Father draws him.
  • Jesus only ever does the will of the One who sent him.
  • Jesus is seeking and saving the lost.

The next verse says this:

‘Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.’
John 6:44

Once God the Father speaks to people they’re drawn to Jesus. It’s as though this is the inevitable outcome of being spoken to or taught by the Father.


The Father speaks and says ‘See my Son!’ or he speaks in such a way that we find ourselves lacking in satisfaction until we get to Jesus.

The Father who made all things could tell us any number of mysteries and perform any amount of wonders but his priority is to tell us about the Son. He wants us to learn from, be near to and be around the Son.

Do you see what the Father sees in the Son?

The Father always gives us what we need most of all and for him step one of a thousand mile journey must always begin with the Son. All other steps besides this one are missteps that will need to be repeated.

This Bible verse also gives me confidence and comfort. It gives me confidence that evangelism (the act of sharing the gospel) isn’t a fruitless endeavour since the Father wants people to come to him. It gives me comfort because I’m reminded that the reason I came to the Son and became a Christian was, in the first instance, because the Father willed it. The Father chose me, he chose you and he’s choosing those we live around, desiring that all of them and us see the Son as he does.


Thank you Father. Thank you for choosing me, for bringing me to the Son. Thank you that you found me and having found me you didn’t punish me; instead you punished Jesus in order that I might be free and forgiven and have life in his name. I love you Father and am so grateful for your calling of me.

Day 12: The Father Gives Eternal Life


Today’s full reading is John 6:22-50

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out… For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life.”
John 6:37,40

Read More


The Father gives to the Son and gives him people and those people receive life in Jesus’ name. Again we see both the Father’s generosity and his desire for people to have eternal life. But we also see how the Father’s highest delight is in the Son. Jesus says: ‘Look on the Son’, ‘believe in the Son,’ and ‘given to me [the Son]’.

We learn that Jesus will not and does not lose whom the Father gives to him. Salvation and eternal life are not just found in Jesus, they are secured in him as well. Jesus’ grip on those the Father gives him is secure and permanent.


This morning allow your minds eye to see the God who is Father. See the Father who is giving you rescue and new life, secure and true. See the Father who wants you to find rescue in Jesus. He wants for you to be safe and secure. He wants you to come to eternal life and not to lose it.

This is what he’s like. He’s a rescuing and protecting Father. In the words of an old hymn:

‘let me no more my comfort draw, from my frail hold of thee.
In this alone rejoice with awe, thy mighty grasp of me.’

Where is your confidence this morning? Is it in yourself to remain in Christ and so be saved by your own will and effort, or is it in him and his ability to keep hold of you? God doesn’t lose any who come to him for rescue, he’s not about to start now.


Father this is really good news. You’re a good Father, but I can also see that you’re a safe Father. You are strong and able to protect me and look after me. Help me today to trust you and celebrate the fact that you’ve not only saved me in the present tense but that you’ll save me in the final sense. You will keep me safe all the way. Thank you.

Day 11: The Father Who Provides Bread From Heaven


Today’s full reading is John 6:1-59

“Jesus said to them ‘truly, truly I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.”
John 6:32

Read More


Jesus taught his followers a model for their prayers by giving them what has become known as the Lord’s Prayer. That prayer begins with the words: Our Father in heaven… and goes on to request that God give us today our bread for the day.

God is the provider of all things. He gives us life and breath and clothing and food. Jesus points to this reality when he says ‘it was not Moses who gave you bread in the wilderness but my Father’.

In the Old Testament, in Moses’ day it was bread from the Father, in the form of physical food during the time of wilderness wandering (Ex. 16). Now, in this scene in John’s gospel, it is the true bread from heaven, the Bread of Life himself that the Father has given. The Father gives the gift of his son to us freely and gladly. He gives his son as a way of providing bread for the entire human race.


Today the daily bread I need most of all is Jesus. He is the one who satisfies my soul (‘as with fat and rich food’ Psalm 63) and it is he whom the Father has provided for me; for us.

This is what our Father is like. The Father of all life is generous, so generous in fact that he provided for all when he sent his son into the world.

In calling himself ‘bread’ Jesus is of course talking in metaphor, we aren’t literally going to eat his skin and bones. He is talking symbolically but he is speaking about a very physical and tangible reality. Our soul’s hunger can and is satisfied by him and him alone.

Have you ever experienced him filling your soul’s deepest need? The Son is here by his Spirit to comfort, strengthen, forgive and enrich. He is here to give our soul’s the feeling of being full to bursting. If you’ve never experienced him like that before, stop and ask him to do so today.


Thank you Father.

Thank you for every good thing in my life. Everything I have comes from you and is a gift given by you, the best of all and most satisfying of all gifts, is the gift of your Son. Please help me to seek my satisfaction in him today. So often I turn to other things to meet my deepest needs, but I know it’s you that I need most of all. Please help me. Amen.

Day 10: The Father Affirms


Today’s full reading is John 5:17-40

“But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.”
John 5:36

Read More


As I begin reflecting on this verse I’m reminded again how wildly different the revelation of God as seen in Jesus is from anything else in world religion. In Jesus we see a God who is a Father. This is really good news for us. Let’s walk through this verse together and look at what it teaches us about the Father:

‘For the works that the Father has given me…’

The Father has given the Son works to do and these works were different to the works John (the Baptist) did, they were specific and unique to Jesus. There was also a clear intention behind them. The works were designed to announce, to all who’d hear it, that Jesus was sent by the Father. The Father empowered and gave the Son authority to do the very things he called him to do. More than that:

‘…and the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me,’

The Father didn’t just send the Son and then step back leaving him on his own to try and convince people that he was the Son of God. No, the Father sent Jesus and also stood alongside him so to speak, testifying about him through the things Jesus did.


The Father ‘pays for what he orders’ (as I’ve heard it said elsewhere). He doesn’t tell us to do something and then not give us the tools for the job. The Father is generous in his provision. He fights for his people, defends them and justifies them. He doesn’t leave a person alone when he calls them to do something. He gives us what we need in order to do what he calls us to do; and he does call us to do things, just as he did for Jesus.

We can confidently affirm the following about the Father from this verse:

The Father enables us, provides for us and isn’t afraid to affirm us in public.

I include the word ‘us’ in the above sentence even though the verse in question has to do with Jesus. I can do this confidently because the Father never acts ‘out of character’ and so since Christians are adopted children of God, how he behaves toward the Son reveals how he behave toward all sons and daughters.

This ought to effect the way I approach the things I’m nervous about. The Father is my Father and my Father gives me all the strength and confidence and equipment I need to do what he puts in front of me. The apostle Paul said it well when he wrote:

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13


Thank you Father. You affirm me in public. In front of people, you stand by me saying ‘this is my son, whom I love’ and you provide me promising to give me all that I need. I want to live differently today in light of that truth. Please help me to remember this truth and live like it’s true today. Amen.

Day 9: The Father Who Honours the Son


Today’s full reading is John 5:17-33

“The Father judges no one, but has given all judgement to the Son, that all may honour the Son, just as they honour the Father. Whoever does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him.”
John 5:22

Read More


The Father is mentioned three times in this short verse and each one contains some glorious truth about who he is and what he’s like.

First of all. Think for a moment about how arrogant Jesus must have sounded when he first spoke these words: …that all may honour the Son… whoever does not honour the Son, does not honour the Father… when he mentions ‘the Son’ he’s talking about himself. Here is Jesus, a poor, wandering (often homeless), preacher from Galilee declaring that unless people honour him they’re not really honouring the Father. How can a mere man make a statement like this? Rather, I should ask, how could a man with the character of Jesus make a statement like this? We’re all familiar with mad men, or foolish men or deluded men making such claims but Jesus doesn’t fit into any of those descriptions. From the record of Jesus’ character revealed in the New Testament he was far from cruel, arrogant or deluded by visions of self-grandeur. Yet here he is making an outrageous claim to grandeur. Whatever are we to make of that?

I’ll leave that question hanging for the day, for you to consider. Let’s move on to consider the nature of the Father revealed in these words:

Jesus’ words reveal a Father who:

  • Is generous — ‘has given all judgement to the Son’.
  • Wants the Son to be prized and appreciated — ‘that all may honour the Son’.
  • Entrusts his Son with genuine responsibility — ‘has given all judgement to the Son’.
  • Desires to share his honour with his Son — ‘whoever does not honour the Son…’.
  • Sends the Son; there is a difference of roles within the Trinity being shown here — ‘has given…’.


The Father, then, is not controlling and cruel. He has relinquished, given up his right to or his role in, pronouncing decisive judgement over people. He has instead entrusted this to his son. Why? Is it because he can’t do it as well as Jesus can? No, not likely. Is it because his judgement wouldn’t be as accurate as Jesus’? No.

Jesus gives us the reason for it when he says that the Father wants the object of his delight (the Son) to also be the object of other’s delight and the way the Father goes about it (we’re told in these verses) is by making the Son the judge who judges over all the Earth.


I often think of judges and judging as being a negative thing but God doesn’t. The reason I do is probably due to both our society’s ‘anything goes’ attitude and also the inaccurate and impurely motivated judgements I’m too familiar with making. I judge others out of bad heart a lot of the time. But true righteous judgement isn’t a bad thing, in fact it’s very good.

Imagine being a Jew living in the first century AD. As a people they’re occupied by a foreign military, forced to pay extortionate taxes and have vivid memories of recent cruelty inflicted against their countryman and family members. For them judgement means the end of all this. Judgement means justice. It means cruelty gets punished and fairness gets established.

This beautiful and praiseworthy role (of being the one to bring about justice) the Father has given over to his Son. One day the world will marvel and delight in the good judgement of the Son of God. When this happens Jesus will be all anyone will talk about and in the celebration of it all we’ll perhaps remember this verse and marvel: the Father could have had all this honour and merrymaking directed at himself, but he’s given it to his Son. What a Father is he! The Father seeks his pleasure in his Son. How good, how glorious, how lovely is he!


Thank you Father that you are good. Thank you that you are life giving, that you share your glory with your Son. Thank you that you are the God of justice and will one day right every wrong. Today I choose to bow my knee to you, to trust you with my life. I know you can be trusted, now help me to do just that today. Amen.

Day 8: The Father Who Raises the Dead


Today’s full reading is John 5:19-29

“For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.”
John 5:21

Read More


As an example of the sort of ‘marvelling’ Jesus is referring to in verse 20 he makes this statement:

The Father raises the dead.

That’s sort of thing our Father does and will do.

Jesus is either referring to the examples in the Old Testament of people being brought back to life, or he is speaking in general characteristic terms as in — ‘he’s the sort of God who’s willing and able to raise the dead.’ Or else Jesus is speaking with the resurrection (both his and the final one) in view. Either way the statement can be trusted. God the Father raises people up from the dead, back to new life. Actually, I like the way Jesus puts it — ‘the Father raises the dead and gives them life.’ The Father isn’t just a wonder worker who causes corpses to walk around like something out of a zombie film. No, the Father has power over the grave but also a willingness to give life.

The way he puts it makes it clear that life is a gift given by a good God, a loving Father.


I often behave like I’m entitled to good health and a long life but verses like this one remind me that life is all a free gift of grace. I didn’t ask to be born, I did nothing to deserve life and I have nothing in myself that means I’ll carry on living tomorrow. I have no way of knowing that I’ll wake up again in the morning; how cheery. This all has the effect of making me both grateful for my life and also sobered about my own limitations.

We are like mobile phones disconnected from a power supply. Our life is running down every day. We live on borrowed life from the source of life himself. God is life and has life in himself. He is the sole possessor of life, everything else borrows from him.

Allow this to shape the way you approach your day today. Don’t be afraid of staring your own mortality in the eye reminding yourself as you do that up until now you’ve been in the hands of the life giving Father and tomorrow you’ll go on being in his hands. It’s his goodness that gives us confidence for tomorrow.

Let’s ask him to help us appreciate and enjoy the life he’s given us, receiving it as a gift and not as our due.


Thank you Father. Thank you that nothing is impossible for you, that you can bring the dead back to life; but thank you as well for the life you have given me today. Thank you that my life is in your hands and that I derive the meaning for my life from you as well. Help me to receive with gratitude all that you’ve done for me and continue to do for me today.