Mar 18, 2022 Hearing the Voice of Jesus – Words of Grace – March 18, 2022
The thought of hearing a voice in my ear telling me good things and keeping me emotionally uplifted sounds appealing. To be told what to do, where to go, and what to say to avoid trouble is certainly something I would appreciate. To have a word of knowledge and insight, at just the right time, would be great (and make me look great).
But is that what it means to hear the voice of Jesus? That sounds more like the world of imagination, fairy tales, and superheroes.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to earth to secure salvation for a people by dying their death for their sins on the cross. He calls his people to follow him. In this way, he is the sacrificial lamb who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29) and the good shepherd who lays down his life and leads his sheep (John 10:3, 11).
As the shepherd, Jesus speaks. As his sheep, we follow him. So, how do we hear the voice of Jesus?
First, we hear the voice of Jesus when he initially calls us to himself in repentance and faith. The call to faith includes many aspects of God’s work within us. The word of God comes to us in the gospel. The Spirit of God awakens our hearts from spiritual deadness to life. Jesus comes into our view as the One who saves us from sin and sets us right with God. We can say that all this activity carried out by God is the voice of Jesus saying, “Come, follow me.” Those who are called, who hear, and who follow are Jesus’ sheep.
Second, we hear the voice of Jesus in the Scripture. Don’t think this way of hearing Jesus is academic and without heart. Like the initial call of Jesus to follow, this ongoing guidance by his voice also includes many aspects of God’s work within us. The Scriptures are the Holy Spirit inspired words of God which bear witness to Jesus. When we, the sheep of Jesus, read the Bible, the Holy Spirit works in us. He gives us understanding of the truth, shapes our consciences, and stirs our desire for righteousness. He transforms our hearts. We can say that all this activity carried out by the Holy Spirit is the voice of Jesus leading his sheep in and out to find pasture in a world of danger (John 10:9-10).
My confusion about hearing the voice of Jesus was due to me thinking that I should be mature enough to discern a directive from him about everything in my life. I have thought that his voice would be an internal certainty about what to do and say at all times. I have come to see that the fact that I am a follower of Jesus means that he has called me and that I have heard his voice. I now understand that every day I hear my Shepherd’s voice in the word of God which speaks of him. As the Spirit of Jesus continues to conform me to the image of Jesus, I follow his voice and am led into the life that is abundant.
Today, the voice of Jesus calls us to believe and follow, to trust and obey. When we do, we are hearing well.
I’ll see you Sunday for more of John 10.