One of the greatest, most enduring images that our culture embraces is found in Psalm 23. In this psalm the picture of Jesus as our shepherd who watches over and provides for his sheep has provided comfort and inspiration to countless generations of people.
It is true that God plays the role of a shepherd for all of his creation — including you, of course. Despite all of life’s troubles and sufferings, God provides for your needs in many ways. We have all heard, as the Bible declares, “God is love,” and so he seeks to demonstrate this truth over and over again as he has preserved you alive, fed, and sheltered you through all of your days.
But in Chapter 10 of the Gospel of John in the New Testament, Jesus continues this image of God as a shepherd, but here he declares that certain people belong to him in a special relationship. Here he says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.” And then he says that his sheep “…will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.”
What does it mean that Jesus’s sheep hear his voice? Well, it means that certain people have been chosen by God the Father to know Jesus and are given to him, to believe in Him, and to know the truth about him as he is revealed in God’s word, the Bible. Not everyone will believe and respond to Jesus in this way. But because you have been led to this message, it may be that you sense a drawing, an attraction to knowing Jesus and to learn more about him and how you may be one of his sheep.
Most people, when they hear about Jesus through the message of the Gospel, are simply “deaf” to him. They feel bored and insensitive to Jesus’s words, or they reject him because his people seem too strict, too religious, or politically conservative. But maybe you sense that God is speaking to your heart, and all of sudden you are listening to him, and somehow you want to know Jesus, who he is, and what he can mean to you apart from the reasons so many people give to reject him.
This means you may have to make a courageous choice to stand apart from the popular trends and ideas of this world in order to find something of great value in this life and for your life after you die.
The Bible says we all are like lost sheep who have no idea who we are or where we are going until we hear Jesus’s voice and follow him. He says, “My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life.”
Not only does Jesus give his sheep eternal life, he also keeps them safe. He says, “They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. The Father and I are one.”
So why are you here reading this? I wonder — are you hearing Jesus’s voice? There may have been times in your life when you were alone and you sensed the vastness of eternity and the frailty of your existence. The world in which we live seems full of violence, suffering, and death. Our lives can be lonely and relationships fleeting. Not only this, but our thoughts and behavior just don’t seem to measure up to the moral rightness that we know would make us healthier and happier — and rightness that God would like you to have. He offers His forgiveness and power to believe in Him and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord.
Are you one of Jesus’s sheep?
If you would like to know more, or if you would just like to have an email conversation about knowing Jesus Christ as your shepherd, I would love for you to leave a comment in the section below.
- I Peter 2:25, The Message
- John 10:25-30, The Message