The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
I am not very good at remembering names. It is something that I have to work hard at, and I will often write them down to help me remember. I don’t care about remembering the names of people in the news or those I have just met in passing. But I want to learn the names of those I will be around and have a relationship with. It is, for me, the first step in getting to know someone. To be able to call them by name, and to be called by name, is significant.
Jesus is the good shepherd. And as the good shepherd, he knows his sheep. And he calls us each by our name. This is more than just being able to recall our names. It indicates that he knows each of us personally. I am not just a nameless face in the crowd to Jesus. He knows me personally and calls out to me by name, as an individual. And he cares for me as a shepherd who cares for the needs of each member of his flock.
I am pretty insignificant among the nearly eight billion people on this planet. And even more so when I consider the vastness of the creation. Yet, the one who created all of this knows me by name. And he calls me by name, leading me out into green pastures. To him, I am significant. And I find great comfort in that.