One Flock, One Shepherd
Read John 10:16-21 (ESV)
“And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” Others said, “These are not the words of one oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
How does this passage demonstrate Christ’s love for all people?
Racism continues to be an issue in our society. There has been fighting amongst different ethnic groups since the ancient days. When God created the nation of Israel, His intention was to set them apart and make them a great nation that would point all of the surrounding nations to the One True God. If Israel lived a holy, set apart life, then those who took notice could be drawn into the fold.
Unfortunately, instead of humbly serving as a kingdom of priests, ministering to the Gentile nations, and making the Lord their God known among them, many of Jews became proud and looked down their noses at the surrounding nations, not caring that they were lost. In Ephesians 2:14, Paul referred to this division among Jews and Gentiles as a “wall of hostility” between them. But this is why Jesus came:
“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:11-14).
In today’s passage, Jesus referred to sheep that belong to Him but are in a different fold. These are the Gentiles—people who belong to God but aren’t Jewish. Jesus said that those in this other fold who know His voice are His and He will bring them into His flock so that the two separate flocks would become one. One flock—Jew and Gentile. One Shepherd—the Lord Jesus Christ.
How would He do this? Paul said that Jesus broke down the dividing wall of hostility in His flesh. Jesus said He would lay down His life for His sheep. He would unite the two separate groups of His people by dying for them both!
Jesus said that He had the authority to lay his life down and take it up again because He was given the authority to do so from God the Father who loves Him. But notice that no one made Him do it. He chose to do it. He laid down His life willingly, on His own accord. Why? Because He lovingly obeyed the Father and He loved the people that belong to Him. You likely know this one: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Friends, the hatred that exists between people on the basis of race and ethnicity should not be. The Lord is not a God of partiality (Romans 2:11) therefore, we are not to show partiality (James 2:1). He doesn’t play favorites and neither should we. When God created humanity, He created one race—mankind. All people were created in His image. And it was for all of us that He willingly laid down His life. In Christ, we are one flock and in Him, we have One Good Shepherd.
Lord, search me and know me (Psalm 139:23-24). Expose any partiality or hatred that I might be harboring in my heart against another person made in Your image. Forgive me, Lord, and help me to love all of Your people as You have loved me. Amen.
Reveal: How can you show God’s love to someone that, by the world’s definitions, belongs in a different fold than you (different race, nationality, socio-economic status, etc.)?
~ Pastor Nat Crawford