Key verse: John 10:4
Big idea: The sign of a sheep is recognizing the voice of the Shepherd.
When our first child was born, I was fascinated with the fact that my daughter seemed to recognize my voice. For months, I had sung to her and talked to her, and now without being insulated by the womb, she still seemed to pick my voice out above that of strangers. She knew, in some sense, who her Daddy was. She knew my voice, and she knew Colleen's. Eventually, she would learn the voices of many other people and fall in love with them too (one of the first people to come see us in the hospital, Brother Paul Cleveland, is someone she talks about often and then clams up whenever he is actually around). But immediately, she knew our voices and not the voice of a stranger.
Now, when Jesus says "my sheep know my voice," He obviously does not mean it in a literal sense. The "voice" is no more literal than the "sheep." But the idea is clear: when He calls, His sheep can discern His voice. False teachers may claim to be prophets or even the true Messiah, but those who know Him are not fooled. This is a startling claim of Christian exclusivism. Others may claim to be God's people, but if they do not recognize the voice of Jesus, they do not know the Father. If they accept some substitute, they do not know the Father. Responding to Jesus as our shepherd is the sign that we are one of His sheep.
Discussion idea: What are some ways we experience the "voice" of Jesus?
Prayer focus: Thank God that, although we could not ever earn our way to Him, He came to us to call us out.