As Jesus’ work became more public his adversaries became more antagonistic. The religious establishment was powerful and they were concerned that Jesus’ popularity would jeopardize their standing and influence. In our reading this week we see the opposition growing in intensity to the point that they hatch a plot to kill him (John 11:45ff).
In chapter 10, Jesus explains why there was such a difference in the responses that people had about him. Using the analogy of a shepherd and his sheep, Jesus says that the ones that know and recognize their shepherd’s voice follow him but the ones that don’t recognize his voice will not. Here is what he said, Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. 26 But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:25-27 (NLT)
So here is a question, “How can I hear Jesus' voice?” I will mention a few ways:
First, be willing to hear him. This requires humility and is proven by a willingness to do whatever Jesus says. In John 7:17, Jesus says “Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own.”
Second, listen to the sources that God has given for us to hear him. Here are the two that are most important:
The Bible is the most important one. Look at how often Jesus urges people to check and see what the Bible says. When God speaks to us it always conforms to the clear teaching that is in the Bible.
The other important source is guidance from people who are strong in their faith and wise about applying the Bible. This is where being in a good church is so important. A great example of how these two work together is found in Acts 17 where a group from the town of Berea has been willing to hear the message from Paul and then check to see if what they are teaching squares with the Bible, “And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. 12 As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.” Acts 17:11-12 (NLT)