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  • Writer's pictureLynn Holzinger

My Sheep Hear My Voice

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

John 10:27

A woman decided she wanted to try ice fishing. So she went out and cut a hole in the ice. Just then she heard a loud voice say, “There are no fish under the ice.” Amazed at hearing a voice speaking to her she wondered if it was God. She finally convinced herself she imagined hearing the voice so she tried drilling a hole in anther spot. Again she heard the voice, “There are no fish under the ice.” “Is that you God?” she asked. To which she heard the reply, “No, this is the ice rink manager.”

John 10:1-21 is part of a larger discourse Jesus gave at the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem. In this section, Jesus tells us He is the Good Shepherd. Jesus is speaking to those who had gathered at the temple to listen to Him, including His disciples and the Pharisees. There is a general contrast between the Pharisees and those who thought they could see and hear (9:40-41) with His disciples, and the ones who actually did see and hear.

Jesus portrays Himself as the shepherd who enters the fold and calls His sheep by name. And after the shepherd has called them, He leads them out, and they follow Him because they know His voice (vv. 3-4). Jesus then switches to being the door. He says, "I am the good shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep" (v. 11). When Jesus died on the cross, He became the door and the way to enter for salvation. In v. 16, Jesus says He has other sheep that He must bring in also who will hear His voice and join the rest of the flock. These sheep refer to the Gentiles that would believe and form one spiritual body (see Eph 2:16).

After Jesus said these things, the division is obvious. Many said, "He has a demon and is insane," while others said, "These aren't the sayings of one demon-possessed" (vv. 19-21). Already you can see between those who could hear His voice and those who couldn't. Hearing Jesus' voice has to do with understanding and belief.

The discourse is picked up again in John 10:22 at the temple in the portico of Solomon during the time of the Feast of Dedication. The Jews gathered to listen and said, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly" Jesus responded by telling them, "I told you and you do not believe" (v. 24-25). And the reason you don't believe is because you aren't My sheep. I didn't call your name and you are not in My flock. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (vv. 26-27).

Clearly, hearing Jesus' voice in this verse has to do with salvation; understanding the gospel when we hear it, and responding to what we hear by following Him. The next verse (v. 28), affirms this when it says, "and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand."

John Piper says this about John 10:27 in Jesus' Sheep Hear His Voice--What's That Mean?:

"My sheep hear my voice" means, "my elect are enabled by God to hear the truth, the true shepherd, when the gospel is preached."

Matt Moore from Crosswalk says in his article, Do You Hear Jesus' Voice?:

He went on to say in the next verse, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Notice what the sheep that truly hear his voice do: they follow him. The only people who follow Jesus are those who believe, embrace, and bank their lives on his words. Many who were under the sound of his voice rejected what he said; therefore they did not truly hear him. But those who believed his words followed him and thereby demonstrated that they truly heard his voice.

Therefore, to use John 10:27 to teach, "My sheep hear My voice" means that a believer can learn to hear God's voice because He is always speaking in various ways, is to pluck this verse out of its context and give it a different meaning.

Praise God, He gave us a Savior, who is our Good Shepherd! When He called our name, we responded and followed Him, and proved that we are His sheep and heard His voice!

Jesus' voice is saying, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but through Me (Jn 14:6).

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