15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
By faith, we know Jesus. By faith, we recognize what he has done for us and have chosen to follow him. Most of us were probably not Jews before we chose to become a Christian. We are the ones which were not of the original flock, but we have heard his voice and have become part of the one flock. Sometimes we are also like sheep that get lost, that go their own way and get into trouble. But, sheep are smart! They know their master’s voice and will follow it.
A few months ago, I visited England and took a train trip to see the countryside. On the grassy slopes there were flocks of sheep. The sheep were spray painted with a vegetable die in different colors. Some were sprayed pink, some yellow, some blue or green. They spent their days on the slopes together, but at shearing time, the shepherds would come and call their sheep and each would follow the voice of its own shepherd.
There are many who will come along and try to convince us that he or she is our shepherd, but we need to follow the voice of the one who died for us, who guides us, who has called us. How do we recognize the voice of the shepherd? By spending time “listening” to his voice in the Gospels!
From the time a child is born, it recognizes the voice of its mother. This is because the child has spent nine months listening to that voice. Once in the world, the child will become attuned to the voice of all those who will care for him or her. If a parent calls the child, even if there are others calling their children, he or she will be able to pick out the parent’s voice. So it will be with us if only we spend the time with the Gospels so that we will be able to distinguish the voice of our shepherd from all those who would lead us astray.
Thank you, Lord, for letting your voice be heard in each of the four Gospels. Thank you for inspiring these evangelists to leave a legacy of your words for us who would not be part of the original flock, so that we would recognize and follow your voice. Amen.