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Posted by: jakinnan | January 15, 2014

Who is Your Shepherd?

Bighorn Sheep

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 included three significant characteristics of His day-to-day experiences with His flock. He wasn’t tentative about His role or His expectations, and described His sheep as people who listened to Him, whom He knew, and who followed Him. His statement reaches across the centuries to ask, Are you one of His?

These truths weren’t delivered out in a field on a casual summer afternoon; Jesus spoke them with authority in the Temple, surrounded by people who were divided about His identity “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?’” (John 10:20-21).

Jesus’ teaching and actions sparked arguments. Some rejected Him, but others were captivated by His words. When this mixed crowd became confrontational, He sorted them neatly into those who were of His flock and those who were not.

The Savior’s words invite you to review your relationship with Him. In fact, Scripture urges us all to “examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). A great place to start is to consider His statements, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

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. Butknowing 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 you are treating Him as a stranger.

Are you following Him? Recognizing the call to relationship and heart obedience that Jesus expects ought to make you pause. Sometimes you may need to confess, I hear His voice, but I’m not always understanding what His Word is telling me to do. Becoming aware of your need for more direction actually means you are hearing Him.

Even believers who have known Jesus for years admit, “I’m not following perfectly.” Jesus knows you can’t follow Him flawlessly. In spite of that, He invites you to follow Him anyway—and provides His constant presence to help you do what you are incapable of doing on your own. This is why you can call Jesus your Shepherd: He acts and loves like the perfect shepherd even though you’re not a perfect sheep. Thank Him for being your Shepherd today.

– James MacDonald

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