Most city dwellers will not be familiar with sheep and their shepherding, nor what a sheepfold is, but we all can read about God’s love for His sheep [His children] in John chapter 10. Of course at the time Jesus was teaching this lesson in Jerusalem to the Jewish religious leaders, everyone was familiar with shepherding. Verses 14 & 15: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.” (NIV) The arrogant religious leaders wanted to be the way, for the people to follow them. Surely, they didn’t think much of Jesus’ presentation. So, they wanted to kill Him…small problem…they were not in control, for Jesus had a mission, He was in control; a mission to save His sheep by laying down His own life by His own accord, no one took it from Him.
So, who are the sheep of His pasture? Well, at the time Jesus was addressing these religious leaders; the sheep were the Jews. We need to keep reading however, verse 16: “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to My voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” (NIV) The other sheep are all those who hear the voice of Jesus Christ and follow Him. There will be only one flock under the care and love of the Good Shepherd.
With Christianity being the only way to God, as I believe, and realizing that no other religion is going to agree with that point of view, this would lead a person to refute the common held belief that all religions are ultimately the same, and that they all worship the same God. I am certainly not knowledgeable enough to know if all religions worship the same God or not. I would never be so arrogant to assume I know this information, but I do know that for me, Jesus is the only way, as the Bible so clearly states. It is this fact that many condemn Christianity for being so arrogant (in their opinion). Whether liked or disliked, there are indeed absolute truths, and our Savior and LORD, Jesus Christ, is one such truth.
As we can read in John 10, we are like sheep. Those sheep in the Sheepfold will be protected from harm by wild animals and thieves. Those sheep outside the Sheepfold may not survive the night. The shepherd protects. The shepherd leads his sheep, feeds his sheep, and protects his sheep. The sheep know his voice and will follow only him. At night when evil comes out, it is the shepherd that will protect his sheep by blocking the only access to his flock, the gate of the Sheepfold, with his own body. In John 10, we see that Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, is also “The Gate”, and that there is only one flock and one Shepherd. No one gets in or out of the “Sheepfold” [heaven] but by Him. It was Jesus Christ who laid down His life [the crucifixion] for His flock [those who believe in Him], and took it up again [the Resurrection], conquering death itself to remain our only gateway to salvation and heaven.
Other religions can deal with themselves and their relationships to God in their own way; they certainly don’t need me to get involved. They will, of course, have to answer to God about their own actions one day, and live with the consequences. As for me, the truth is clear, Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Blessings and Peace!