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27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.


Unbelieving Jews were not volitionally open to Jesus, but His true disciples were. There is a sharp contrast between these two groups.

27 My sheep hear My voice [Jn 10:4f, 16b],

Jesus’ flock responded to His message. They believed what He said. The reason Jesus’ sheep followed Him was that they acted on God’s drawing them to Himself. God always takes the initiative in our salvation.

Most Jews made a volitional decision not to respond to God’s initiative. People cannot make themselves sheep. They cannot hear a voice unless the voice is first presented to them. Genuine sheep are not passive recipients of salvation; they have an active part of believing. They listen; they follow. Their action followed God’s action and provision.

and I know them,

There is a close and cherished relation between Jesus and His disciples.

and they follow Me.

Jesus’ disciples applied His teaching to their lives. They accepted His message as valid and true. The phrase “and they follow me” does not suggest perseverance of the saints or perseverance in discipleship. The context is believing in Jesus.


Believers show their genuineness by responding positively to Jesus’ credentials.


Genuine sheep respond to the Shepherd. They hear His voice and do what He says. Jesus did not suggest that His Jewish hearers could never become part of His flock. At this point they had not made a decision for Him.