Who is Your Shepherd?
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one—John 10:27-30.
In John 10:27, Jesus the Good Shepherd includes three significant parts of His day-to-day experiences with His flock. He said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Jesus didn’t say these words out in a field during a casual summer afternoon; He spoke them with authority in the Temple, surrounded by people who were divided about His identity.
John 10:20–21 tells us, “Many of them said, ‘He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?’ Others said, 'These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?'” Jesus’ teaching caused division. Some wouldn’t listen to Him, but others were captivated by His words. When this mixed crowd confronted Jesus, He sorted them neatly into those who were His flock and those who weren’t by saying, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Are you one of His sheep? Jesus’ words invite us to consider our relationship with Him. In fact, Scripture urges us to “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). A great place to start is to use His three phrases, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me,” to monitor if we are in the faith and in the flock.
Do you hear His voice? Sheep recognize their shepherd’s voice because they know him. Does the Lord speak to you through His Word? If you find yourself increasingly familiar with what Jesus said and eager to think about and obey Him, you are living in the flock. If you can’t honestly hear His voice, you have to decide if you’ve wandered off and need to return.
Does Christ know you? A shepherd can pick out his sheep from a mixed flock. But knowing is more than recognizing—it's love, intimacy, and transparency. Are you comfortable with Jesus knowing everything about you? Do you welcome Jesus’ awareness the way David did in Psalm 139:1, “O LORD, you have searched me and known me”? Either He’s your Shepherd or He’s not.
Are you following Him? Recognizing the call to relationship and heart obedience Jesus expects ought to make us pause. Sometimes we have to confess, “I hear His voice, but I’m not always tracking with what His Word is telling me to do.” Becoming aware of your need for more direction actually means you are hearing Him.
Even people who have known Jesus for years admit, “I’m not following perfectly.” Jesus knows us, and He knows we can’t follow Him perfectly. In spite of that, He invites us to follow Him anyway—and provides His constant presence to help us do what we are incapable of doing on our own. This is why we call Jesus our Shepherd. He acts like and loves like the perfect shepherd even though we’re not perfect sheep. Talk to Him and listen to Him as your Shepherd today.
- If He has been your Shepherd, what aspect of hearing His voice or following Him is a particular challenge to you right now?
Lord, thank You for sending Your Son as my Shepherd. Thank You for showing me that as a good Shepherd, He laid His life down for me, in order to save me and provide forgiveness to me for my sins. Thank You that He lives to lead me today as I hear His voice and follow Him. And thank You for showing me ways I can hear and follow better! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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