My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (John 10:27, NKJV)
This one simple verse explains so much about discipleship and who is responsible to do what in the kingdom of heaven. The acts of the disciples (sheep) are to hear the voice of the Rabbi (Shepherd) and to follow their Rabbi (Shepherd). The act of the Rabbi (Shepherd) is to know His disciple (sheep).
My sheep hear my voice. The Great Shepherd is Jesus the Christ. Jesus used the Shepherd/sheep analogy well in John Chapter Ten to show the loving care that He takes over His followers. The people would understand clearly the analogies drawn because they are simple and descriptive. Sheep are simple-minded animals that need protection from both predators and their own doltishness. Jesus will protect His own and lead them to make correct decisions leading to proper actions in life – that is His desire. But we as sheep need to yield to His guidance and I am suggesting the first step to yielding is to become poor in spirit. When our character is thus developed we hear His voice and respond as He leads us. If you’ve seen shepherds of the Middle East, they to this day lead their sheep, whereas, we usually see the sheep being pushed and prodded in our Western culture. The Great Shepherd has our best interests at heart; we will not be disappointed.
But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers. (John 10:2-5, NASB)
I know them. To know in this grammatical construction suggests, by personal experience, to know with the idea of volition or good will, to know and approve or love, to care for. Jesus knows and cares for His sheep because He wants what is best for them. Respond to the Great Shepherd’s voice and become His disciple or you may be in danger of not being known by Him:
Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and dome many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21-23, NKJV)
They follow Me. The humble doltish little sheep follow the Great Shepherd who will do what is best for them. This simple act of obedience, to simply follow, is all that is required. The person who becomes poor in spirit is the person as a humble sheep hears His voice and give up all to follow closely behind his Savior. The Good Shepherd will lead the disciple to abundant life and becomes the disciple’s life because He gave His life for His sheep.
I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep. (John 10:11, Amplified)
Determine today to continue in simple obedience as you follow the Christ in discipleship. To claim The Lord is my Shepherd (Psalm 23:1) is what He desires from us. In his book A Shepherd looks at Psalm 23 W. Phillip Keller says of the Good Shepherd:
“It is the One who insists that He was the Good Shepherd. The Understanding Shepherd, the Concern Shepherd who cares enough to seek out and save and restore lost men and women.”