When my dad received the news that he had lung cancer, I knew in my heart this is what would end up taking his life. He had already had two heart attacks, suffered from diabetes, and was an alcoholic. The tumor in his lung was just behind his heart, making it inoperable. While I didn’t have the perfect childhood, I do have very fond memories of my dad as a small child. He had a nickname for me that when I miss him, I can close my eyes and hear his voice calling me.
In John 10:1-18, Jesus is trying to talk to the disciples and the people by using a figure of speech they might be able to understand. So, he talks them about sheep and the shepherd that takes care of the sheep. Sheep herding was familiar to them and perhaps they could relate. But for us? Not so much! I know nothing about farming and sheep herding! Therefore, I had to research sheep and what the shepherd means to sheep. It turns out that there is a big difference between sheep and goats. Sheep look to their caregiver for guidance and they listen to the voice of the one who leads them. Goats do not. Goats do whatever they want and will wander away. A good ‘caregiver’ or ‘shepherd,’ as they were called, will do anything for their sheep – even lay down at the gate so the wolves cannot harm their herd!
Jesus wants His disciples and followers to understand that He loves them like a shepherd loves his sheep. In other words, not only is Jesus willing to lay down His life for us to keep the wolves away from devouring us, but also, we know Him so well, that we recognize and know His voice when He calls our name!
My dad lived for two years after receiving the news that he had lung cancer. He suffered greatly in those two years with chemo and radiation treatments. My mom and dad lived in North Carolina at the time and I lived in Kentucky. Visiting them was difficult. But, I did make it a point to call my dad every single day just to talk. He has now been gone for 13 years, but I can still hear his voice in my heart!
We cannot know our Savior’s voice if we do not know Him! We cannot know that He is the One who will protect us from the wolves, if we do not know Him! We cannot know He is the One who gives us our salvation, if we have not made the time and the effort to know Him and spend time with Him!
Let us pray. Lord Jesus, we want to hear you when you call our name. Help us to get to know you. Help us to know that You are the One who gives us life! Help us to be intentional about our relationship with you! We love you so much. Amen.