Christ knows His people by certain distinguishing marks
“I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own sheep–and they know Me!” John 10:14
The Jewish shepherds had certain marks by which they knew their own sheep. Even in this country, the farmers put “brands” on their sheep–their own initial, or an “ear-mark,” or some other particular sign by which they will know them anywhere. Christ knows His people by certain distinguishing marks.
He knows them by their faces. There is something in every true child of God, which shows to whom he belongs–some family likeness, some feature of the Divine image shining out. The prodigal’s father knew his son when he saw him a long way off. In his rags, in his beggary–the eye of love recognized the child. Just so, Christ knows His own people, however dim the likeness–by their faces. The crowds do not recognize heaven’s princes, in the humble Christians they meet; but Jesus does!
Not only does Christ know His own by their faces–but also by their voice. The mother knows her child’s voice anywhere, even in the darkness, and can distinguish it among a thousand voices. Christ knows the voices of His own people, wherever He hears them speak or cry.
He knows them also by their character. Even if the outside is rough and uncouth, it does not hide from His eye, the inner life–the spirit, the heart. He saw the future Peter with all his grandeur of character–in the crude Simon who was brought to Him.
He knows His friends by their obedience. He knows His disciples–by their following where He leads.
He also knows the white garments of righteousness which His redeemed one’s wear.
He knows the penitent heart–by the fragrance it puts forth. It is an altar of incense. It is a box of ointment broken open. Just as we find out the hiding-places of flowers by their fragrances–so God knows the home of the penitent heart by the sweetness that wafts up from it.
“I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own sheep–and they know Me!”
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Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001