John 10:1-6 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.”
John 10:26-28 “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
Throughout the Word of God, the relationship between the Lord and His people has been contrasted to that of a shepherd and his sheep. In John 10, God’s Word gives us several distinguishing characteristics concerning the Lord’s sheep. One such characteristic is listening! Jesus emphasized this when He said “the sheep hear his voice” (John 10:3) and “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27). There is perception associated with their listening, “they know his voice” (John 10:4). There are a lot of voices, but God’s sheep have the ability to recognize His voice among all the others. The word “know” is a primary verb used only in certain past tenses meaning to see or to know. It has the idea of perception and understanding. If you claim to be one of the Lord’s sheep, you know when He is speaking to you and you are not lead away by the “strangers” of this world. Jesus said of His sheep, “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers” (John 10:5).
There is priority associated with their listening, “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27). The sheep hear a lot of voices, but His is given priority above all others. The word Jesus uses when He said “My sheep hear” means to give an audience or shall hear. While others may not, His sheep respond to the sound of His voice. Jesus said that once a sheep has heard His voice, they respond; “and they follow me” (vs.27). If someone is always following the wrong crowd and listening to the wrong things, the problem may be that they are not one of His sheep. Jesus said to the religious Jews, “ye are not of my sheep” (John 10:26). If listening were the only test, is it evident that you are one of the Lord’s sheep?