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John 10:11-18

 
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father. (ESV)
The Voice of the Shepherd
Tuesday of Easter 4
19 April 2016
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (Jn 10:27). Your voice's quality affects how well you are able to gain the attention and support of your hearers. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher took voice lessons early in her political career, in which extensive humming and pitch modulation exercises, made her sound more forceful, punctuated, and strong. Amazingly, the perception of power affected the voices of participants in a recent study "in almost the exact same way that Thatcher's voice changed after her vocal training" researchers at San Diego State University said.

Think of the power that Christ has! This is not some mere perception of power when He says: "I and the Father are one" (Jn 10:30). This is the power and authority that means that God has complete freedom of action, He both can will and see to it that that will is brought to its fulfillment.

He uses His voice alone to do this. Jesus speaks and things happen. And Jesus said, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment" (Rev 21:6). When Christ speaks, God is speaking. Christ's divine power and authority causes what his voice utters to be given to us. Indeed if there is any authority in the human voice, it is only because the faculty of speech is a sign that we are created in the image of God. We speak only because He speaks.

He will always use His voice for the sake of the sheep to whom He speaks. He speaks not with the voice of demand, but with the sweet, comforting gospel. His voice does not deliver the law, but mercy and forgiveness (Jn 1:16-17). What is the voice of the shepherd? How does He call the sheep? How will we recognize the voice of the Shepherd? The shepherd preaches the Chief Shepherd, Jesus.

 

Augustine of Hippo

"The shepherd preaches Christ in truth, the hireling preaches Christ as a pretense, but is seeking something else. Despite this, both preach Christ. Hear the voice of the shepherd, Paul the Apostle: 'Whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice' (Phil 1:18). Paul himself is a shepherd, yet he accepted the hireling. For they act where they are able, they are useful as far as they are able. But when the Apostle sought one whose ways the weak might imitate; he said, 'That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ' (1 Co 4:17). He is saying, 'I have sent you a shepherd, to bring you into remembrance of my ways; that is, who walks as I walk.' And in sending this shepherd, what does he say? 'For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ' (Phil 2:20-21). He is saying, 'I have wished to send a shepherd to you; for there are many hirelings; but it was not right for a hireling to be sent.'

"A hireling is sent for the transaction of other affairs and business; but for those for whom Paul was concerned, a shepherd was necessary. He had difficulty finding one shepherd among many hirelings; for the shepherds are few, the hirelings many. But what is said of the hirelings? 'They have received their reward' (Mt 6:2). Of the shepherd, what does the Apostle say? 'If anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work' (2Ti 2:21). Not merely for certain things are they ready, or for certain things unready, but 'ready for every good work.' So much have I said, concerning the shepherds."

Augustine of Hippo,  Sermons, 87.11
 
Prayer
Lord Jesus, You are the Good Shepherd, without whom nothing is secure.  Rescue and preserve us that we may be delivered from our sins and follow You, rejoicing in the way that leads to eternal life. Amen.

For those who have suffered damage or danger due to the flooding in southeastern Texas, that the One who sits enthroned over the flood would bring them rescue at the right time

For the undershepherds of Jesus Christ, that they would be ready for every good work as they preach the sheep into the fold which is His

For those who are being blown about by every wind of doctrine, that the divine truth would compel them to be steadied in their faith and confession
Art: RUBENS, Peter Paul  The Resurrection of Christ (1611-12)

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