“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Has that verse ever struck you as a little odd? “I know them.” I have wondered about that phrase for years. This passage is quoting Jesus. He didn’t say, as I would have expected, “My sheep listen to my voice and they know me.” He said, “I know them.” Was that a typo? (Or in this case, a scribe-o?) No, not at all. A closer look at this passage makes the message it conveys even more wonderful than it seems at first glance.
My sheep listen to my voice. (Some versions say “hear my voice.”) This tells me in no uncertain terms that the Lord speaks to us in such a way that we really can hear him. The Word of God, circumstances, godly counsel, a still small voice within—those are all ways our Lord may speak to us, but this verse reassures us that he does indeed speak.
I know them. I love this! It’s not a typo! He knows us! He knows us intimately, better than our closest friend or nearest relative ever will. So, then, his words to us are not arbitrary. They are personal. They are based on what he knows about us—what we need, what delights us, what tempts us, where our greatest struggles lie, and where we have the greatest victory.
He knows us. When I stop to contemplate those words, I find myself rejoicing—and also feeling very loved and very safe. The Lord of all creation knows me and bothers to speak to me. He cares about me. He considers me to be his very own. (Note, the verse says “my” sheep, not “those random sheep out there in the field.”)
They follow me. He expects our obedience. What following him entails may look very different from one believer to another. Micah 6:8 tells us it will involve acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God. In every case, though, following him is entirely doable because he knows us and he speaks to us.
I hope you’ll read the rest of the chapter on your own today. It’s pasted below for you. As you read, I hope you will keep a lookout for these highlights regarding our Lord Jesus.
- He’s giving us eternal life.
- He is fully God, one with the Father.
- When a group of his opponents, angered by his words, tried to seize him, he “escaped their grasp.”
What a mighty Lord we serve! May you listen and follow with joy today.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” And in that place many believed in Jesus” (John 10: 27-42).