Memorize John 10:27-30
In this passage, the Jews asked Jesus to tell them plainly if He is the Christ. You can almost feel the excitement. Thousands of years of anticipation are coming to a head right here. And then Jesus responds with a monologue about sheep. Huh?
When the Jews ask Him if He is the Messiah, Jesus’ response is that He already told them who He was, and they don’t believe because they aren’t His sheep. Isn’t that interesting? He doesn’t say, “You don’t believe, therefore you aren’t my sheep.” Instead, He says, “You aren’t my sheep, therefore, you don’t believe.” Wow. But why did Jesus use sheep in this illustration?
John Hartley, English missionary in the early 1800’s, shared some interesting things about sheep in his book, Researches in Greece and the Levant. He was told by a shepherd that sheep obey when called by their name and decided to test it one morning while walking:
“Passing by a flock of sheep I asked the shepherd to call one of his sheep. He did so, and it instantly left its pasturage and its companions and ran up to the hands of the shepherd with signs of pleasure and with a prompt obedience which I had never before observed in any other animal. It is also true in this country that a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him. The shepherd told me that many of his sheep were still wild, that they had not yet learned their names, but that by teaching them they would all learn them.”
Regarding salvation, it has been said, “Once you choose it, you can’t lose it.” – but this is not true – if we had the power to choose it, we would have the power to lose it.
The Bible teaches that we are His sheep because He has chosen us, and we can’t lose our salvation because of His grip on us, not our grip on Him. Like sheep, we don’t learn who we are until He teaches us our names and our place in His flock. Only when He tames our wild heart do we find true life, life under His care. “I have come so that they may have life, and have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”