“My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:26–28 HCSB)
Jesus to his Jewish opponents.
He speaks of two destinies here: eternal life or perishing. The beauty of being one of Jesus’ sheep is that he promises here in very strong terms that he gives them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! Jesus uses an expression which in the Greek is a very strong negative. It looks like this: οὐ μὴ and Louw-Nida [super awesome Greek lexicon/dictionary] says that it is a marker of emphatic negation; ‘by no means, certainly not.’
A. Opeke points out the meaning of the word “perish”: apollymi [the word used for perish here] and apoœleia mean “definitive destruction, not merely in the sense of the extinction of physical existence, but rather of an eternal plunge into Hades and a hopeless destiny of death” [quoted in New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology].
So what Jesus means is that when he gives someone eternal life, there is no way that they will ever go down to eternal destruction in Hades, after all, he gave them eternal life and he has the authority and power to do so.
Breath-taking assertion isn’t it? I love the fact that Jesus never shied from throwing down claims like this. He wasn’t interested in small, minor statements at all. Nope, he was going to hit you with humongous, absolutely stunning pronouncements that could only come from someone who was crazy, who was lying, or who was speaking the truth. He left no room for any other possibility.