“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).

Years ago a precious friend walked away from the Lord after reading this verse. She asked me if I had ever heard Yeshua speaking to me audibly. I answered her honestly that Yeshua had in fact never spoken to me audibly. She admitted that he hadn’t spoken to her audibly either. Based on this evidence, she claimed that either we are not Yeshua’s sheep, or Yeshua misspoke, and is therefore not the Good Shepherd. Sadly, she opted for the latter and denied her faith in Yeshua.

What is most tragic about this story is that my friend’s denial of the faith was not because of this verse, but because of her misunderstanding of this verse. Key to John’s purposes in his Gospel is to identify Yeshua as the Prophet like Moses. Two verses from the Torah are profoundly important for John’s theological presentation of Yeshua:

“I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I WILL PUT MY WORDS IN HIS MOUTH, AND HE SHALL SPEAK TO THEM ALL THAT I COMMAND HIM. It shall come about that whoever WILL NOT LISTEN TO MY WORDS WHICH HE SHALL SPEAK IN MY NAME, I will require it of him” (Deut 18:18-19).

Hearing Voices?

Yeshua’s point in John 10:27 is crystal clear when we interpret his words in their literary and biblical context. “My voice” does not refer to words spoken audibly to each and every sheep, but to the words spoken by Yeshua which are now recorded in John’s Gospel. “To hear Yeshua’s voice” means to read John’s Gospel, and to realize both in word and deed that Yeshua has been sent by God, and is truly Israel’s Messiah! We know we are Yeshua’s sheep, not because we hear voices from heaven. We are his sheep because we have “heard” Yeshua’s words in John’s Gospel and have considered them in the light of the prophecies about the Messiah in the Hebrew Bible, and believe, therefore, that he is truly our Good Shepherd and Israel’s promised Messiah!

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent…. [F]or the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me” (John 17:3, 8).

Show the world you are One for Israel!

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