The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.—John 10:3
When my dear mother was in the process of transitioning to heaven there were a period of days when we did not know how things were going to go with her. We lived in another state at the time and the nurses at her hospital advised we wait a bit and see what would happen.
One afternoon, I was so grieved at the thought of losing her so soon I went to take a nap before picking the children up from school and while I laid there, not quite asleep, but not fully awake I heard her call my name. There was no mistaking her voice, it was clear and distinct. The one I had known and responded to all my life. No one said my name like she did. I answered her back and we talked for a brief moment. As it turned out that was the last conversation I had with her. She passed away shortly after that spirit-connected conversation, but I will never forget her voice, the way she called to me.
Jesus said, no, he promised, his sheep would hear his voice, that he would call his sheep by name and they would know him. When Jesus speaks to us there is no mistake who it is. We do not come away saying I think it might have been my Savior talking to me. No, we know him. No one in all the earth or above the earth or under the earth sounds like he does. No one speaks our name as he does. He speaks in loving tones; those intonations are his own. He says our name and we know it is him, the one who was there from the beginning of our creation. He can speak however he wants interrupting our thoughts, as we read his word, as we listen to a sermon or read our devotions, as we pray, or when we are driving down the street.
We can be encouraged to listen for our Shepherd. He has promised to speak to us so we can be sure he will. He calls to us with instruction, or words of comfort or words of encouragement, and, yes, even when we are doing something that does not please him, he will chastise us. Any way our Shepherd’s voice come we can know it is him and be encouraged to speak back to him. There is no more precious conversation than the one that takes place between the Shepherd and his sheep.
Jesus, our loving, good Shepherd, today we are reminded of that very old hymn “I Can Hear my Savior Calling.” Let us always be able to hear and distinguish your voice. Let us have the ears of your sheep, those who know your voice above all others. Speak to us Good Shepherd as only you can. Amen