“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — just as the Father knows me and I know the Father — and I lay down my life for the sheep.
[...] My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:14, 15, 27)
In the verses I quoted above, Jesus makes a comparison of the relationship between Him and His Father (they are one) with the relationship between Him and the sheep, that represents His followers.
So He offers a relationship where we can know Him so deeply, so there is no way that we could mistake Him for someone else.
The sheep has a sensible hearing, much better than most animals, so it doesn’t mistake the voice of their shepherd for other person.
That reminds me of Lady, my family’s dog. She lost her sight a while ago due to a congenital disease. So without her vision, she trusts completely on her other senses to move around the house and to recognize people around her.
When I arrive at the apartment, the moment she hears the door opening, she starts barking. Then I tell her “It’s OK, Lady, it is me”. She immediately lowers her ears, stop barking and starts wagging her tail.
She knows my voice.
If she is walking towards an object, she can’t see it is there. So I tell her “halt”, she stops. She doesn’t know why, but she trusts me. She knows that if I told her to stop moving, she’d better do it.
There are a few times that she feels more confident than prudent, so I tell her to halt but she keeps moving. It is not often, but sometimes it happens, and there is usually no time to keep her from bumping her head. I run to her and try to keep her from moving forward. If I’m too late, I make sure she is fine and show her the way to go.
Even tough she knows my voice and knows she can trust me, sometimes she chooses not to obey. And she soon learns that whatever it is that I am telling her to do, it is for her own good and safety.
I can’t help but see a parallel with my behavior towards Jesus. I learned to recognize His voice, but sometimes I choose to take one more step. Not deliberately, my choice is always to obey Him, but there is this other voice inside, called “rebellion”, that tells me there is no harm in taking one more step. Or changing direction.
Listening to His voice is a choice that we have to make every moment, with every decision.
Even if I choose otherwise, Jesus still runs to me and help me get back on my feet. He still loves me, even if I choose to take one more step. And He is always there to show us the way to go.
Learn to recognize His voice, and choose to listen to it. He will guide you through this life and one day, you will meet with Him face to face.