[reprinted from May 14, 2009]
â€œI am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and they know me. Just as the Father knows me, I know the Father, and I give up my life for my sheep. I have other sheep that are not in this sheep pen. I must bring them together too, when they hear my voice. Then there will be one flock of sheep and one shepherd.â€Â Â Â Â Â Â John 10:14-16 (CEV)
What if the place where you worship every week had a sign out front that only said, â€œCHURCHâ€? That’s it. No denominational symbol or name. No indication if the building was the â€œFirstâ€ or â€œSecondâ€ or â€œLastâ€ or â€œOnlyâ€. I ask this question because after reading Jesus’ words about His identity as shepherd and and His identification of me as a sheep, I do not think there was a denominational name on the front of His sheep pen. I think the sheep are identified by their connection to the shepherd.
Jesus says He is a good and knowledgeable shepherd. Jesus is the True One who tends those He has been given by the Father. He cares for us even to the point of giving His life for us. We know that! We celebrate that in our weekly worship!
Jesus says He has sheep in different pens. He is telling His Jewish disciples that they aren’t the exclusive sheep! This is a hard concept for them. They have grown up knowing they are the Chosen People. Now Jesus says they aren’t the only ones He wants in His one flock.
To go back to my original question: What if the place where you worship every week had a sign out front that only said, â€œCHURCHâ€? Fellow sheep would come in based on the hearts of the sheep they found in that pen because we would be following the same Shepherd, right?
â€œI have loved you, just as my Father has loved me. So remain faithful to my love for you.â€Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â John 15:9 (CEV)
Which sheep does Jesus love best? ALL who hear His voice and remain faithful in His love for them.