He Knows Your Name
Have you ever heard God call your name? My dad experienced this one day, quite literally, while he was sitting in a pub, cigarette in one hand and a pint of beer in the other. A clear voice suddenly said to him, “Graham, what are you doing here?” (To hear what happened next, listen to this podcast http://adventistradio.london/podcast/podcast-plot-twist/ )
One of my dad’s favourite Bible verses is Isaiah 43:1, where God is speaking: “I have called you by name, and you are mine.” God knows my father’s name; he knows your name too.
I have never heard God say my name aloud. However, I have heard God speak to me. He has often said something in ways that appeal to my personality and make sense to me—through books, music, beauty, heartbreak, and unshakeable impressions, among other means. (To read some of my stories of experiencing God, visit https://lynetterallcock.wixsite.com/beautyseeker.)
God is always speaking, wanting to connect with us. Throughout history, God has always talked to people in the ways that they can understand best. This was his pattern through the stories and speeches of Jesus, too. In this week’s chapter of Messiah, Jesus compares himself to a shepherd taking care of his sheep, which would have been a common sight in his day. But as a twenty-first century city-dweller, I feel it is a little harder for me to understand! What is Jesus trying to say by calling himself a good shepherd?
One of my favourite things about this illustration is that a good shepherd knows his unique sheep. A good shepherd, even today, doesn’t see an indistinguishable mass of white wool when he looks at his flock—he knows each sheep, and the sheep knows him. The sheep recognises the shepherd’s voice and responds to it. When Jesus compared himself to a good shepherd, he had the same thought in mind. “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me.” (John 10:14)
In this speech, Jesus makes it clear that not only does he know his “sheep,” but he speaks to them, cares about them to the pointing of giving up his own life for them, and purposes to give them a rich and satisfying life. That love and goodness is for each person—individually.
“Jesus knows each of us as individuals… He knows where we live and the things we face each day… He knows each of us as well as He would if we were the only ones for whom he came to die. He knows our needs and our pain… He cares for each of us as if there were not another person on the planet.” (Messiah pp 270-271)
As if there were not another person on the planet! I love that. God is not dividing limited love and attention between us. He knows you and he cares for you with all the focus and concern of a good shepherd.
Join in our book club discussion in the comments below!
- Read Psalm 23, Isaiah 40:10-11, and Luke 15:3-7. How does this help you understand more about what it means for God to be your good shepherd?
- How has God been speaking to you lately? If you’ve been having trouble hearing him, go to previous episodes of the Breakfast Show where Lynette talks about how to listen to God. Start here: http://adventistradio.london/podcast/does-god-actually-speak-to-people/
This chapter of Messiah is based on John 10:1-18 in the Bible.
If you’d like to get a copy of “Messiah” by Jerry D Thomas or a free Bible, let us know.
 Chapter 52 “The Good Shepherd”