There’s not many of us that would consider herding sheep to be an everyday activity, but in Jesus’ day, this was a common part of life in every village. In fact, the responsibilities of a shepherd were familiar, and the behavior of sheep was widely known—so Jesus used these examples to speak their language and reveal more of his identity as the Good Shepherd.
Since we aren’t as acquainted, here’s some context: It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for families in a community to share the load and combine their flocks into one sheepfold overnight. In the morning, whenever a shepherd wanted to gather his flock, he could just stand at the gate and use a distinct call or whistle that only his sheep would recognize. There may have been other calls they heard earlier from other shepherds, but when they heard the familiar sound from their leader, they would easily separate from the crowd and follow his voice.
In the same way, there are plenty of voices battling for our attention: news headlines splashed across Twitter, your boss breathing down your neck, opinions and gossip from your friends, and on top of it all, your own insecurities echoing throughout your mind. But the voice of Truth? The whispers of the Holy Spirit? The commands of God? When everything else in our world is blaring and overpowering, it can seem impossible to tune into the Good Shepherd.
But that’s exactly what He’s called us to do today. We are His sheep and he is our Shepherd; when He speaks, we need to listen, and when he commands, we need to obey. The more we do, the louder His voice becomes and the clearer His whistle sounds.
- How do you listen to Jesus’ call over all the other voices calling out to you?
- May this be our prayer: “Lord, I want to hear you and follow your direction above all the other noise in my world. Give me ears to hear and eyes to see you moving in my life today. As part of His flock, may we value, treasure, and obey His Word and commands above all else. Surely, they are the pathway to abundant, eternal life.
Jesus Claims to Be the Son of God
22 It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. 23 He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. 26 But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”
31 Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. 32 Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?”
33 They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”
34 Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’ 35 And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’ 36 why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world. 37 Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. 38 But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”
39 Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them.40 He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile. 41 And many followed him. “John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.” 42 And many who were there believed in Jesus.