Two great truths appear in John 10. First, there is one fold and one Shepherd. Second, Jesus the Shepherd lay down His life for His sheep. No one took His life from Him, rather, He, of His own choosing lay down His life for His sheep! In our day of multiplicity--especially regarding religion, how can there be only one church. After all, there are thousands of denominations. How can that be?
15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
(John 10:15-18, King James Version)
There are two great truths that jump out at us in these verses from John 10. The first, found in verse 16 is that there is one fold and one Shepherd. The other, found in verses 17 & 18, is a declaration by Christ the Shepherd that no one took His life. He, of His own choosing lay down His life for His sheep.
In our day of multiplicity--especially regarding religion, it hardly seems possible that, in reality, Christ has only one fold. The Jewish people thought they had the "corner of the market" on Jesus. He was their leader! Jesus was making a rather remarkable announcement! All true believers are a part of Jesus' fold, and are part of His church. Sometimes I think we will be rather surprised as to who we find when we cross the portals of death to a new life!
The fact that Jesus gave up His own life, rather than had it taken from Him is extremely significant. What kind of a Christ is Jesus to you? Was He a good man who just happened to fall into bad circumstances by continually offending the Jewish leaders? Not hardly! Jesus came this world of His creation by His own volition, and could have left it at any time of His choosing. He could have avoided the savage cruelty of the the cross. But, he did not! Oh, what love!
How closely do we mirror the love of Christ, especially to unbelievers we meet every day? Even more thought provoking, how closely do we mirror the love of Christ to fellow believers? No, we are not God, and cannot die for the sins of others, but we are commanded to love as Christ loved.
Let us pray, that by the grace of God we would break the bonds of our prejudices against other professing believers who are not members of our "group," and let us pray that the love of Christ would be manifested in everything we do this day.