My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
Hearing and Believing
These words came in response to controversy. Earlier, Jesus told a crowd, “I am the good shepherd. My sheep know and follow me. And like a shepherd lays down his life for his herd, I lay down my life for them—only to take it up again.” Essentially, Jesus claimed to be the Christ. That upset the religious set. “He’s a possessed lunatic!” they said.
Later, at Hanukkah services, they pressed Jesus to say clarify His claim to be God’s Chosen One. “I told you so,” He answered, “but you didn’t believe. My sheep hear me and believe what I say.” Put another way, He said, “If you don’t believe, you can’t hear—and if you don’t hear, you can’t believe.” Paul explained this paradox in Romans 10.17:
Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
The Shepherd’s Voice
Jesus calls to us from His Word. In a world full of pointless opinions, gossip, arguments, and accusations—His message gets buried in the noise. But, unlike those who fill their ears with nonsense, if we listen closely, He comes in loudly and clearly above the racket.
We know His voice when we hear it. Like sheep, we depend on it for safety, nourishment, and growth. Isaiah said, “He tends his flock like a shepherd; he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.” (Isaiah 40.11) When we don’t listen for His voice, we risk straying from Him—not a good place to go.
Safe in His Arms
Jesus knows us individually. He knows our unique hungers, the dangers we face, and the temptations luring us from His fold. He calls to all of us with one voice. Yet He speaks with the specific comfort, acceptance, and assurance each of us needs to feel securely held close to His heart.
Our Shepherd laid down His life for us. Then He took it back to reclaim us safely in His arms. He didn’t pay this price to abandon some of us and keep others. If we hear His voice, we’re His. That’s all there is to it. Don’t listen to anyone disqualifying you to follow Christ. Hear Him say, “No one can snatch you from My hand.”
You may not look like other sheep. You may not act like them. They may be bigger and stronger than you. But the Good Shepherd loves you just the same. He holds you close to His heart. And nobody can pry you from His arms.
Postscript: Listening to His Voice Playlist
Here’s a potpourri of songs to remind us to tune everything else out and listen closely for our Shepherd’s voice.
- We Need to Hear from You - Andrae Crouch
- When You Speak to Me - Twila Paris
- Speak to Me - Kirk Franklin
- Who Are You Listening To? - Ginny Owens
- I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say - The Edwin Hawkins Singers
- I Can Hear Your Voice - Michael W. Smith
- Somewhere Listening - Soul Seekers
- Speak to My Heart - Donnie McClurkin
- Listen - Steve Green
- I Will Follow Your Voice - downhere
- Open My Heart - Yolanda Adams
- Listen - Trin-i-tee 5:7
- Speak to Me - Geoff Moore
- Word of God Speak - Kristen Chenowith
- Glad I Heard Your Voice - Sandra Crouch