Read: John 10.1-14
There are so many awesome things in this chapter and really noteable and well known verses such as John 10.10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and the they might have it more abundantly.” That’ll preach. But for today, there are some other things I’d like to bring our attention to.
The chapter is opened up by a comparison to sheep and how sheep know their shepherd’s voice. Now this may not have any relevant meaning to us, but i believe it is always important to look at what Jesus was saying to the people with cultural lenses on. Remember that the people to whom Jesus was speaking with would have completely understood His references because it would have been a part of everyday life for them. I have a story that I hope with clarify how literally the “sheep knowing the shepherd’s voice” parable is.
I had a college professor who was previously a missionary to Israel. He told us that while he was in Israel, he was walking down a road at the same time as a shepherd that was leading his sheep. My professor thought of this passage of scripture and decided to try out and see if sheep really knew their shepherd’s voice.
He asked the shepherd to go up the road a short distance and call the sheep to him. Sure enough, they moseyed up the road to the shepherd. He then asked the shepherd if he could try the same thing. My professor went up the road and called the sheep… lo and behold, they did not move. He tried this back and forth with the shepherd a couple of times to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. But the sheep never did follow after my professor.
I love that story because it is a reminder that Jesus was speaking on a very understandable level for the people. He didn’t come to impress people with His knowledge and PhD, He came for real people. All that to say this… only those who truly belong to Christ will follow Him. Like the beginning of the chapter lays out, others may try to come and assume the shepherd’s position or take the sheep, but only the true shepherd will be followed and protect His own. John 10.11 says, “ I (Jesus) am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” and on further in verse 14, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”
Jesus knows His followers and cannot be tricked into taking those who aren’t His, just as no one can truly steal sheep from His fold. Sure, we may wander or lag behind, but we are still Christ’s and He won’t ever let us be lost to Him. Let us make sure that we are following Christ as our shepherd over all.