Bible Reading: John 10:16
“I have other sheep [beside these] that are not of this fold. I must bring those also, and they will listen to My voice and pay attention to My call, and they will become one flock with one Shepherd” [John 10:16 Amplified Bible]
This morning we were singing in the meeting the words, “Spirit break out, Break our walls down.” There was a wall between the Jews and the Gentiles, and Jesus came to break down that barrier. Paul writes, “For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us” [Ephesians 2:14 NLT]. When Jesus spoke of ‘other sheep that are not of this fold’ He was speaking about the Gentiles. These were literally anyone who was not a Jew.
Israel was called by God to be His instrument of blessing to the Gentiles. God’s original covenant with Abraham was that in him all the families of the earth would be blessed [Genesis 12:3]. God’s purpose for Israel was for them to be a model nation to other nations and that through them “all the families of the earth would be blessed”. Solomon also made it clear that if Israel honoured God then His reputation among the nations would draw them to Him [1 Kings 8:41-43].
Israel tragically failed, through sin, disobedience and rebellion to fulfil God’s plan to reach the Gentiles. God has never stopped loving Israel. Jesus Himself was a Jew, and His earthly ministry was primarily to the people of Israel. Apart from some rare exceptions His ministry was to Jewish people. Our Bible verse today is the only time in John’s Gospel that Jesus specifically speaks about non-Jews coming into God’s Kingdom, although He implied it when He prayed for those who would believe on Him [John 17:20-21], and it is obviously implied in “For God so loved the world that whosoever believes…”
Now to the church Jesus has given the task of gathering in the harvest of people saved out of every nation. The great danger is that we forget this amazing call, through myopic vision and selfishness. Like Israel we are called to be stewards and not hoarders of this vision. We are called to reach the least, the lost and the last. Let’s break out of the walls that hinder us, and reach those who are still waiting to hear, on whatever continent it might be. Let’s not be like Israel and miss God’s purpose.
What does it mean that there should be one flock and one Shepherd?
What are the sins that Israel fell into and thus failed to fulfil God’s purpose? Why is that an example for us?
On a personal level, when did you last share the Gospel with someone who is still lost? Israel was meant to allow the gentiles to come to them, but we are called to go to the lost everywhere. What are you doing personally about this?