Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The voice through the door

John 10:1"Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he's up to no good--a sheep rustler! 2The shepherd walks right up to the gate. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. 5They won't follow a stranger's voice but will scatter because they aren't used to the sound of it."

6Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. 7So he tried again. "I'll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. 8All those others are up to no good--sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn't listen to them. 9I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for--will freely go in and out, and find pasture. 10A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

11"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. 12A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. 13He's only in it for the money. The sheep don't matter to him.

14"I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. 15In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. 16You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They'll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd. 17This is why the Father loves me: because I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again. I received this authority personally from my Father."


I need to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd clearly. Though at times I may not be able to lift my gaze beyond the ankles, I must listen for what is said. Be discerning in caretaking shepherds, and cautious of hired hands. Know the way in which they came, via gate or other. His voice alone will assure me. Is isn't in the wind, storms, or sea. His still small voice calms all that and my own fears. He is my source and strength.


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