A post from several years ago about diversity in the body of Christ.
16And 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. John 10:16
I sometimes cut comic strips out of the paper and save them. I particularly love a certain For Better or For Worse that I have had on my bulletin board for several years. The first frame has a teacher addressing her class and telling them, “Listen, everyone – I’ve divided our class into 6 groups!”, in the second frame she continues, “Each group has 4 people in it, and each group is represented by a different color.”. In the third frame, April asks a classmate of a different race what group he is in and finds out that they are in the same group. The final frame has them arm in arm with April proclaiming, “This is cool,Duncan – we’re both the same color!!”.
This verse made me think of this comic strip. When Jesus says He has sheep from another pen, He is telling a largely Jewish audience that He is going to include Gentiles (or all non Jews) in His coming act of redemption. To say that Jews disliked Gentiles would be a vast understatement. They felt they were better than them; after all, God had chosen them to be His special people. To them no one else was worthy of a relationship with God. This continued after Christ’s death and resurrection, the Jewish Christians had trouble accepting Gentiles into their faith; even Peter was called out on this way of thinking by Paul.
Jesus did not come for a select few. I think it is interesting to note that in the preceding verse when Jesus is speaking of laying down His life, He uses the article “the” to describe sheep, instead of the possessive word “My”. I think He makes this change in semantics to let us know that His death and the life it provides is not just available to an already chosen select few, but is accessible by all. To accurately leave His footprints in this area we cannot let surface level differences between us and another person prevent us from sharing God’s love with them. They may have a different skin color, a different income level, a different taste in clothes or music or movies, a different political bent, a different sexual orientation, or maybe just a different lifestyle altogether. This should not matter to us one bit. We are to take the love of God to them all. I urge you to minister to someone very unlike yourself today.