Gospel of John 10: 22-30 (NIV)
22 Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews gathered round him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no-one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Was there ever a time in your life when you refused to identify as one of Jesus’ sheep? Was there ever been a time when you deliberately chose not to listen to Jesus, nor to the Father? Perhaps you preferred, as I did for several years, to have nothing to do with his flock.
If you had known such a time but now regard yourself as well and truly within his sheep-fold, you will realise with gratitude how much you have come to rely on the sound of his voice. You will know how keenly you listen for his voice, how great is your sense of joy when you hear his call and how you strive to make the distinction between that one true call and other voices that so clamour for your attention.
You will know how gladly you recognise the Master and how willing you are to respond immediately, to follow what he calls you to do. You will know how secure you are when that voice is calling and directing and guiding and even forbidding some potentially dangerous action. You hold as an unchallengeable truth the assurance that no one can snatch you from the Shepherd’s hand.
Some do not believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God because, in his words, they are not his sheep. Some do not now believe but there will be a time when they come to believe and to respond positively to his voice. We are not able to make the distinction between these; only God knows which ones have been given to Jesus and which ones will remain beyond his hand. Those of us within his sheep-fold are to follow him in obedience. This includes representing Jesus without differentiation to all who do not yet believe.