Wednesday, August 27, 2014

John 10:27-29 -- Hear and Follow the Voice of the Good Shepherd

"My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one."
~ John 10:27-29 NRSV

Why do we have the tendency to wander away for the path of grace and become distracted by the world and sin? We are human, after all, and gravitate toward sin. But there is a greater call for those who have faith in Christ, a call that will rescue us from the distractions of our sinful nature and bring us to the nourishing glade of salvation.

In the above passage Jesus says, "my sheep hear my voice ..." and "... follow me." This indicates the sheep are called and "follow." Interestingly, sheep are instinctive followers; it is hard-wired into their genetic code to follow the senior sheep or leader. No matter the task or danger, sheep instinctively flock.

Jesus is the good shepherd. Those who follow Jesus, then, are given eternal life and cannot be snatched out of His hand. Although not snatched, a sheep may lose its way from the flock, however. As sheep are hard-wired to stay together, they would not choose to stray but may get lost due to circumstance. People are no different.  When given the free gift of God's grace in Christ, we instinctively want to follow the life of grace.  But the world and our instinct to sin can cause a distraction, a circumstance, and derail us from the shepherd's path (see Romans 7:14-24). The deceit of sin, effectually, is the circumstance and leads us away from the flock of faith. No can snatch us away from the shepherd, but it is by the temptation to sin and our poor choices that we can become lost. Repentance, prayer, trust, and contrition turn us back toward the voice of the searching shepherd.  

God searches for us when we give in to temptation and sin, as is indicated in the parable of the lost sheep, coin, and son in Luke 15, but we must choose to accept God's peace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ and follow His voice. If we frolic in the dangerous glade of sin, Jesus will continue to look for us, but we must hear His voice, repent, trust, and follow.