“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28
John 10 provides much information about sheep and shepherds. The focus of this short study is the Shepherd’s voice. I recall reading about a group of shepherds gathering to water their flock. An observer asked how they could tell which sheep belonged to which flock. The answer came when they were rested and refreshed and the shepherds called out to their sheep. Very quickly the sheep divided into their various flocks simply by hearing their shepherd’s voice.
“… and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” John 10:3b
In John 20 we read that Mary (Magdalene) arrived early at the tomb of Jesus and found the stone rolled away. She told the disciples of her discovery. Peter and John rushed to the scene and confirmed her observation. John looked inside the tomb and Peter actually entered and saw the empty grave clothes. They left the scene but Mary lingered behind. She also stooped down and looked inside but now at the head and foot of the place Jesus had body had rested were angels. She spoke with them and with Jesus (supposing him to be a gardener). Through her grief and tears she did not recognize who she was talking with. But then she heard a single word – her name “Mary” (John 20:16). She immediately recognized Jesus and clung to him.
“…the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” John 10:4b
In 1 Kings 18 Elijah the prophet had a showdown with the prophets of Baal. He called down fire from Heaven and killed the false prophets with the sword. Following this great victory he was pursued by the wicked queen Jezebel. He found himself alone in the wilderness and cried out to the Lord to take his life. God sent him a messenger with food and instructions to go to Mount Horeb where found a cave for shelter. It is there that he met with the Lord and once more pleased his cause. The Lord instructed Elijah to stand upon the mount as He (The Lord) passed by. First there was a strong wind, followed by an earthquake, and then by a fire. Each time the phrase is repeated “but the Lord was not in the (wind, earthquake, or fire)”. But then came a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12), and this was the voice of The Lord.
“…And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice;” John 10:16
Perhaps you are like Mary. The Lord is close by but you do not recognize Him. Or could it be that like Elijah you are looking for Him in the wrong places. Whatever may be your situation, The Lord may very well be speaking to you right now. Listen as He softly calls out your name and offers you the opportunity to live forever in His presence.
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish” John 10:28a