FIRST READING: Acts 11:19-26

PSALM: Psalms 87:1B-3, 4-5, 6-7

GOSPEL READING: John 10:22-30

SERMON BY: Fr. Raphael Mbendera

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the word of God today continues to reflect on the image of Jesus as the Shepherd. We are told that Jesus was walking in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. Again Jesus is questioned very directly about his true identity. “If you really are the Messiah, tell us so in plain words.”

Jesus says that he has already told them but they refuse to believe. Previous statements made it clear that he spoke as one with a mission from God. Perhaps he had not explicitly said he was the Messiah (except to the Samaritan Woman) but it should have been clear either from his statements or from the evidence of his whole way of life, including the signs he had given – all clearly done in his Father’s name. The works he has done are a consistent testimony of his true origins “but you refuse to believe because you are not my sheep”. He then lists the characteristics of true sheep or followers:

They hear His voice. He knows them. They follow Him. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, life is full of twists and turns that require big decisions, small decisions, adjusting to major life changes, and tackling day-to-day living. At the same time, there are plenty of people out there who are ready to give us advice—in books, on television, at the office. There are voices telling us to do this, don’t do that. You’re a sinner. You don’t measure up. You are crazy. Take these drugs. You are wrong, buy this, drive that car, wear this, go there, do your homework now. These voices influence us the way we think and feel. But, in the midst of all these voices, there is one voice we need to hear the most—the voice of Jesus.

This is the voice and counsel we really need as disciples of the Lord. We need to hear Him today about our finances, our children, our marriage or our health. Jesus is speaking to us all the time. In fact it is the nature of Jesus to speak. He wants to have fellowship with us as our shepherd. He wants to guide us. So what do we need to do? The Gospel today suggests to us two things. 1. We must have the wish to hear from Jesus. The people in the Gospel of today deliberately did not want to listen to Jesus. Some people say, Well, Jesus doesn’t talk to me. But, here is an important truth: even if you don’t feel like, Jesus speaks to you—He does.

In fact, He’s speaking to you right now. But, if you have no wish to hear from Him then you cannot hear Him. Have you ever tried to watch television or listen to the radio without turning it on? Of course not! You already know that if you don’t turn on the receiver, you’re not going to hear a thing. When you do turn them on, you fully expect to hear something! Now, let’s be clear—Jesus is not going to scream, yell and demand that you pay attention. He is always speaking to you, but He speaks in “a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). So to hear Him, you have to tune in and listen carefully. God doesn’t communicate with us the way we communicate with one another. He communicates from His Spirit to our spirit, and then our spirit communicates what we hear to our mind.

It’s very subtle and requires a closeness with Jesus and regular practice to hear it more quickly and clearly. That’s why the more time we spend with the Lord and the more we practice tuning in to His voice, the more it will become a voice that “thunders in marvelous ways” (Job 37:5). Hearing Jesus’ voice demands that we be united with Him. It doesn’t apply to someone who is not living for God. It applies to one whom seeks Him diligently, spends time with Him through prayer, and obeys the commands in His Word. 2. We need to know the way Jesus speaks to us Brethren, if we wish to hear the voice of our Shepherd, we need to find His frequency. “They know my voice” John 10:4.

Most often, we miss His frequency because we’re tuned in to hear some huge revelation; when, in fact, He is giving simple instructions. Obedience in the simple things in life is very important to Jesus—it reveals the willingness of our heart. So, if you’re waiting for Jesus to send you powerful messengers, you may be missing what He’s saying to you right now—which might be to stop watching certain television shows or spend more time with your children, to be respectful, to be generous, to be loving and so on. He will talk to you about the small things in your life that you need to change—adjustments you need to make.

He will begin to deal with you where you are, which most often involves helping you walk in Christian way by getting rid of things that are holding you back.

Sermon Media