They were all wrapped around the wheel about a blind man seeing, but Jesus decided to change the subject on them–He wanted to talk about hearing.
They questioned the claim that the blind man seeing was ever really blind (Jn. 9:18). They were choked that sight restoring mud had been made and applied to a man’s eyes on the Sabbath (Jn. 9:16). Upset that manual work had been done on the holy day. Blind themselves to the miraculous work that had been done by the Holy One.
Let’s keep talking about eyes, they said. Nah, we’ll talk ears instead, Jesus replied.
“But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” ~ Jesus
(John 10:2-4 ESV)
Jesus shifted the conversation with the Pharisees from a flesh and blood miracle who for the first time was seeing, to a figure of speech example about hearing. Because being unconvinced looking at a blind man with sight wasn’t just about the eyes, but about their ears. They didn’t hear the Voice.
Because the Pharisees didn’t get the picture Jesus was painting (10:6), He would clearly identify Himself as the door (10:7,8). Would explicitly say that He was the good shepherd (10:11). But this morning, somewhat in awe, I’m meditating on the thought of hearing the Voice.
Observations: The sheep hear the voice of the shepherd. He calls them by name. He leads them out. They follow him. All because they know the Voice.
Not many in my circle, who by faith decided to follow Jesus, did so because they saw the miraculous. Some, but not many. Most of us heard the Voice before we ever really saw the Savior.
The Voice heard as someone shared with us from the Bible. Strange words, at first. Foreign concepts. Yet a sense that what we were hearing was truth. Though we didn’t recognize it as such, God was speaking through His word. And somehow, we were picking up what was being laid down.
The Voice heard as hearts of stone gave way to hearts of flesh and our inner man was attuned to things we had never been attuned to before. Our internal radio frequency somehow dialed into the kingdom of heaven’s “transmitter”, the Spirit of God, and an inner voice became more apparent: “This really is the Way. Believe it! Embrace it! Walk in it!”
We heard the Voice because, by grace alone through faith alone, through Him we had entered into the fold of God’s redeemed people by the one, true Door. Somehow hearing Him specifically call our name. Somehow being convinced that the inner voice we heard was that of a loving, good, and great Shepherd. Somehow trusting the Voice enough to leave the bondage of sin’s deceptive sheep pen. Believing the Voice would lead us into life, and life abundantly.
Sometimes I can be so used to seeking to follow His lead that I lose the wonder of hearing His Voice. That what should be awe-inspiring–that I even hear the voice of the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit–has too often become common place and, dare I say, even taken for granted.
But this morning, not so. I know the Voice because the Good Shepherd loving, patiently, faithfully continues to call me by name.
Wonder of wonders! Blessing beyond comprehension! Comfort and hope beyond full understanding.
Because of grace. For His glory.