Listening to His Voice

John 10: 22-30
Acts 11:19-26 / Psa 87

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
(John 10:27)

We are the flock He has gathered
Who heard His call and have answered.
No one can ever be bothered
Who lives the Word of our Shepherd.

Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10: 22-30)

Reflection

Only those who believe and follow Jesus know Him, and He them; and only they will receive eternal life from Him. Many of the Jews who followed Jesus did so because they saw in Him a political solution for the salvation of Israel from the occupying Romans. Others saw material gain in the ‘magical’ powers that Jesus wielded. These our Lord did not regard as members of His flock. “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

In our Christian fellowships, we have often met individuals who strongly profess their commitment to the Gospel values of Jesus Christ, but turn out to have dubious ends. Their proficiency in communication and familiarity with Scriptures inspire a gullible following who support their ‘mission’ with tithes. Actively participating in the community’s activities at first, they soon flit in and out of other communities or prayer groups as well. They later disappear from the scene, leaving a trail of debts. Jesus warned us against such false prophets who disguise themselves like wolves in sheep’s clothing (Mt. 7:15).

Then there are those who come, but do not stay for long because they were only ‘casing the marketplace’ for business opportunities. A big assembly of people, especially one composed of businessmen and professionals, can attract those who are in sales or marketing. These people are in the wrong place, and will only be disappointed in trying to make a sale. There have been some cases however, when their wrong reasons for joining inadvertently brought them into a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. They listened and heard the call, and were led to their conversion.

So how do we listen to the voice of our Shepherd? We know it requires a good amount of discernment, but when we find ourselves in compromising situations, and instead of reacting emotionally, we ask ourselves, “How would Jesus handle this matter?” As we turn to Him for help, I’m pretty sure the answer will come to us from our heart. We “hear” the voice of our Savior when we are sensitive to the needs of others, and when we choose to be conciliatory towards those who are combative, rather than “fight fire with fire”. Even if they treat us unjustly. Jesus speaks to those who are meek and gentle, because He Himself was the Lamb of God Who was led to slaughter.

You are our only Shepherd, Lord Jesus, Who leads us in green pastures and restful waters, and keeps us safe from the ravenous wolves and dangerous pits of this world. We are the grateful sheep that You pasture, who will always follow Your call. Amen.

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