“…Tell us plainly”
Here, we have the universal excuse of all who are perishing: “Why wasn’t I told..?”
The question may be sincere and most believers want to give a sincere answer but there is a trap embedded in the Jews’ question. We are suddenly tempted to alter, the message and make it more palatable for the benefit of unbelievers. “Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” Or, “Jesus is hip, groovy and wants to be your friend and heal your pain.” Jesus’ response,
“I already told you… but you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.”
Let these words sink in. How does one become a sheep? You might say, by believing, but look again at the verse. He does not say that they are not sheep because they don’t believe. He says that don’t believe because they aren’t His sheep!
You don’t become a sheep. You are a sheep! You have to be a sheep in order to believe! Could these Jews choose to believe? No. They were incapable of believing. On what basis? According to Christ, on the basis of them not being sheep. No point changing the message.
“My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me…”
Sheep, if they hear the chief Shepherd’s voice will believe. Goats, on the other hand, will not.
Once a sheep, always a sheep. You may be a lost sheep, an asleep sheep; you may even be a dead sheep, but if you are ever going to believe, you must first be a sheep.
There are two incredibly liberating things about this truth.
First, we have a job to do. There are lost sheep out there – That’s a guarantee. And each and every one of you has the glorious task of going out and finding them.
Second, we have the method. We deliver in the message given to us by Jesus. There are people out there who are desperately lost – they will only be found as you declare given to us by the Father – it’s the only voice they know to follow.
And they will be found because Christ says they will be – every last one.