“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
19 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
I was at a retreat in Gull Lake, MI this last weekend which is why I didn’t post. At the retreat my wife came in looking for me at breakfast and she couldn’t see me. I have a whistle for those moments and when she heard the whistle her head turned toward me and she immediately saw me. I came home last week and whistled as I entered the back door of the house. My daughter cried, “Daddy!” and turned to run to greet me. She then slipped and hit her head on the door frame. I felt quite bad about that.
My family know my whistle. It illustrates for me something about what Jesus is saying in the passage above. We should know Jesus’ voice. A familiarity with what sounds like Jesus and what doesn’t sound like Jesus should build up over time. Would Jesus’ voice tell us to murder someone? Is that in harmony with our relationship with him? No. However, yesterday the Catholic church said that they were wanting to soften their stance toward gays and show them more compassion. They were issuing a statement affirming the good in same-sex unions whilst saying that Gays may still not be married by the Catholic church. Christians are divided as to whether that sounds like Jesus.
We have scriptures given to us by God and we should be reading them. They reveal the nature of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Knowing them through divine revelation helps us to discern what impulses and thoughts throughout the day might be from Jesus and which ones might be from ourselves or from a tempter.
Help us to discern your voice in the busyness and clamour of our daily lives. Lead us next to still waters and let us lay down and rest, assured of your love and protection.
- How would the Old Testament inform the local people’s understanding of a shepherd?
- How would local shepherds have acted in Bible times?
- What does it mean that Jesus is a good shepherd?
- How does depression affect our ability to hear Jesus’ voice?
- How do you cultivate being able to hear Jesus?