Scientists at Stanford University once conducted a study to measure voice recognition. During the study, twenty-four children heard three audio clips. The clips were less than one second long and contained unintelligible words. One clip was of the mother of each child, while the other two featured voices of women they didn’t know. Despite the brevity of the voice samples, the children identified their mothers’ voices 97 percent of the time!
Like these children who knew the sound of their mother’s voice, the sheep in John 10 were able to recognize the sound of their shepherd’s voice. In Jesus’ day, multiple herds of sheep were often corralled together in enclosures. When it was time for a particular flock to leave, the shepherd would call his sheep by name, and they would follow him because they recognized his voice (John 10:4). “They [wouldn’t] follow a stranger; . . . because they [didn’t] know his voice” (John 10:5).
Speaking with a group of religious leaders, Jesus used this imagery to describe Himself as the leader of all who believed in Him for salvation. He identified Himself as the Good Shepherd, and those who followed His teaching as His flock. He said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me” (John 10:27-28).
When we believe in Jesus and acknowledge Him as our Savior, we experience the incomprehensible life found in Him, now and eternally. As we experience life with Him, we will naturally disregard the influence of all false “shepherds” (John 10:1,5). He alone possesses the wisdom we need. Because we belong to Him, we gladly follow His lead. May we daily seek His wise and loving guidance.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 26:1-32
Look up Psalm 23:1-6 for a description of our strong, yet tender Shepherd.
What other voices call for you to follow them? How do you respond, and how does this affect your relationship with the Good Shepherd?