“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 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.*
I love the “I am” statements of Jesus, and this passage in John 10, is one of my favorites — I am the good shepherd.
All throughout the previous verses, Jesus has shown us the difference between himself, the watchman, the thieves, robbers, strangers and hired hands.
Jesus alone is the one who has laid down his life for the sheep; he has made himself the gateway into safety and rest; and his sheep know the difference in his voice, as he calls them to himself.
The relationship we have with Jesus is like the relationship Jesus has with God the Father — We are KNOWN by Him, and we KNOW Him.
There is nothing in this world that can give us the intimacy of the relationship Christ longs to have with us.
- No other human can know the depths of our heart and needs like Jesus.
- No philosophy or political party will sacrifice on our behalf.
- No amount of money or material gain will give us security and rest.
- No other religion can guarantee salvation from sin or eternal life in Heaven.
I have to laugh when I hear people talk about the exclusivity of Christianity, and this passage helps to squash that false narrative. I think even Jesus’ disciples were a bit taken by surprise with the words he shared. Listen to them again:
Here was this Jewish hodgepodge of men, following a Jewish rabbi, thinking he was the Jewish Messiah, but all the while not realizing that God’s plan was not limited by nationality, ethnicity, social standing, language or even personal righteousness.
Jesus came to save ALL who would believe. — There is no other movement or religion as INCLUSIVE as that.
I think some will be surprised, on the day of his return, to see how beautifully diverse that one flock is! As one who has traveled around the world and seen the flock in a multitude of settings, I can tell you that it will look nothing like our homogeneous gatherings on this earth.
Does that mean it’s wrong for the people in “my pen” to look like me? No, but we all need to guard against becoming unwelcoming to those who come through our gates who do look different or speak differently.
The sheep of the Good Shepherd should practice hospitality to those whom that same shepherd is calling into the fold.
Woe to me, if I try to keep a new sheep from entering the pen! It’s not “mine” anyway — it belongs to Jesus.
My late husband had good insight about the pen of Christ. He would say different denominations or groups of Christian believers play different roles in the work of the Kingdom. As long as Christ is the head of a church, we need to recognize that God is using them to reach different people for the growth of the Kingdom.
In the end – We are One Flock under the care of the Good Shepherd.
Are you a part of his flock? Don’t wait any longer. Today is the day of salvation.
Grace and Peace
John 10:14-16 (NIV)