“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:3)
Stephen was a commercial fisherman. At the end of the season, he wanted to make one last trip to the fishing banks off the Maine coast. Even though rugged weather was predicted, he decided to make the trip anyway.
Two days after leaving shore, all communication between Stephen’s boat and the mainland was cut off. At first, no one was too concerned. But when we continued to have no radio contact, and when the weather had become much worse than expected, Stephen’s family and friends became very worried.
There were about twenty of us gathered at Stephen and Maria’s house. His two boys were there with their friends. His father and siblings were there, anxious to hear from him while also unhappy that Stephen went out despite the forecast. Neighbors and other fishermen came in and out, waiting for news.
Maria kept turning on the radio: “Stephen, are you there? Please signal. Over.”
We waited through the day. We waited into the night. The room became really quiet, and then suddenly, some crackling began to come over the radio. We all gathered around the radio, all of us praying and holding our breath, and then we heard a voice: “Maria, Maria, Maria. I’m O.K. We just broke through the storm. I’m coming home.”
What did it mean when Stephen called out Maria’s name? Everything. Life. Love. Hope. Home.
Today’s scripture tells us that Jesus calls us all by name. What does it mean for our Savior to call us by name? Everything. Life. Love. Hope. Home.
As with the extended prayer vigil we had waiting to hear from Stephen, I encourage us to have our own extended prayer vigil to hear Jesus. When we finally hear Jesus call us by name, we will know that all our waiting, praying, and hoping was more than worth it.
- Have you ever heard Jesus call you by name? If so, what did that feel like? If not, what would it take for you to listen until you did?
- When I hear Jesus call me by name, I don’t hear Him say, “Jim” or “James.” I hear Him say my childhood name: “Jamie.” Does Jesus have a special name for you?
- Jesus calls us by name so that we, His sheep, will know where to go, what to do, and how much we’re loved. If you’re feeling lost, confused, alone, or in despair, listen. He is there waiting for you to hear him.