25 Jul 8 Facts About Christianity
16 And I [Jesus] 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?”
– John 10:16-21
- Jesus’ flock includes sheep from all nations. When Jesus speaks of “sheep…not of this fold” He is speaking to Jewish people to remind them that His heart was to gather people into His flock from all the nations of the earth.
- Jesus’ one big flock is made up of all the flocks we call churches. When Jesus speaks of “one flock” He has in mind all the little flocks/churches coming together forever in the end into one big flock over which He is the Shepherd.
- Jesus is the one Shepherd that all the shepherds work for. When Jesus says He is the “one shepherd” He is asserting His authority over all church and ministry leaders whom He appoints to “shepherd the flock of God” (1 Peter 5:2).
- Jesus’ sheep all listen to his voice. Jesus says that the real Christians, “will listen to my voice”. When we hear God speak in such ways as through Scripture or the Spirit we recognize the voice of our Good Shepherd and respond.
- Jesus’ laid down His life in love for His sheep. When Jesus says of his life, “I lay it down”, He is speaking of His death on the cross as a sacrifice He makes for His sheep. In this, Jesus did not lose His life, but rather chose to lay it down.
- Jesus took up His life in love for His sheep. When Jesus says of His resurrection life after death, “I…take it up again” He is revealing His authority over death. Not only did Jesus die for His sheep, He also lives to continue as our Shepherd forever.
- The enemies of Jesus try to strike the shepherd so the sheep scatter. Jesus quoted the Old Testament on this very point in Matthew 26:31. When Jesus’ critics falsely claim, “He has a demon”, and “He…is insane” they are seeking to strike the Shepherd so that the sheep will scatter.
- Jesus will return and call all shepherds and flocks and sheep by name to follow Him. The picture is a beautiful one. The picture was a large series of pens for various flocks all lead by various shepherds. In that day, if a shepherd came near a town they could pen their flock for the night and come back in the morning to open the gate and call their flock to themselves. Their sheep would respond and run to their shepherd. One day, Jesus our Good Shepherd is returning and will call all His sheep from their various “pens” be it their grave or local church and we will all run to be together with Him in green pastures forever.
Which of these eight truths about Christianity do you find most amazing? Why?