“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 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.” (John 10:1-6)
The Discovery Channel has ‘Shark Week’ so I guess I can do ‘Sheep Week.’ Did you know that sheep can recognize and remember a human face for years? Did you know that they can learn the names their shepherds give them and respond to them? Jesus knew. Sheep aren’t so dumb after all — just not quite as smart as a pig. Here Jesus identifies the Pharisees as thieves, robbers and strangers, but they don’t get it. They think Jesus is the imposter. But the proof was people were running away from the Pharisees and toward Jesus. We need to follow the sheep to Jesus. We’re not supposed to believe in everything or follow every cozy-sounding idea. Only Jesus “calls” us “by name.” Only Jesus leads us to real pasture, rather than ‘fleecing’ us. I believe God has pre-recorded the voice of Jesus in our hearts, so when we hear it we know it’s our shepherd. We need to get quiet enough to hear it, focused enough to recognize it and then follow the shepherd that “goes on ahead of us” — even today.
Lord there are a lot of false shepherds out there who want to add me to their flock. But you know my name and down deep I know your voice. I will listen and follow as you lead me out this day. Amen.