Jon 10:22 It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.
V.26-27 got my attention this morning. Jesus refers to his disciples as his “sheep” who follow him as if he were a shepherd. It’s clear from reading the gospel narratives in the bible that many people heard Jesus preach and saw him perform great signs and wonders, yet did not choose to follow him or recognize him as Messiah. In fact, MOST people may have found him interesting or even entertaining, like a circus act, but were not willing to leave home to be with him. Yet some were. These were the ones whom God the Father had prepared in advance to receive his message and to “see” him as Messiah while many others, especially pharisees (Jewish religious authorities) did not.
Over my 25 years as a pastor I’ve seen this principle at work over and over again. As we share the story of Jesus with others, as we invite people to be part of our church community, as we offer to pray for people in need, some people receive what we have to offer but many do not. That’s okay. As was the case with Jesus, not everyone we encounter has been prepared by God the Father to be open to us and receive what we have to give. We can’t MAKE someone be receptive, but we can recognize when they are and follow up.
This morning I’m praying for the Lord to reveal to me who my “sheep” might be right now. Yes, I know there are people in some circles who consider it an insult to be called a “sheep”, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Who are the people who are open to us right now? How might we connect those persons more closely to the Lord who is already stirring in them?
Lord open our eyes to see where you are bringing people to us, so that we might connect them to you. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.