Bruner on John 10.27-38


“My very special sheep are [doing three things:] listening to my voice, and I am getting to know them experientially [they are experiencing me], and they are walking around with me. And I am giving them, in turn, [three realities]: deep, lasting Life, and they will never ever perish, and no one will ever snatch these people out of my grip.” We learn, here, several characteristics of Jesus’ True-Church people from this two verse (3+3) description of them:

1. They are the people who, first and most fundamentally, listen to Jesus’ voice.
2. They are the people whom Jesus is getting to know, experientially.
3. They are the people who are starting to walk with and to follow Jesus.
4. They are the people, therefore, who are receiving deep, lasting Life from Jesus.
5. They are the people who are given the special assurance of an indefectible security.
6. They are the people (he repeats for emphasis) who are forever safe in Jesus’ grip. …

The Johannine Jesus’ present description of his special sheep – his true Church – is deceptively simple. These people “do” three things, which are really the inhaling and exhaling of a living faith in any relation: They listen to Jesus’ voice, he gets to know them (i.e., they experience him), and so they start to walk with him. To these simplest of human responses, Jesus promises his two most personal gifts – getting to know you (or what John’s Gospel calls “Life”) and keeping care of you (safety or, theologically, salvation). This proposal is hard to turn down. Who would not want to live with a friend like this?

Frederick Dale Bruner, The Gospel of John: A Commentary (Eerdmans, 2012), pp.635-636,638