Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

November 27, 1893

The True Sheep Respond to the Voice of the Shepherd

By Mrs. E. G. White

“I am the Good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd.”

In the East it is the custom of the shepherd to name his sheep, and as the sheep learn their names, they respond to the voice of the shepherd. The shepherd goes before them and leads them out, guiding them from the fold to the pasture. The sheep recognize the voice of the shepherd and follow him. Jesus declared himself to be the true shepherd, because he gave his life for the sheep. He says; “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

Jesus spoke these words in the hearing of a large concourse of people, and a deep impression was made upon the hearts of many who listened. The scribes and Pharisees were filled with jealousy because he was regarded with favor by many. Among the multitude were also rulers, who were deeply impressed as they listened to his important words. While he represented himself as the True Shepherd, the Pharisees said, “He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?” But others distinguished the voice of the True Shepherd, and said:

“These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not; the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.”

With what firmness and power he uttered these words. The Jews had never before heard such words from human lips, and a convicting influence attended them; for it seemed that divinity flashed through humanity as Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.” The words of Christ were full of deep meaning as he put forth the claim that he and the Father were of one substance, possessing the same attributes. The Jews understood his meaning, there was no reason why they should misunderstand, and they took up stones to stone him. Jesus looked upon them calmly and unshrinkingly, and said, “Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of these works do ye stone me?”

The Majesty of heaven stood, calmly assured, as a god before his adversaries. Their scowling faces, their hands filled with stones, did not intimidate him. He knew that unseen forces, legions of angels, were round about him, and at one word from his lips they would strike with dismay the throng, should they offer to cast upon him a single stone. He stood before them undaunted. Why did not the stones fly to the mark?—It was because divinity flashed through humanity, and they received a revelation, and were convicted that his were no common claims. Their hands relax and the stones fall to the ground. His words had asserted his divinity, but now his personal presence, the light of his eye, the majesty of his attitude, bore witness to the fact that he was the beloved Son of God.

Had the Pharisees misunderstood his words, he could and would have corrected their wrong impression. He could have told them that he was no blasphemer, although he had called himself the Son of God, and that his words need not necessarily mean that he had invested himself with divine prerogatives, and made himself equal with the Father. But he made no such statement. The impression they had received was the very impression he desired to make. Jesus answered them: “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken; say ye of Him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works; that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.” Again the hatred and the wrath is stirred within the breast of the Jews, and they sought “to take him; but he escaped out of their hand, and went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode. And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle; but all things that John spake of this man were true. And many believed on him there.

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