Letters to the Prison - Week 108

Hello, everyone.  We hope you will join our study of John.  If you need a Bible, ask for one!
Last week, Jesus had some mind-blowing things to say about himself –and us.  He’s not done:
•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. -John10:16
We’ve already seen that Jesus is clearly no longer speaking of literal sheep.  He’s talking about people.  His people.  They belong to him.  And they will listen to his voice.  That’s a wild enough claim to make as it is… that people belong to Jesus.  He has them.  He owns them.  And they obey him.  They listen.  This is already evident, as we have seen, in the response of the man born blind.  The Apostle Paul also affirms the truth of this claim when he writes:
•Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.1 Corinthians 6:19-20
God’s people belong to God.  He owns them.  They don’t own themselves.  He paid a price for them:  The life of his Son, Jesus.  This is the life that the Good Shepherd lays down for his sheep (John 10:11, 15).  This is what Jesus is claiming as he stands there in Jerusalem in the flesh speaking in person to those gathered before him… including the man born blind who is already glorifying God in his body right then and there by worshipping Jesus.  He has heard the Good Shepherd’s voice.  He has recognized him.  He has listened.  And he is obeying.  Is that like us?
Jesus doesn’t just claim to own people.  He claims that he will bring them…  from other folds.  What does that mean?  The idea that Jesus brings people (who are compared to sheep –arguably one the most helpless and stubborn animals in the world) implies that they aren’t otherwise willing or able to bring themselves.  Jesus’ people need to be rescued.  They are helpless on their own.  Do we recognize that in ourselves?  Our own helplessness?  Do we recognize that we need Jesus to rescue us?  Some of the Pharisees listening to Jesus at this moment don’t.  Which is why their guilt remains (John 9:41).  We need to consider such things carefully.
What about “other folds?”  A fold was a stone pen designed for keeping sheep.  So, when Jesus claims to own sheep in other folds and that he will bring them also, what is he saying?  Keep in mind the fact that, as Jesus speaks these words, he is in Jerusalem in Judea speaking to Jewish people.  But his message and sacrifice and promise of eternal life is for people from all nations and from all times.  People like us.  So, Jesus doesn’t just claim to own Jewish people.  He claims to own people from “folds” all over the world… people he hasn’t even met… in person, at least.  And Jesus will soon die on a cross for the sake of his entire flock.  How will that work?  
Nevertheless, the truth of this claim works out very shortly after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension.  For further reading, see Acts 1:8, Acts 8, and Acts 10.  That begins the record of the spread of the Gospel from Judea to the rest of the world… the record of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, calling his flock and bringing his people into his fold.  And it continues today.
Jesus has something even more astonishing to say.  We’ll look at it next week!  We love you!

Dean .A

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