[Jesus said], “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.”
The people who gathered to listen to Jesus preach thought they could look around and see what good church people should look like. They were mostly the same ethnic group, came from mostly the same socio-economic class, and spoke mostly the same language. The people around them, people just like them, were the best candidates to become followers of Jesus—or so they thought.
Jesus simply stunned them. He said that other sheep would be following him, and his meaning was clear. He was talking about people who were not present, especially people who did not look and sound like the crowds listening to him at that time.
His words divided the people who were there. Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?” (John 10:20).
Jesus went out and did what he said he must do. He laid down his life to pay for the sins of the world, and he called his sheep, his followers, from around the world. He taught that forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation through faith in him were gifts for people of all ages, all ethnic groups, all situations in life. He declared that everyone who believes in him would join his one flock with one shepherd.
Do you look different from other people following Jesus where you live? Do you struggle with the language they use to worship? Take heart! You are one of Jesus’ little lambs just like they are. You deserve to be in Jesus’ sheep pen just as much as they do—which is to say, not at all, because every member of Jesus’ flock is in it by grace.
Do not rule anyone out of the sheep pen because they are from a different ethnic group, live in a different way, or speak a different language. The voice of Jesus is powerful, and he calls people from every walk of life to follow him.
Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 263:3)
O Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, the heavenly Father, you did for all our sins atone, and your lost sheep you gather. O Lamb of God, to you on high from depths of woe we sinners cry. Have mercy on us, Jesus.
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