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The Voice of the Shepherd

The Voice of the Shepherd
Words of Faith 11-29-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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John 10
"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. [2] The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. [3] The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. [4] When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. [5] But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." [6] Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.

So what is the relationship of Jesus to those He is calling?
The analogy of the shepherd and sheep communicated powerfully to the people of the day. The context of these thoughts was Jesus’ contrast of the Pharisees with the man born blind. The Pharisees were false shepherds because they were spiritually blind while claiming insight (John 9:41). As the True Shepherd, Jesus came to seek, call, and lead His flock. His sheep hear and respond to His voice.
The image Jesus used was familiar even to city-dwellers at the time. A walled enclosure was used to keep several flocks safe at night. A doorkeeper guarded the enclosure at night to prevent thieves and wild animals from entering. In the morning, a shepherd would enter through a gate into the pen. Anyone who would climb the wall was obviously up to no good.
The shepherd had a right to enter the sheep pen. The watchman opened the gate, and the shepherd came in to call his own sheep out from the other flocks by name. Shepherds knew their sheep well and gave them names.
As the sheep heard the sound of their owner’s familiar voice, they would go to him. He would lead them out of the pen till his flock was formed. Then he would go out toward the fields with the sheep following him. If a stranger entered the pen, the sheep would run away from him because his voice is not familiar.
The imagery is powerful. People come to God because He calls them (10:16, 10:27; Rom. 8:28, 30). Their proper response to His call is to follow Him (John 1:43; 8:12; 12:26; 21:19, 22). But those who heard Jesus, even though they certainly understood the local shepherd-to-sheep relationship, missed this spiritual lesson. In their blindness, they could not see Jesus as the Lord, who is the Shepherd.
We cannot control the call of the Shepherd. We can only respond to His voice. He calls us out from the world and even from the religious distractions around us. His flock transcends any other human “grouping”. We follow His voice and He leads us to the green pastures.
Do you hear the Shepherd’s voice? Are you following?

Lord, I want to follow only You. I am listening to Your voice. In the name of the Great Shepherd. Amen.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2002, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.