“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10.14-18
Jesus is the man! I tell you what! Who has authority besides him to not only lay his life down, but to take it up again? Do you realize what he is saying? He has the power over life and death? He has been given this authority by the Father to sacrifice himself for the sins of the world.
In this passage, Jesus speaks to the “other sheep that are not of this sheep pen.” Other sheep who “too will listen to my voice” and he will make them “one flock” and he will be there “one shepherd.” Some might think this could be the muslims (I have heard that argument) or some other group that he is going to be their shepherd. But I couldn’t disagree more. He’s speaking to Jews who are of one flock and the additional flock he is referring to I believe are gentile Christians.
The second flock Jesus has that are “not of this sheep pen” are gentiles who he will win over to the Gospel because of the Jews’ rejection of his message. Numerous times throughout the gospels Jesus speaks about taking his message to those who will hear, receive and listen (see Romans 15.8-9, Luke 14.13-23). Paul in the book of Acts becomes the primary ambassador taking the Gospel to the gentiles even after many hard fought arguments with Peter.
The second flock will “listen to his voice” and are loved by God from the beginning. They were not God’s original chosen people but have been included in God’s inheritance to receive eternal life. Even today, when one visits Israel, it’s the millions of visiting Christians who fill the holy sites rather than the resident Jews who remain faithful to the Yahweh and the Law of Moses.
My point is this — Jesus has two flocks that will become one with they hear his voice, follow him, and receive forgiveness of sins. The gentiles have been grafted in as Ephesians 2.11-13 says, ” Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. 12 In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. 13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.”
By the blood of the Christ! This is what saves us, this is our focus, Jesus is God. Anyone who rejects Jesus rejects God. Anyone who does not enter the flock through the Gate called Jesus will not share in abundant life today or eternal life to come.
“O Lord God, you are good. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with power and love. Thank you that you include all sinners into your fold. That you are a shepherd who has one flock who hears your voice. We make your agenda our devotion. Your ways are our ways and turning from sin and living for the Father should be the goal of all believers. Come now, loving Lord, help me be the person you have called me to be. Prepare me for heaven. Position me for holiness. Reawaken my love for you that the world might know you are good and that you are God and that your love endures forever.” Amen