Skip to main content

Bigger Circles - John 10



In John chapter 10, Jesus continued his critique of the Pharisees who were challenging the healing he had just done for the blind man.  He described himself as the good shepherd and even as the gate to the sheep pen.  In this metaphor we are the sheep.  The good shepherd is our caretaker and the pen provides unity and safety.  The gatekeeper in this situation would often lay down in front of the gate, becoming the gate.  This is why he described himself as the gate itself.  Nobody would come into the Kingdom if it was not through him.  He said that those who came before him, the Pharisees and other church leaders, were thieves and robbers.  There is much to unpack in all of this, but I want to focus on an often missed side statement.  In the middle of all of this he made this statement about sheep from other pastures.  What was he talking about?

"I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd." - John 10:16

Jesus was constantly challenging those around him to expand their circle.  He wanted them to know that those on the outside would become first in the Kingdom.  He was and is a fan of the underdog.  In this metaphor the sheep pen is probably understood to be the nation of Israel.  The other sheep are often understood to be the gentiles and this is why many of us were brought into the faith circle.  This is a valid interpretation, but I think it is worth thinking about who you think is in the fold, and who you think is out.  Jesus is as radical today as he was then, and if you find yourself comfortable with his words you are probably not understanding them.  I think we may all be a little surprised with who we are sharing space with when we look around the final sheep pen.   

God help us to expand our circles.  Amen


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Death Will Lose it's Sting

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. In these verses, Paul reveals a mystery, that in the end some will be transformed, given a new body, instead of facing death.  In other words death is not one of life's two certain terms.  It seems taxes may be the only guarantee.   "...in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except  death and taxes ." - Benjamin Franklin. Ok, all jokes aside, these verses are difficult to read.  Paul looks forward to a time when death will have no victory, it will have lost its sting.  But today, we are in the middle of a pandemic, surrounded by death.  Many are scared for their lives, or their loved ones, and too many have already been lost.  Death does not seem to have lost its sting at all, it feels as if it is closing in. When I worked in wilderness therapy I remember holding a child who was desperately trying to kill himself.  We cried together as he struggled to end it, and I struggled

Fool for Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 2 Corinthians 5.  Verse 13 stood out to me. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:13a (NLT) John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard churches did a famous sermon called "I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?".  Reading this week's text reminded me of this wonderful sermon.  Wimber's sermon reminds us that, as christians, we are called to something truly radical.  The christian walk is strange and counter cultural.  Jesus once explained this to his disciples in John 15 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. You don't belong to this world, I have chosen you out of it.  That is why the world hates you."   Peter, in a letter to the church, later referred to all of us as strangers just passing through this world.   Do you feel like a stranger?  Do you feel like the world hates you?  Are you a fool for Christ? Here is the thing, you are going t

Prayer Part 2 of 4

  This is the second of four weeks the narrative lectionary is focusing on the Lord's Prayer as found in Luke 11:2-4.  This week we are focusing on the second section: "Give us this day our daily bread." At the time and place that Jesus said this, bread was the center of every meal.  To his people, it had a long history of being a symbol for God's provision.  It was often used to refer to any meal or food, and in this case Jesus expands it to represent all of our needs.   A long time ago, in a place that had been ravaged with war, orphanages were overwhelmed with children.  In one of the facilities, the relief workers noted that the children had trouble falling asleep each night.  They struggled with anxiety, wondering if they would have food for the next day.  Their lack of sleep led to more anxiety and a troubling downward spiral of their mental and physical health.  In an effort to meet their needs the workers tried something new one night.  As they tucked each chi