Jesus Says: My sheep Listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow Me. But are you His sheep? Yes, if you listen to His voice.
In the above verses Jesus talks about the nature of His relationship with His disciples. He compares it to a relationship that exist between a flock of sheep and their shepherd. So, what is the most outstanding characteristic of a relationship that exist between a flock of sheep and their shepherd?
It is –The shepherd knows each one of his sheep by name and they listen to his voice and follow Him.
As you know sheep is an animal that is very innocent, naïve and gullible; its basic desire is to follow the shepherd wherever he leads it. But though they are naïve and gullible, they cannot be fooled; in fact, they are very adamant in following their shepherd and will never ever listen to the voice of a stranger as they know their master’s voice very well.
So, definitely there is a very sensible reason for Jesus to compare His relationship with His disciples to the one that is between a sheep and a shepherd. Definitely in my understanding, there is no better relationship that can illustrate our relationship with Christ.
As you know there are many types of intimate relationships that we are familiar with; for e.g. the relationship between a servant and his master, the relationship between a boss and his employee, the relationship between a leader and his subordinates, the relationship between a student and his guru etc.
However, all these relationships are not as bonded and intimate as the relationship between a sheep and its shepherd.
So, let us look at some of the characteristics that make the relationship between a flock of sheep and their shepherd very unique.
- A shepherd enters the sheep pen through its proper gate – that means a shepherd never uses tricks and dishonest means to get the loyalty of his sheep.
- A true shepherd knows each one of his sheep personally; He knows each one by name – no sheep is unknown to him.
- A true shepherd always go ahead of His sheep; he never wanders away from the sight of his sheep; he is always visible to his sheep which gives them a sense of complete security.
- A true shepherd will lay down his life for his sheep if necessary. When the wolves come a good shepherd will not run away abandoning the sheep.
- The sheep listens to the voice of their master and follow him only.
- The sheep will not follow a stranger.
- The sheep has the ability to differentiate between a stranger’s voice and their master’s voice.
Well, now you know why Jesus uses the relationship between a sheep and a shepherd to illustrate His relationship with His disciples.
When we read John 10, we get a very clear picture of how Christ view his relationship with us, his children, who have been saved through His blood shed on the cross of calvary. As I said earlier, Jesus, the good shepherd, laid down His life for us – the sheep of his pasture.
However, when we examine our relationship with Jesus, we could find that; most of us do not behave like His sheep or treat Jesus as our Shepherd. Here, you might wonder why I make this statement; the reason is – our behaviour contradicts the behaviour of a genuine sheep.
In John 10, 27 – Jesus says – “My sheep listen to my voice and they follow me.”
Please read the above verse carefully – Jesus says – “My sheep listen to my voice and they follow me.” Here, “listen” means – “to obey” not the meaning that we normally infer when we use it in the context of “listening to music” or “listening to someone.”
So, when Jesus assuredly says – My sheep listen to my voice – he really means it and he is so sure about it. Furthermore, it also means that; we cannot be His sheep if we are not listening or obeying His voice. The most important characteristic of a sheep is:
It listens to the voice of its master and follow him.
So, the truth is – If we are not listening to our Master’s voice, then, we are not following Him either.
Here, you might wonder how someone normally listen to the voice of His shepherd Jesus: that is by reading the Word of God.
Jesus speaks to us through His Word; sometimes through His true servants too; who preach His Word faithfully without compromising the truth.
However, the reality in the Christian world is quite different from what we are taught to believe. Most of the Christians neither listen to the voice of Jesus nor follow Him. Instead many of them who claim to belong to the flock of Christ love to listen to the voice of strangers and follow them.
Please look around If you need evidence – you will find majority of the Christians living by false doctrines and traditions that contradict the Word of God – The Voice of Jesus. These Christians wander away from the faith and finally get exposed to the attacks of the enemy.
Sadly, the owners of those strange voices that mislead these sheep won’t be around to save them from the wolves as they are hired hands and not the true shepherds.
Saints; can you count how many have wandered away from their true shepherd called Christ by listening to the voices of strangers?
Can you imagine how many have fallen away from their faith because of false teachings?
Nowadays, we hear a lot of strange voices from the pulpits of the churches. These voices are not leading people to the absolute TRUTH but leading them into the paths of destruction. Unfortunately, the sheep sitting in the church pews cannot differentiate these voices from their Master’s voice as they are not familiar with their master’s voice.
Saints, let me ask you sincerely – the voices that you hear from the pulpit – The voices that teach you to disobey God’s Commandments; The voices that teach you to work for the food that is perishable; The voices that encourage you to pursue the pleasures and passions of this world.
The voices that condone and justify sexual immorality and divorce; The voices that justify the sinful lifestyle of a believer under the cover of Grace and Love etc; are they the voices of Christ?
No, they are not the voices of Christ. However, many of those who claim to be the followers of Christ, still follow these strange voices.
Saints; Jesus knows very well the ones that belong to Him; because they listen to His voice and follow Him. Yes, listening and following are the fundamental characteristics of a sheep that belongs to Christ.
You might be going to church on Sunday; or singing in the choir or teaching in the Sunday school or distributing tracts on the street; but these are not the genuine signs of a true sheep.
Remember what Jesus told those who claimed to be His sheep but never listened to His voice nor followed Him.
21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and, in your name, perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’( Matthew 7, 21-23)
Saints, we, as believers in Christ, need to listen to His voice and follow Him; then; we will be called the Wise Builders; the wise ones who built their spiritual houses on the solid Rock called Christ.
24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. (Matthew 7, 24-25)