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Listening to the Right Voice:: 4


The voice of the stranger and the voice of the hired hand both speak into the lives of the sheep for their own purposes. Over and against these two voices is the voice of the good shepherd. What characterizes the voice of the good shepherd? How do we know if we can accurately identify the voice of the good shepherd?

Characteristic One: The voice of the Good Shepherd knows us intimately. According to scholars, sheep would be placed in a communal pen overnight. The next morning, each shepherd would come to the gate of the pen and call his sheep. The sheep would recognize the voice of their shepherd and follow him out of the pen. They didn’t follow any shepherd but the one who intimately knew them, even by name. Though 2,000 years have passed, Jesus still knows us by name. He is intimately aware of our lives, not just the surface stuff.

Characteristic Two: The Good Shepherd leads his sheep to life. He doesn’t drive them. While strangers and profiteers steal, kill, and destroy the sheep, Jesus came to give his sheep and full and satisfying life (John 10:10).

Characteristic Three: The Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep. Three times in the passage Jesus said that he voluntarily and willingly gives His life for the sheep. No other, especially the hired hand that flees at the first sign of trouble, would dare consider such sacrifice.

Characteristic Four: The Good Shepherd makes room for more. Multiple times in John 10 Jesus refers to sheep in the plural, talking about flocks and the need to create space for more. The Good Shepherd loves each of us, but he also loves all of us. His flock is inclusive. To the first century hearer, this bold statement would have been understood in the context of the Gentile mission. The kingdom was not just available to “children of Abraham.” It was, and continues to be available to all.

Categories : I AM, Jesus, John

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