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Monday, February 15, 2010

"My Sheep Know My Voice"

From Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith, Pages 64-65.

...God's goal isn't simply to fill the world with people who believe the right things. It is to fill the world with people who shine with the brilliance of Christ.

Shepherding in Israel is a wonderful metaphor for this kind of discipleship. In many countries, sheep spend their lives in fenced-in pastures where they spend their time grazing and milling about. Many Christians seem to think that the Great Commission is a matter of getting sheep "into the pen"--inviting people to accept Christ, the high point of their spiritual lives. In Israel, however, where grass has difficulty growing in the arid soil, sheep must know their shepherd, following him obediently from pasture to pasture. There, shepherding is a much more active task.

Judith Fain is a doctoral candidate at the University of Durham. As part of her studies, she spends several months each year in Israel. One day while walking on a road near Bethlehem, Judith watched as three shepherds converged with their separate flocks of sheep. The three men hailed each other and then stopped to talk. While they were conversing, their sheep intermingled, melting into one big flock. Wondering how the three shepherds would ever be able to identify their own sheep, Judith waited until the men were ready to say their good-byes. She watched, fascinated, as each of the shepherds called out to his sheep. At the sound of their shepherd's voice, like magic, the sheep separated again into three flocks. Apparently some things in Israel haven't changed for thousands of years.

Just like these sheep, what distinguishes us in not so much the "pen" we inhabit but the shepherd we follow...

Jean said:

Oh, my Lord God! What a dumb sheep I am! I don't have to worry about which pen I'm in, where I'm going or what I'm to do next in this life. I don't need to fret about where to find food or drink or safety. All I have to do is listen for Your voice and then obey it. Ears open--mouth shut.

How much simpler my life would be, how much less anxious I would be, if only I would be constantly listening for Your voice.
[photo courtesy http://www.morguefile.com/]

Jesus said:

I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and My sheep know Me. They know My voice and they follow Me. Listen, Little One. I will lead you to green pastures and still waters. Listen. Follow. Obey.
[See John 10 and Psalm 23]

It's the way to rest and safety and peace.