“To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” Gospel of John chapter 10 verses 3-5.
In this parable Jesus presents himself as the Great Shepherd. The Shepherd knows the sheep. He knows each one by name. This is said to have been a fact among shepherds and their sheep in Jesus’ day. Shepherds knew each sheep individually, even in large herds.
The disciples of Jesus are referred to as sheep. The sheep know the Shepherd’s voice. They know both his sound and his words. The sound of his voice is not uncertain or unclear, not weak and frail, not quivering and undecisive. It is clear, strong, sure, and decisive. Upon hearing the recognizable voice of the Shepherd, they will follow him. He goes before them to lead the way. He does not drive them like cattle. He leads to pick out the safe and secure way to the pasture. The sheep know they can trust the Shepherd, so they follow him knowing they are perfectly safe and secure.
As a believer in Christ, are you listening to the voice of the Shepherd as he wants to lead and guide your life? Do you recognize his voice above all the others?
As a young pastor many years ago, I had the opportunity to be the pastor to a dear elderly couple who were very faithful church members. The man was losing his eyesight and even though he was still driving we were all very concerned about his safety. We expected to hear of him having a traffic accident but fortunately that never happened. Fifteen years later I was in the area where he lived and decided to pay him a visit. It was in the spring of the year and when I drove to his house he was sitting outside in his lawn chair. He was now almost totally blind. Getting out of my car, I called out to him. He lifted his head and said, “Is that you Brother John?" No doubt this man had heard me preach a hundred or more sermons, but he recognized my voice even though he could not see me.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28.
You have the opportunity today to listen to and follow the leadership of the Great Shepherd. Will you make that commitment?