“My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me.”
There’s something about hearing a voice isn’t there? My first time away from home I lived in France in a dorm that had only one phone. I remember how eagerly I looked forward to my dad’s weekly call. Because of the time difference I had to creep downstairs in the early morning to catch the call coming through; I didn’t mind the cold tiles or the early hour, I liked so much to hear his voice.
Jesus’ voice to us is the same. We like so much to hear that voice! I can’t hear him like I heard my dad on the phone, but when we read his words, or when we think of them through the day, it is as though his voice is speaking in our ears; his voice warms and strengthens our hearts.
“Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
“I am the living water, he who comes to me will never thirst.”
“I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not have darkness, but have the light of life.”
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will never die.”
In the little hymn below, Horatius Bonar tells us how he heard these words of Jesus, and how he responded; he believed him, he came to him. “How do we come to God?” Bonar asked his congregation one Sunday. We come with our sins, he said. We come with our weariness, our thirst, and our need. In fact, these are the only ways we can come to God, or we can’t come at all.
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I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto me and rest;
lay down, O weary one, lay down your head upon my breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;
I found in him a resting place, and he has made me glad.
I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Behold, I freely give
the living water; thirsty one, stoop down and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in him.
I heard the voice of Jesus say, “l am this dark world’s light;
look unto me, your morn shall rise, and all your days be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found in him my Star, my Sun;
And in that light of life I’ll walk, til traveling days are done.
Horatius Bonar, 1846