Day 1: John 10:1-21
Day 2: John 10:22-42
Day 3: John 11:1-57
Day 4: John 12:1-11
Day 5: John 12:12-50
I think it was American Idol that kicked off the new generation of reality talent shows that has now ballooned into an entire genre of its own. But one of my favourites is The Voice. Not because of the all the celebrity gossip that’s out there about the show’s judges, but because of how it all starts -- The Blind Auditions. When each singer first comes out, the judges have their chairs facing the other way. The judges can’t see what the singer looks like. They can only listen. And as the performance goes on; as each judge listens to the tone and quality of the singer’s voice, they have to decide whether to turn their chair or not. If they do, that singer will be chosen to go on. If the voice isn’t strong enough, and no chairs turns then that’s the end of the road.
I love the Blind Auditions because there’s something about them that is pure and simple. They don’t allow the judges to get caught up in mere outward appearances and image. They have to truly be convinced in the quality of the sound. In the legitimacy of the vocal. In the power of the voice. Because that’s what truly makes a great singer.
In a lot of ways, as Jesus went through his earthly ministry, he was being put to the same test by all sorts of people. When he spoke, he said a lot of incredible things. He said a lot of provocative things. Things that would make certain hearts leap at the thought they might actually be true. And things that made other hearts froth with anger for the same reason.
So there was a question constantly at hand when it came to Jesus... “Is this guy legit?” “Do his words ring true?” “He talks big. But is does he have any true authority to back it up? Or is he just another poser trying to hit it big?”
So there are all sorts of stories and conversations about Jesus voice. His words. His authority. And whether they were worth turning our chair for...
Jesus talked about his own voice (John 10). “I am the good shepherd... The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out... and his sheep follow him because they know his voice...”
The image of a shepherd wasn’t just a familiar example to use within a community of farmers. It was much more loaded than that. It was a reference to the King. Just like King David – the ultimate King of Israel’s past – who started as a shepherd of sheep, and went on to shepherd the nation as its greatest leader. Jesus was making a point. He was no hired hand, or imposter thief who might talk big but really care nothing for the people. No, he was the true leader, who loved the people, and would give his life for their best. And his sheep – those who believed in him – would be able to truly hear that from him.
And you didn’t need to take Jesus’ word for it either. He went on to show what this actually looked like.
His good friend Lazarus was sick. His sisters sent word to Jesus, hoping he might come to heal Lazarus before it was too late. But Jesus didn’t make it on time. Lazarus was dead four days by the time Jesus arrived on the scene. But Lazarus was one of Jesus’ sheep. He was known by name. And he followed Jesus, because he knew his voice.
So, when Jesus stood at the entrance to the tomb, which already stunk with death, and called out, “Lazarus, come out!” – he listened!! Even death couldn’t stop the power of Jesus voice from getting through to one of his sheep!
But for some, this show of authority still wasn’t enough.
There were many in Jerusalem who were skeptical of Jesus. And by the time he arrived there, there were some who wanted him outright dead. They refused the see the power in his voice.
So another voice spoke on his behalf. Jesus knew that no matter how many times, no matter how many ways he proved his legitimacy, he demonstrated his authority – there would still be some in power that would be too threatened by his power to keep him around. He knew he was headed to the cross. And he knew the cross would be the ultimate demonstration of his power and authority.
So as he cried out to God to glorify His name, the voice of God replied with authority: “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again!” (John 12:28). Some thought it was thunder. Others claimed it was an angel. Whatever it was, it was unmistakably powerful.
The voice from heaven declared the voice of Jesus was glory.
There’s words and there’s power. Jesus’ words had power. And his invitation was listen to his words in order to know his power. Those who do receive eternal life.
So, what might it look like for you to listen to Jesus’ voice today. What more might you discover about his power? How might you come to know just how good the voice of good shepherd can be?
Consider these questions as you read through each day’s reading...
- What is being said about Jesus’ words or Jesus’ authority?
- What might it look like for you to make more room to listen to Jesus voice this season?
- After you read, take a few moments to simply stop and listen. Ask the Good Shepherd to speak to you, and commit to follow what you hear from him.