Question: "What did Jesus mean when He said, "No one can snatch them out of my Father's hand" (John 10:29)?"
Answer: At the Festival of Dedication, the Jews asked Jesus to tell them plainly if He was the Messiah. His response was not “Yes” or “No” but rather, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me” (John 10:25). But then Jesus continued with a reason why they did not believe: “You do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:26–30).
Jesus states that the eternal life He offers is permanent. He holds His sheep—believers—in His hand, and no one can snatch them out of His hand. Jesus’ sheep were given to Him by the Father, who is greater than all and who also holds the sheep in His hand. No one can snatch believers out of the Father’s hand, either. Believers are eternally secure, held by the power of God.
In an extended metaphor, Jesus compares believers to sheep. A sheep without a shepherd can easily be snatched from the fold. “To snatch” refers to attacking, scattering, and stealing sheep like a wolf (John 10:12). There are people who claim to have truth but are really seeking to deceive believers (Matthew 24:5). The devil is described as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8) and as a thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Yet believers are part of Jesus’ flock and cannot be taken away by spiritual wolves, lions, or anything else because Jesus is the Good Shepherd protecting His sheep (John 10:11). Those who belong to Christ are safe from anyone or anything seeking their destruction: no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
Jesus is God, and no one can take the sheep out of Jesus’ hand, either (John 10:28). Romans 8:38–39 assures us, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Absolutely nothing can separate a child of God from the Father’s love, and absolutely nothing can take that believer’s salvation away.
A believer’s eternal security is purchased by Christ, promised by the Father, and sealed by the Holy Spirit. It is given and maintained by God’s hand, and it is permanent and irrevocable. The eternal life granted by Jesus to His “sheep” cannot and will never be stolen, revoked, or lost. A Christian who has trusted in Jesus Christ as the Savior is declared righteous before God for all eternity (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Romans 5:1) and cannot lose his salvation. The Good Shepherd protects His sheep and ensures that no one and nothing snatches them from the fold.