Hearing is an essential part of how we communicate and refers to “perceiving sounds.” Each person has a distinctness in their voice. Have you ever heard someone talking at the store and instantly recognize the voice? It’s because you have heard it before and know that person from constant contact and previous conversations. Other times I may hear a familiar voice but have a difficult time deciphering what was being said due to other sounds interfering. The AM/FM dial radios were like that. I knew the program that I wanted to listen to, but trying to get “tuned in” was the task, to get rid of the other interfering voices drowning out the station.
Spiritually speaking, God is still speaking today. Paul said in Romans 10:17 that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” How many of us know God, because we are hearing God? Not only hearing, but listening, perceiving the words, and applying the words to our hearts? How well we listen to God effects how well we are “tuned in” to God’s word. We may not know Him as we should because of the other distractions and interferences in our life, resulting in us not being as established in the faith (cf. Colossians 2:6,7) as we should.
In John 10, Jesus uses the words “knowing” and “hearing.” In the first few verses, Jesus provides an illustration of sheep with a shepherd. The sheep hear the voice of the shepherd and the sheep follow the shepherd, because they know the shepherds’ voice. In this text and in this illustration, Jesus is being descriptive of Himself! Jesus spoke of a “sheepfold” in verse 1 which is “a walled enclosure, or high fence made with stakes with only ONE door or gate.” Jesus said that “he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep” (10:2).
In verse 3 Jesus brings out an intriguing illustration. In researching “shepherding,” I came across a video where there were several who attempted to call the sheep to them, but one by one the “strangers’ voices” that called did NOT get even an inkling of attention from the sheep. However, when the true Shepherd called out to the sheep, the sheep immediately recognized His voice and came to Him. Think about what Jesus is illustrating in the text. The shepherd, Jesus, comes and calls his sheep. His sheep will know His voice and FOLLOW Him! (10:4) My friends, for us to be established is to know Him, and to know Him is to hear His voice!
In John 10, Jesus is making a distinction between those who know Him and those who don’t know Him! When you consider the chapter prior, John 9, Jesus is found telling a blind man to go, wash in the pool of Siloam, and the blind man did as Jesus said and in the blind man’s obedience to the voice, the words of the Savior, he came back seeing (9:7). Jesus is now found here in John 10 addressing the religious leaders, the Pharisees who were NOT hearing the voice of Jesus. In 10:7-10 Jesus makes it clear that only those who enter by Him will be saved. Only those who hear His voice, heed His words, and obey Him will gain spiritual life and nourishment (10:10).
The true sheep that know Jesus, the loving Shepherd only listen to His voice, and scurry from those who Jesus called “strangers” (10:5). Just as in that video, the sheep were only attentive to their shepherd’s voice! He knew His sheep, and His sheep knew Him! Again, the true Shepherd calls His own sheep by name and leads them out (10:3). What Jesus says in verse 3 is indicative of having a personal and meaningful relationship! Jesus knows us! It is sad to see that in verse 6 that the Pharisees did NOT understand what Jesus was saying. Although they could physically see, they were spiritually blind! They may have thought they had it all figured out, but they didn’t! Remember what Jesus said, Jesus calls his own sheep by name and leads them out… the shepherd leads and the sheep that know His voice, follows Him ever-so closely!
In verses 11-16 we get a very clear picture of the intense love that Jesus, the loving Shepherd has for His sheep. Jesus is telling us, it’s not enough to simply quote John 3:16, and simply be able to give some facts about Jesus. Jesus is speaking about relationship! Jesus says this relationship with Him should be like the relationship He has with His Father! Remember, that Jesus, though He were Son, yet learned He obedience (cf. Hebrews 5:8,9). Jesus didn’t simply acknowledge that His father God existed, rather He obeyed His Father’s voice and will! Jesus was not just giving His Father God a little bit of His heart, He was giving His whole heart! He heard His Father, was attentive to His Father, listened and obeyed His Father! He knew His Father & His Father knew Him!
If you want to know the Shepherd, you have to spend time with the Shepherd! We have to hear His voice, listen to His words, and follow Him (John 10:27). We have to establish our faith in Him (Colossians 2:6,7), which means that we are growing, abounding in the faith, rooted, built up in Christ, which is about a relationship! It’s not just about showing up on a Sunday morning, it’s about always being attentive to the Shepherd’s lead. Jesus gave His life, he laid His life down for His sheep. There are many today who claim to be His sheep that are not listening to the Shepherd.
My friends, Jesus as the loving Shepherd desires a relationship founded upon faith; wherever He leads, we will follow. If you know and follow Jesus, the loving Shepherd, He will keep you. The problem comes when we allow the interferences of this world to distract us and are no longer listening for the Shepherd’s voice. John 10 says “no one be able to snatch us out of the Lord’s hand”, and such is true, however we can decide to wander away from the fold. Jesus talks about that as well as He related in the telling of the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15.
In closing, D.L. Moody told of a friend, who was traveling in the East, and had heard that there was a shepherd who still kept up the custom of calling his sheep by name. He went to the man, and said: “Let me put on your clothes, and take your crook, and I will call them, and see if they will come to me.” And so he did, and he called one sheep, “Mina, Mina,” but the whole flock ran away from him. Then he said to the shepherd: “Will none of them follow me when I call them?” The shepherd replied: “Yes, sir, some of them will; the sick sheep will follow anybody.”
Sad to say that this is a truth, not only physically as the shepherd in the story relates, but yea even spiritually! Are you tuned in to hear God’s voice? My friends, Jesus, the loving Shepherd is calling, His voice is beckoning for you and me to continue following His words, listening and obeying the words that bring us closer in that relationship with Him, with His Father, to be established in the faith!
Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 🙂