“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” vs. 3
According to Jesus, the relationship between a shepherd and the sheep is intensely personal. Not only do the sheep know the voice of the shepherd, the shepherd knows every sheep by name. For Jesus, it’s the perfect metaphor for describing his relationship with his followers. That’s why one of the earliest depictions of Jesus in the art of the Roman catacombs is as a shepherd carrying a sheep. We like that image, too. Our world is hugely impersonal and ironically the more we immerse ourselves in social media the more isolated we tend to feel. We wonder if there is really anyone out there who cares about us. Some are so disconnected that they begin to think they could just disappear and no one would even notice. So when Jesus tells us that the shepherd knows his sheep by name, the news is enormously comforting. If someone were to ask us if we have a personal relationship with Jesus we can smile confidently and answer, “Of course…he even knows my name!” We can say this not because we have made some religious decision, but because he reaches out to us. He’s called us by name and we belong to him. There are no faceless people in the eyes of Jesus…every person has value and every person has a name.
Thought for the Day: How can Jesus possibly know me by name?