The Shepherd's Voice

Theme: The sheep know the shepherd's voice. Fourth Sunday of Easter, Yr. A
Object: A picture of a child playing with 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? If you have a dog, you probably spend a lot of time with your dog. You play with your dog and perhaps you throw a ball or a stick for it to chase and bring back to you. You love your dog, feed it, and take care of it and you become very close. When you have to go to school, you dog gets pretty lonesome being alone all day with no one to play with, doesn't it? If you are like most kids, when you get home from school, one of the first things you do is go out to the back yard and call your dog. As soon as your dog hears your voice, it comes running.

What do you think would happen if a stranger opened your back gate and called your dog. Do you think your dog would come running to a stranger? No way! It might even bark or growl at the stranger. A dog knows his master's voice and will only do what his master tells him to do.

In our Bible lesson today, Jesus says that same thing is true with sheep and their shepherd. He said that the shepherd will go ahead of the sheep and the sheep will follow him because they know his voice. Jesus goes on to say that sheep will never follow a stranger because they don't recognize his voice, in fact, Jesus says, they will run from a stranger!

Jesus wants us to understand 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.

Father, we thank you for Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who came that we might have life, and have it abundantly. Help us to listen to his voice and to follow him. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen

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