“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
At the Feast of Dedication, the Jewish leaders again confront Jesus. They demand that Jesus tell them plainly that He is the Christ.
Jesus replies that He has already said plainly that He is the Christ, and that His miracles confirm this. The problem is that they do not hear His voice because they are not His sheep.
The Jews try to seize Jesus to stone Him, but He evades them and goes back to the Jordan, where many believe in Him.
To be a follower or a sheep of Jesus means that we recognise His voice. There are several ways of doing this:
1. Through the Bible. The Bible is God’s word to us. It reveals His nature, His desire to set us free from sin, and His will for the way we should live.
2. Through the preaching of the Word and the worship of the community of faith. The local church is a great focal point for seeing how God’s people live, and also for pointing out the blind spots in our understanding.
3. The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of every true believer. He is the voice of Christ inside us, guiding us into righteousness, convicting us of sin, and raising our consciousness of our ability and opportunities to serve Christ.
4. The extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit such as prophecy and words of knowledge. The Holy Spirit speaks to us in the “still, small voice”, speaking directly into specific situations. Sometimes other people will bring to us a word that confirms what God has already been saying to us, or perhaps sparking something new about the direction we should take.
In all of these ways, the Lord never contradicts Himself, and our main check should be the Scriptures. God will never tell you to commit adultery or to steal; but He will give you insights into loving Him and the people around you more.
Thank you Lord that you speak often to us. Help me to recognise your voice. Amen