I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. John 10:14
One year for vacation Bible school, Ken’s church decided to bring in live animals to illustrate the Scripture. When he arrived to help, Ken was asked to bring a sheep inside. He had to practically drag the wooly animal by a rope into the church gymnasium. But as the week went on, it became less reluctant to follow him. By the end of the week, Ken didn’t have to hold the rope anymore; he just called the sheep and it followed, knowing it could trust him.
In the New Testament, Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd, stating that His people, the sheep, will follow Him because they know His voice (John 10:4). But those same sheep will run from a stranger or thief (v. 5). Like sheep, we (God’s children) get to know the voice of our Shepherd through our relationship with Him. And as we do, we see His character and learn to trust Him.
As we grow to know and love God, we’ll be discerning of His voice and better able to run from the “the thief [who] comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (v. 10)—from those who try to deceive and draw us away from Him. Unlike those false teachers, we can trust the voice of our Shepherd to lead us to safety.
What’s one thing you’ve learned about God’s character through reading Scripture? How did that impact you? What will help you to discern God’s voice?
Heavenly Father, thank You for being my loving Shepherd. Help me to recognize and follow Your voice only.
At the time of Jesus, shepherds kept their flocks in two kinds of sheepfolds. In the villages, flocks were kept in stone-walled, gated, communal sheep-pens, guarded by gatekeepers (John 10:1–5). Out in the fields, sheepfolds were often makeshift enclosures made of stones, tree trunks, and branches, with the shepherd sleeping across a narrow opening in front. Twice, Jesus says He’s “the gate” for the sheep (vv. 7, 9). A “gate” or “door” (esv) symbolizes both protection and provision. The gate reminds us there’s an entrance and an exit: “Whoever enters through me will be saved” (v. 9). The Good Shepherd protects His sheep in a safe, secure place: “They will come in and go out, and find pasture” (v. 9; see Psalm 23:4). The Good Shepherd leads His sheep out to “green pastures . . . beside quiet waters” (Psalm 23:2).