By Dorette Saunders
When I was growing up my mother’s aunt gave me voice lessons. As part of the training, there were vocal exercises in which I would first listen to her sing, then begin singing up and down the scale. It was grueling at first, considering I was only six. But it grew easier with time as I grew accustomed to hearing the sounds of my great aunt’s voice.
In John’s Gospel, the people attending a Temple Festival in Jerusalem continue to harass Jesus about his claim to be the Messiah. Over and over, in word and in deed, Jesus proves that he is. Yet here, the people demand that he tell them “plainly.” So Jesus tells them:
“I have told you, and you refused to believe me. The things I do by my Father's authority show who I am. But since you are not my sheep, you don't believe me. My sheep know my voice, and I know them. They follow me, and I give them eternal life, so that they will never be lost...” (John 10:25-28, CEV).
Did you get that? Jesus says, “My sheep know my voice, and I know them.” Jesus’ reply here is packed with meaning and message for us right now.
Are we Jesus’ sheep? Are we willing to be humble, docile, like sheep and allow Jesus, the Shepherd, to lead us? David, considered a man after God’s own heart declares, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1, KJV). We become sheep by yielding to the Shepherd and allowing him to lead us.
Everyone who follows needs directions. These directions come from the leader. Yet, what good are the directions if those who follow can’t hear them, if they are muffled, or drowned out by the cacophony of competing voices or interests?
That’s when it gets interesting. “My sheep know my voice, and I know them.” How do we discern Jesus’ voice among the many voices competing for our attention? We do so by staying in his Word. By reading, studying, and meditating on the Word of God in the Scriptures. The more we get to know Jesus, and give ourselves to his safe-keeping, the more he will reveal himself and his “voice” to us.
Do you know Jesus’ voice? Are you engaging in those things that would allow you to hear Jesus better? Do you pray with the expectation that Jesus’ “voice” will provide direction? These are questions for self-reflection.
So we get voice lessons directly from the Word of God with Jesus as our teacher. Sometimes the lessons are grueling at first, but with practice and prayer, each of us will begin to discern Jesus’ voice.
What is exciting is that the voice lessons are not a one-way affair, but a two-way harmonious exchange as indeed all communication should be. Jesus says that he knows your voice! Out of all the sounds that hit his ear, he knows your voice. What an awesome God! What a great vocal coach who knows our voice, he knows our name, and he even knows who we are when no one is looking.
Take time today to look around at the things that show you who Jesus is. Where do you see his hand and his authority on your life? Let’s use our voices to proclaim Jesus as Messiah, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, and the Shepherd of our lives!
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, our Messiah and Shepherd of our lives, we thank you that we can be assured that you know each of our voices. Help us to take time to know you more intimately through your Word so that we, your sheep, we can discern your voice and your call. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.