Bible Verse: “When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (John 10:4)

Scripture Reading: John 10:1-18

Sheep are interesting creatures.

Their eyesight is pretty good – they can see behind themselves without turning their heads – however they have poor depth perception and can’t see immediately in front of their noses. They see best in the middle to long-distance ranges; it’s part of the reason they stick close to each other.

At the same time, however, sheep have incredibly good hearing. They are very dependent on this sense.

Furthermore, sheep are best known for their strong flocking and following behaviour. They will run from what frightens them and band together in large groups for protection. When one sheep moves, the rest follow, even if it is not a good idea.

Sheep also play “Follow the Leader.” Even from birth, lambs are taught to follow the older members of the flock. The dominant members of the flock usually lead. Sheep require a leader to follow for they will become highly agitated and stressed if separated from the rest of the flock.

Can you see why Jesus uses shepherd and sheep as a metaphor for He and his disciples?

In John 10:14-18 Jesus gives us a window into his relationship with the Father. In fact, he reveals that his relationship with us is the same relationship he has with the Father. He knows his Dad’s voice; it’s why he’s eager to obey. He lays down his life for us because the Father saw our scattered lostness and looked for a solution. God himself would rescue the sheep and the Son heard the command to save and went.

This is the key to our salvation from sin and the empty life. This is the full act of a loving God who is one in mutual love and mutual submission. God the Son didn’t come against his will or even to do his own will. The Son is the willing, submissive love of God in action for humanity. He’s no hired hand. He is the second person of the Trinity keeping the unity of the Trinity perfectly through willing love and submission. Shepherding is the family business of the Father, and the Son and Spirit are co-owners and participants.

When Jesus lays down his life it is the most trustworthy Shepherd of all doing so from pure love, pure obedience, and pure holiness. The sheep Jesus is talking about includes you. So, hear his voice and run to him little sheep. Run.

The Good Shepherd continues to call. And, where his call to come and enter his life is heard there is much joyful sheep; blessed sheep who are not afraid of rugged paths or dark valleys for they know who they follow. They know the voice.

— Phil Wagler, Promise Keepers Canada


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