Called by Name

What makes you turn your head in a crowd?

Someone calls your name.

I could stop right there when talking about why Jesus is so wonderful, but I’ll let these words he spoke, found in the tenth chapter of John’s gospel, elaborate:

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.*

As we continue to focus on the words of Jesus this Friday, he’s already warned us about those who try to deceive us like thieves and robbers and how the true shepherd will always come in by the gate, aligning with God’s Word. He continues on that thought today, by speaking about the voice of the shepherd.

God the Father has prepared the way for the Good Shepherd through his prophets. Christ comes to us as fulfillment of God’s Word through them, so when we hear Jesus speak, he will always be speaking in confirmation of what God has been saying over the ages.

We, the sheep, must listen for that voice of confirmation.

When someone says they speak for Christ, but their words don’t align with the Bible, you can be sure that their words are false.

We, the sheep, know it’s Christ, because he knows our name and he leads us by example.

When someone talks to you in a way that is confusing and wants to push you or shame you into doing something, you can be sure that’s not from Jesus.

We, the sheep, can be confident in following Christ, because he’ll speak to us as we go.

When someone says they speak for Christ, but just drop you once you’ve accepted their message and plan, then you can be sure that their motives are not from God, but for personal gain.

Don’t follow a stranger. Don’t follow someone you don’t know.

Be sure that the under-shepherd you follow is speaking words that can be affirmed by God’s Word, that he knows your name, and will lead by example and consistent teaching and encouragement.

That’s what Jesus did. Too bad the Pharisees didn’t get it or him.

Make sure you do.

Grace and Peace

John 10:3-6 (NIV)


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