John 10 (ESV)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep . . . Continue Reading

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27

As I read this familiar verse, I was reminded of the passage from Matthew 7:21-27 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ 24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Jesus says that HE KNOWS His sheep – they hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:27). In Matthew 7:23, He declares to people who think they are His sheep (who are actually goats), “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

What a staggering thought. Why would Jesus say that? There are people who think they are sheep but are actually “workers of lawlessness?”

How can WE KNOW we are His sheep?

In Ephesians 2:8-9 Paul writes that our salvation is by grace through faith and not by works. We can’t EARN salvation by our good works and we cannot DESERVE grace by what we do either. But Jesus makes it clear that hearing His words and even believing in your mind that you’re a follower of Christ (and doing things in His name) does not make you His disciple. Only those who do the will of the Father (Matthew 7:21), hears Jesus words and does them (Matthew 7:24) and follow His voice (John 10:27) will avoid hearing Jesus say to them, “depart from me, I never knew you.”

How can we call Jesus our Shepherd if we don’t follow Him? If we follow our own desires, goals, dreams, ambitions, and even our own beliefs, we are following ourselves, not Jesus.

Maybe that’s why Jesus says these things – it’s the Good Shepherd’s warning but only His sheep will listen and follow Him.

Father, you know it’s impossible for us to follow you in everything we do. If we did, we wouldn’t need the Good Shepherd to watch over us, guide us, protect us and go after us when we wander. Forgive us when we stray. Help us to not be proud when we stay. Protect us from wolves that want to devour us. Lead us to green pastures and still waters that we can only find by following You. Thank You Lord Jesus for laying down Your life for Your sheep. Amen.