Sunday Services @ 9:15am & 10:45am
John 10:11-21 – I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 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 own 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 who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
One of the great ironies of life in this age is that words like “unity” and “love” and “acceptance” have never been more revered, nor have they ever been less understood. People of this age claim a deep desire for harmony. We worship “acceptance” with a near-religious zeal, and we burn heretics who blaspheme that perfect ideal. But a great hypocrisy lies just below the surface of this culture vision of unity. Our culture accepts everyone, as long as everyone thinks like them. They love all people who fit their standard of being lovely. They claim a thirst for unity, but they choose those worthy of that honor with a tribal-like mentality.
Jesus was both a uniter and a divider. On one hand, He understood that His exclusive message – “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” – would separate people from Him. (To be clear, those people separate themselves!) Jesus spoke those words with strength. He came on a rescue mission, but those who refuse to be rescued will perish.
On the other hand, Jesus introduced a vision of unity beyond what anyone in His day could grasp. He came to His own (the Jews), but as He ministered to them He dropped hints like the one in this passage: I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.
I am one of those other sheep from a different fold. We are found all over the globe, in every nation. We speak different languages. Our skin comes in different shades. We listen to different music and live in different-type houses and work different-type jobs – but we have this great commonality – we follow Jesus Christ. There is one flock. One shepherd.
That’s a unity that will last, and it is open to every single person on earth. You aren’t born into this family, but you are adopted into it. If you hear the voice of the Shepherd, respond!