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Sheep Hear His Voice

Lent 2022

Read John 10:1-21

1 “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. 3To 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?”

You likely have heard the comparison that people are like sheep. Sheep are dumb, dependent, defenseless and dirty. It is true that, in our sin, we are all those things. However, in John 10, Jesus calls us sheep for an entirely different reason. In this passage, sheep have discerning ears. Sheep become skittish and run when they hear voices they do not know. Not so when they hear the voice of their shepherd. That voice the sheep recognize and follow.

Jesus makes it very clear that he is the Good Shepherd. He is the voice to listen to and the one to follow. Many voices and messages bombard our daily lives. Jesus warns us to recognize the voices of those who mean us harm: hired hands who do not care, thieves and robbers, and worst of all, wolves seeking to devour us. Only one is the Good Shepherd who ultimately has our best interests at heart. How do we know? How can we be certain? If his words are not proof enough, then look at his actions. He does not run from danger or trouble. Jesus does not abandon his sheep out of self-preservation. He not only risks his life for the sheep, he already willingly laid it down on the cross.

Prayer: Lord, you are my shepherd. I know I shall not be in want. Watch over me that I may not wander far from you. Keep me safe in the sheepfold of your church. Amen.

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