16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.
20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?
21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.
24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.
25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
30 I and my Father are one.
We are chosen sheep, and we are known because we hear the Shepherd’s voice.
Equality with the Father is what Jesus is claiming here. It is nothing new, for He claimed equality many times before, but it does seem obvious to me that John wants us to know his Lord and his best friend claimed equality with God. At the end of chapter eight the Jews were ready to stone Jesus because they recognized that He claimed to be “I am” or Jehovah God. In this chapter He claims that He and the Father are one.
There was disagreement among them; some insisted that He could not be demon possessed, and that He was from God. Jesus stirred up controversy, just as His name does even today. Many in our society insist on calling Jesus, along with other religious leaders, a good teacher. But that is not going far enough. I think many here did not want to ascribe to Jesus demon possession; rather they wanted to give Him something more, because He had healed a blind man. But they were not ready to say that Jesus was God come in the flesh, and Jesus tells them plainly that they did not hear His testimony because they were not His sheep.
Notice the duality of responsibility. First, no one shall pluck them out of Jesus’ hand. Second, no one will pluck them out of the Father’s hand. Both are true! The Triune God works in my behalf to insure that I am saved. I know I am saved because first, I have the Spirit of God inside me given as a gift. Second I know I am saved because Jesus declares that He securely holds on to me. And third, lest there be any doubt, I am saved because the Father has secured me. Who shall pluck me from God’s hand? Neither angels, nor principalities, nor any man shall be able to separate me from God.
Again, Jesus tells us plainly that He is laying His life down for us. No man put Jesus on the cross; instead Jesus went as a willing sacrifice that I might have life. Three times in this passage Jesus lets us know He is laying down His life, and no man takes it from Him. He says He has other sheep not of this fold. Who was He talking about? He was talking about me—and you, if you are not a Jew. He came first to Israel, but now that His own people are rejecting Him, He is extending the offer to all of the world. But even as the offer is to the whole world, He knows His sheep; they are the ones who hear His voice.
Listen closely. Can you hear the voice of God speaking to you? It is not often an audible voice, but rather a voice that speaks to the inner self, bearing quiet but firm testimony of Himself. Reading the gospel of John is a good place to start hearing his voice. May God open Your eyes so that you may see, and open your ears so that you may hear. And hearing, that you may also believe. For the same God that tells us that we are separated out by the Father, also tells us that he that comes to me I will in no way cast out. The gospel is open to all, but only if you are willing to listen.
Voice Of My Savior
I heard a sweet voice so tenderly calling
Saying arise be saved evermore
And I knew it must be the voice of my Savior
For I had not heard a voice like it before
I remember one night in an old fashioned meeting
I was praying to God to redeem my poor soul
When I heard the sweet voice of my lovin' Savior
And I started that night to make heaven my home
I'm glad that I heard the voice of my Savior
I know I'm redeemed by his wonderful grace
Someday when he calls I'll go up to Heaven
And then in that city I'll look on His face