The time came for the feast of the Dedication. It was winter, and Jesus walked back and forth in the portico of Solomon. The Jews then gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in doubt? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I have already told you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name proclaim who I am, but you don’t believe because, as I said, you are not my sheep.
My sheep hear my voice and I know them; they follow me and I give them eternal life. They shall never perish, and no one will ever steal them from me. What my Father has given me, is greater than all things else. To snatch it out of the Father’s hand, no one is able! I and the Father are One.”
The bond between the shepherd and his sheep is profound and deep that the sheep hear the shepherd’s voice and follow. The sheep are so familiar and used to their shepherd’s voice that they won’t follow and obey any other except that of their own shepherd’s. Sheep might follow a deceiver’s voice, because inborn complex patterns of behavior called instincts exist in every member of the lower species and cannot be overcome by force of will that sheep naturally don’t have.
For this reason, false shepherds try to entice and deceive sheep into following them for the former’s selfish interests.
The false shepherds’ voice is very seductive and appealing, full of empty promises (cf. Jesus’ temptations in the desert), and if listened to and obeyed leads to regretful ending. That is the voice of inordinate desire to possess and to indulge life lustfully (cf. how the prodigal son was led to a “distant country” – pagan region by listening to a false voice). There’s a need to be fully alert to distinguish the loving, but soft voice (similar to the gentle breeze that Elijah heard) of Jesus from that of the false shepherd’s.
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