His Sheep Hear His Voice

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

…you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
(John 10: 26-27)

We are the flock He has gathered
Who have heard His call and have come;
Never again to be scattered,
Living the hope of His kingdom.

Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking on the Portico of Solomon. 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 hear 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

“The Feast of Dedication” (or Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights) was an eight-day celebration (1Macabees 4:56) that commemorated the ancient victory of the Maccabees over the Syrians during the reign of the Greek tyrant, Antiochus IV. The feast was associated with the miracle of the lamps which stayed lit for eight days while the Temple in Jerusalem was being rededicated– there was only enough oil to fuel them for one day. The Jews then used this occasion to ask Jesus if He was really the promised (political) messiah like Judas Maccabeus, and would lead them in a similar revolt against the Romans, as Judas and his brothers did to liberate Israel.

The Jews did not know who Jesus Christ really was, because they did not believe that He was the Son of God, in spite of all the miracles He had performed in His Father’s Name. Instead, many of them followed Jesus 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 possessed. 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 breakfast fellowships, we have met some individuals who seemed to profess a strong commitment to the Gospel values of Jesus Christ. Later, they turned out to have dubious motives. Their ‘gift of gab’ and familiarity with Scriptures lured the gullible to support their ‘mission’ with “love offerings” and tithes. They participate actively in the community’s activities at first, but later, they slip in and out of other communities as well. Not long after, they disappear from the scene, leaving a trail of unpaid debts. Jesus warned us against such false prophets who disguise themselves like wolves in sheep’s clothing (Mt. 7:15).

And there are those who come, but do not stay for long because they were only ‘grazing the pasture’ for business opportunities. A big assembly of people, mostly composed of businessmen and professionals can attract those who are in “multi-level marketing”. These people are in the wrong place, and will never be as successful in selling their wares. However, there have been some cases when their wrong reasons for joining inadvertently brought them into a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus, and eventually led to their personal conversion.

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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