|Theme:||The sheep know the shepherd's voice. (Fourth Sunday of Easter)|
|Object:||A picture of a dog.|
|Scripture:||The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers." John 10: 3-5|
How many of you have a dog? I don't have a dog now, but I used to have a dog. My dog's name was Mac and he was a Border Collie. This is a picture of my dog Mac. When we were not at home, Mac stayed in the back yard, but when we got home, I would open the back door and call his name. When I called his name, he would come running.
Do you know what would have happened if you had opened the door and called Mac? Nothing! Mac would not come because he didn't know you and wouldn't recognize your voice. Sometimes I would open the back gate and call Mac to take him for a walk. If a stranger had come to the gate and called him, do you think Mac would come to him? No way! A dog knows his master's voice and will only do what his master tells him to do.
Did you know that same thing is true of sheep? Jesus said that sheep know the shepherd's voice and they will follow him. He then went on to say that he is the shepherd and we are his sheep. If Jesus is our master, we will know his voice and will do what he wants us to do. Sometimes, other people will try to get us to do something we should not do. If Jesus is our master, we won't listen to their voice. Sometimes, Satan tries to get us to do something that we should not do. If Jesus is our master, we won't listen to Satan's voice.
The shepherd always wants what is best for his sheep. He leads them into green pastures where they have plenty to eat. He leads them to water so that they have plenty to drink. He leads them to the shelter where they will be safe from the storm. Jesus wants what is best for us. He said that he came so that we could have life and have it abundantly. We will, if we listen to his voice and follow him.
Jesus, you are the good shepherd and we are your sheep. Help us to listen to your voice and to follow you. Amen.