Day 21 - Friday, March 27 The Shepherd's Voice DAILY READING - Jn 10:22-42 The Jews, most likely Pharisees, ask Jesus to tell them if He is the Messiah. “Tell us plainly”, they say. I wonder how much more plainly they want it spelled out for them. He’s already said the Father sent Him and He is One with the Father. He’s already said that those who believe will have eternal life. He has performed miracles and healings that are superhuman. Yet, they cannot believe. They cannot see because they are expecting a saviour that will come as a king, a military leader, and a politician. Sometimes our expectations and our own ideas of who Jesus is shades the real glory of who Christ is. We try to put Jesus in a box. Jesus can’t be limited. Nobody puts Jesus in a corner. If you had to describe Jesus to someone who did not know Him, what would you say? What if Jesus showed up differently than you have described Him above? Are you open to Jesus being different than what you expect? Has Jesus ever shown you that He is different than you thought He would be? Jesus continues his discourse with the sheep metaphor. He tells the Jews that they do not believe because they are not His sheep. Why are they not His sheep? Look back at 10:4-5. The sheep know the shepherd’s voice. The sheep will never follow a stranger. The Jews do not know the voice of Jesus. They cannot recognize the Father in Jesus. So, they can’t hear and they can’t follow. What does this mean for us as Christians? We must know the voice of Jesus. The Word is the voice of the Lord and Jesus is the Word. Scripture gives us the voice of Jesus. By it, we know Jesus. How often do you seek the voice of Jesus in Scripture? To hear Jesus and to know Jesus, we must soak ourselves in Scripture. To know the Word, we must read the Word. To be the sheep of Jesus, we must first hear Jesus. Then, we must follow Jesus. Read these verses and write what is commanded of us: Deuteronomy 27:10 Joshua 24:24 Psalm 119:17 Psalm 119:57 Psalm 119:67 Psalm 119:101 Luke 11:28 Mark 1:17 Luke 14:27 John 12:26 Matthew 10:38 What two words would you use to sum up what all of these verses command of us as Christians? and James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” The sheep do not merely listen to the shepherd, they follow and obey the shepherd. Jesus calls us to listen, follow, and obey. The word “obey” does not sit well with most of us. Our own will rises up in independent defense. Obedience is not a popular or comfortable concept in the Western world. However, Jesus plainly and clearly calls us into obedience to His Word and His will. How resistant are you to the idea of obedience? In 10:31, the Jews pick up stones to throw at Jesus. Jesus asks for which of the good works of the Father will he be stoned. The Pharisees reply that he will be stoned for: Jesus claims to be God. This bothers the Pharisees. For us, it is proof that He is both Divine and human. Jesus is both fully God and fully human. Spend some time pondering how both of those things can be true and what it means for us as Christians. Jesus implores the Jews to believe Him and His works done through the Father. He tells them that they will know the Father is in Him and He in the Father if they will just believe. It is hard to logically grasp the reality of Jesus. The Divine and the human coexisting on earth is a mind blowing concept. Theologians have spent thousands of years trying to cogently define the Trinity. Every theologian falls short. We can’t, within our human limits, define Jesus. We can,however, know Jesus by His Word and His works. If you find it hard to understand Jesus, begin looking at the work Jesus has done in your life. How has Jesus shown up for you? How has Jesus saved you? Look at the lives of the people around you. How has Jesus saved people that you love. Listen for the testimonies or stories. Jesus is alive and at work in our lives. We can believe because we see the work of Christ.