How to Hear the Voice of Jesus: Expectancy and Familiarity

“Hey, I’m home,” I call out as I enter the front door of our home.

It has been a long day of travel to conference meetings and I am exhausted from a lot of sitting. As the echo of my voice still hangs in the air, I hear a commotion coming from the bedrooms.

In just a moment, I hear the door swing open and a chorus of screams from my kids, “Daddy’s home!” This is followed by what can only be described as the sound of stampeding elephants as they run out to greet me. I love coming home. It is one of those wonderfully magical moments you get to have as a dad.

What caused this wild reaction from my children? They hadn’t seen me coming—they had been too busy with their toys and video games to notice. It wasn’t the sound of the door—I have come and gone many times to run brief errands and I can tell you that they don’t come running each time the door opens.

It was the sound of my voice coupled with the expectation of seeing me. They were looking forward to my return after being gone and they knew they sound of my voice when I came home.

The Sound of Jesus’ Voice

In John chapter 10, Jesus says that his sheep follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow the stranger because they don’t know the stranger’s voice, but they know his voice. Hearing Jesus’ voice involves two things: Expectancy and Familiarity.

Expectancy

One theme that runs through scripture is that of waiting on the Lord. This theme reveals that Jesus is actively moving in the world in general and in our lives in particular. Therefore, we should wait and watch for his prompts and leading.

We expect to encounter him in day-to-day life. Perhaps, you will hear his voice through the encouragement or advice of a friend. Maybe you will discover his voice in the beauty of creation as he speaks to you through the grandeur and magnificence of nature. He can even speak to you through the words on the page of book or the dialogue in the latest podcast you enjoy.

Now that you are watching and waiting to hear Jesus, that makes me wonder, how is it that you come to know the voice of Jesus?

Familiarity

I have never experienced an audible voice of tones that I could hear and then say, “That is what Jesus’ voice sounds like”. I can’t tell you whether Jesus’ voice is deep or has more of a tenor quality to it. I can’t tell you if it is raspy or soft and smooth. So how is it that you and I can know the voice of Jesus?

Is it possible the way we learn Jesus’ voice is primarily through prayer and reading scripture? As we read the words of scripture we learn the qualities and characteristics of Jesus’ voice so we can identify it in other circumstances. This prepares us to be able to hear him as we wait in those everyday moments while in conversation with a friend, sitting on a park bench, or reading and listening to media.

To hear Jesus’ voice, we have to be engaged in a conversation with him. We have to practice listening to him by reading scripture and praying.

As we practice, we notice that we can hear his voice everywhere and we can come running to him.

Are you actively engaging Jesus in the scriptures so that you can grow closer to him and learn his voice?

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