A devotional thought from Afshin Ziafat for “Following”
John 10:3-5: “The doorkeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don’t recognize the voice of strangers.”
In biblical times, the gatekeeper usually guarded a sheepfold that contained several flocks of sheep belonging to different shepherds. Once the sheep heard their shepherd’s call, they would come out and follow their shepherd. They would not follow the voice of another shepherd.
Jesus used this analogy to talk of the importance of recognizing His voice among the many strange voices of the world. Consider the difference between receiving a call from someone you just met and receiving a call from a close family friend or a spouse. If you receive a call from an acquaintance, you might have to ask for the name upon hearing the voice. If it’s someone you just met, you might have to ask where you met in order to identify that person. But if you receive a call from your spouse, the moment you hear that voice, you know who it is. The reason for this difference is time spent with each person.
As Christians, we learn to recognize Jesus’ voice by being in His presence through time in His Word, prayer, fasting, etc. In life we will be bombarded with so many different voices calling us to follow them. It is important that we distinguish the voice of Jesus from these strange voices.
Pause and Reflect
• Do you find yourself more often following the voice of Jesus or some other voice in the world?
• What are specific ways that you can train your spiritual ears to recognize the voice of Jesus?