One day, Jesus was sharing with His disciples the concept of the shepherd, and the sheepfold, as recorded in John 10. He wanted them to understand how important it was to belong to something bigger than themselves. Sociologists will tell us that our affiliation need can only be satisfied within the context of belonging to a group. It is also in this setting that we can draw on the parts we need from other people. Jesus also wanted His followers to understand the importance of having a shepherd, or leader, over them. We need leadership to encourage and direct us toward the things necessary for our proper development. I believe that the life of Jesus Christ, and the things He declared, still speaks volumes about the way we should conduct ourselves…and even our heart attitude.
So what can we learn from John 10:16? Jesus said, “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold, them also I must bring…” This is probably the most difficult of the principles Jesus expressed. Although the other aspects found in John 10 are natural, it seems difficult for us to follow our affiliation needs without having an enemy to rally against. We can witness this in the political debates within our country today. In order to rally followers and raise money, the leaders encourage a fortress mentality among the faithful. We cannot just have people different than ourselves; they must be the enemy to awaken the needed fervor. The major news networks have discovered that the best way to develop and grow a devoted following is to take a side and be as controversial as possible. This has certainly stoked the flames of animosity between the various groups. Unfortunately, rather than expanding the reach of the groups, everyone has become even more alienated from those outside their affiliation, creating a stalemate in our nation! We need the counsel of Jesus to remember that there are “other sheep…not of this fold.” I am convinced, in these days of conflict, that the world needs the Prince of Peace more than ever. As His followers, we must remember His words, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.”
The Importance of The “Be” Attitudes
As Christians, we must be devoted followers of Jesus Christ; not just mere believers! What is a devoted follower? A devoted follower is someone who not only does what Jesus says, but also emulates who He was. This is why I love what we call the “Beatitudes,” or the “Be” attitudes in Matthew 5. These are concepts we can only walk out when they form our person, as well as our attitudes towards others. At the end of Matthew 5, Jesus says “…pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be the sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” Notice it says “His sun.” God created a world that spreads out a blessing to cover all mankind. God did not just create a sun, He created His sun. God did not create us to be a son; He created us to be His son.
How can this radical call to peace bring about a change in our world? When our stand is for truth, we will understand that the power is in what we have. You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free! When the power is in what you believe, you will not have to fight for it: you simply stand for it. People will kill to be right, but God has called us to die for what is true. Jesus is our example. He did not just have the truth, He was the Truth…and He willingly died. Now 2000 some years later, 2 billion people believe what He said, and what He did. It is time for us to move past being right, and be those who stand for truth! Will you be counted as a devoted follower of Christ?