Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10
“A loud voice cannot compete with a clear voice, even if it’s a whisper.” – Barry Neal Kaufman
The tenth chapter of John’s Gospel has mixed metaphors. On the one hand the sheep recognize the voice of the shepherd, supposedly Jesus, but not the voice of the thief. On the other hand Jesus says that he is the gate to the sheep compound, supposedly the gate not the shepherd. One could go either direction, voice or gate, with this reading. Let’s look at voice. It is one thing to hear the voice of Jesus and follow. It is another thing to be that voice for others. We have all heard the expression that in living the Christian life we may be the hands of Jesus doing his work here on earth. Let us also consider being the voice of Jesus bringing consolation and perhaps even wisdom to others. Family members after living together for many years sometimes vocally sound like each other in inflection and ways of saying things, and perhaps also in attitudes. We can hear the father or mother in the voice of their children. After many years in the Christian family, listening to the voice of Jesus, we hopefully begin to sound like him. Voice can reveal character, even the character of Jesus in our own voice. We may be the only voice of Jesus that some may ever hear, even if it is only a whisper. A pagan writer in the early days of Christianity, after criticizing the beliefs of the Christians, said “but notice how they love one another.” That “sounds” like Jesus. Do we sound that way? Nearly 49 million people in the United States live in poverty. That includes 15.9 million children. The scenario gets worse as we move around the world. Hello. Anybody there? Can’t hear you.
In this story that Jesus tells some translations call it a “parable” (John 10:6). Most call it a “figure of speech.” In this story the usual word for parable is not used. A parable is a comparison. The actual word used here literally means a dark saying or a manner of speaking that conceals meaning. The use of that word immediately tells us that there is something deeper here than a simple comparison, something much deeper than meets the eye.
I know that voice from
somewhere deep within myself.
Pursue the whisper.