I hear because…

I hear because…

John 10.22–30 ESV

22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 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. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Jesus goes into the temple and spends time in Solomon’s colonnade.  This portion of the temple was meant for religious conversation, usually for teachers and the inquisitive.  It reminds me of the coffee shop at Erskine College where I attended school.  An old breezeway was converted into a place where students would sit and talk over coffee during certain hours of the day.  It ended up becoming a popular spot of Bible majors to gather and argue in a healthy way over all the many things we were learning.

For those in the temple that day, Jesus really put it to those who were struggling with His claim to be the Messiah, telling them that the followers of the Messiah are those who know the voice of the Messiah.  This implication is that they are not of His flock (something He soon tells them flat out).  If they don’t know and believe that He is the Messiah then they clearly aren’t His.

Sheep typically get a REALLY bad wrap, especially in sermons, for being stupid.  But to be completely honest, sheep are expert listeners.  They are able to hear the voice of their shepherd and distinguish it from the call of other shepherds.  Amidst all the chaos and competing sounds, they know what they’re listening for and recognize it instantly.

When I was a kid, my dad could whistle from our house and I could hear it houses and houses away.  I would play knights with my friends and hear my dad whistle and know that it was time to come home.  My friends would see my face and ask me what was wrong.  They didn’t believe that I had heard anything but I heard it.  Sure enough, I’d get home and there was my dad, standing at the top of the yard waiting on me.

We live in a world where there are competing voice everywhere.  They vie for our attention and often times cause us to struggle to hear the voice of God calling out to us.  But if we can familiarize ourselves with the sound of Jesus’ voice, then we can distinguish if from all the sounds.  There are so many means by which God speaks to us and we can trust them if we’ll get to know them.

Here’s a point-by-point summary of what I’m getting at:

“I hear the Shepherd’s voice because…”
1) …I know the Shepherd’s voice. I am familiar with Christ and His speaking because I have a relationship with Him. Through the Church, through fellowship, through the Scriptures, through my experience of Him by walking with Him—THIS is how I know the Shepherd’s voice.

“I hear the Shepherd’s voice because…”

2) …I am listening for His voice. My life is directed toward being open to Jesus and all that Jesus would have to say to me. I care about the relationship I have with Jesus and so I tend that relationship. I give it care, attention, priority. I put myself in a position to hear God’s voice through the way I live my life. I am listening through my worship, my prayers, my family, my job, and even through my community.

“I hear the Shepherd’s voice because…”

3) …I need to. I am nothing without my Shepherd—the One who loves me, who guides me, who protects me. I NEED to hear His voice and He has made that voice available in Jesus. If we will draw near to Him and His voice, He will draw near to me with His love and His grace.

Here are some questions to reflect upon this week:

1) What competing voices do I have in my life that make it difficult to hear the Good Shepherd calling?

2) When or in what way do I hear the voice of God calling out to me the loudest?

3) What means of “listening” to the Shepherd’s voice do I need to work on the most?

4) What 1 THING will I do THIS WEEK to hear Jesus calling?

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