Other sheep - There are others who shall be members of my redeemed church.
I have - This does not imply that they were then his friends, but that they would be. There were others whom it was his purpose and intention to call to the blessings of the gospel and salvation. The purpose was so sure, and the fact that they would believe on him so certain, that he could use the present tense as if they were already his own. This purpose was in accordance with the promise Isaiah 53:11, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” An instance of a parallel expression occurs in Acts 18:10, “I have much people in this city” (Corinth). That is, it was the purpose of God to bless the preaching of Paul, and give him many souls as the seals of his ministry. It was so certain that they would believe in the Saviour, that it could be spoken of as if it were already done. This certainty could have existed only in consequence of the intention of God that it should be so. It did not consist in any disposition to embrace the gospel which was foreseen, for they were the most corrupt and licentious people of antiquity, and it must have been because God meant that it should be so. Declarations like these are full proof that God has a plan in regard to the salvation of men, and that the number is known and determined by him. Learn:
1.that it is not a question of chance or uncertainty whether men shall be saved.
2.that there is encouragement for preaching the gospel. There are those whom God means to save, and if he intends to do it it will be done.
Not of this fold - Not Jews. This is a distinct intimation that the gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles a doctrine extremely offensive to the Jews. This prediction of the Saviour has been strikingly confirmed in the conversion of millions of the Gentiles to the gospel.
Them also I must bring - Bring into the church and kingdom of heaven. This was to be done, not by his personal ministry, but by the labor of his apostles and other ministers.
One fold - One church; there shall be no distinction, no special national privileges. The partition between the Jews and the Gentiles shall be broken down, and there shall be no pre-eminence of rank or honor, Ephesians 2:14; “Christ hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;” Romans 10:12; “There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek.”
One shepherd - That is, the Lord Jesus - the common Saviour, deliverer, and friend of all true believers, in whatever land they were born and whatever tongue they may speak. This shows that Christians of all denominations and countries should feel that they are one redeemed by the same blood, and going to the same eternal home. Compare 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11; Acts 17:26.
Other sheep I have - The Gentiles and Samaritans. As if our Lord had said, Do not imagine that I shall lay down my life for the Jews, exclusively of all other people; no: I shall die also for the Gentiles; for by the grace, the merciful design and loving purpose of God, I am to taste death for every man, Hebrews 2:9; and, though they are not of this fold now, those among them that believe shall be united with the believing Jews, and made one fold under one shepherd, Ephesians 2:13-17.
The original word, αυλη, which is here translated fold, dignifies properly a court. It is probable that our blessed Lord was now standing in what was termed the inner court, or court of the people, in the temple, see John 10:23; and that he referred to the outer court, or court of the Gentiles, because the Gentiles who were proselytes of the gate were permitted to worship in that place; but only those who were circumcised were permitted to come into the inner court, over the entrance of which were written, in large characters of gold, these words, Let no uncircumcised person enter here! Our Lord therefore might at this time have pointed out to the worshippers in that court, when he spoke these words, and the people would at once perceive that he meant the Gentiles.
The lost sheep of God's fold are scattered in every place, and the work that should be done for them is being neglected. From the light given me I know that where there is one canvasser in the field, there should be one hundred. Canvassers should be encouraged to take hold of this work, not to canvass for storybooks, but to bring before the world the books containing truth essential for this time. 6T 315.1
Let canvassers go forth with the word of the Lord, remembering that those who obey the commandments and teach others to obey them will be rewarded by seeing souls converted, and one soul truly converted will bring others to Christ. Thus the work will advance into new territory. 6T 315.2
The time has come when a large work should be done by the canvassers. The world is asleep, and as watchmen they are to ring the warning bell to awake the sleepers to their danger. The churches know not the time of their visitation. Often they can best learn the truth through the efforts of the canvasser. Those who go forth in the name of the Lord are His messengers to give to the multitudes who are in darkness and error the glad tidings of salvation through Christ in obeying the law of God. 6T 315.3Read in context »
When the storm of persecution really breaks upon us, the true sheep will hear the true Shepherd's voice. Self-denying efforts will be put forth to save the lost, and many who have strayed from the fold will come back to follow the great Shepherd.—Australasian Signs of the Times, January 26, 1903, Supplement. ChS 166.1
But though the conflict is a ceaseless one, none are left to struggle alone. Angels help and protect those who walk humbly before God. Never will our Lord betray one who trusts in Him. As His children draw near to Him for protection from evil, in pity and love He lifts up for them a standard against the enemy. Touch them not, He says; for they are Mine. I have graven them upon the palms of My hands.—Prophets and Kings, 571. ChS 166.2Read in context »
Through all our trials we have a never-failing Helper. He does not leave us alone to struggle with temptation, to battle with evil, and be finally crushed with burdens and sorrow. Though now He is hidden from mortal sight, the ear of faith can hear His voice saying, Fear not; I am with you. “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore.” Revelation 1:18. I have endured your sorrows, experienced your struggles, encountered your temptations. I know your tears; I also have wept. The griefs that lie too deep to be breathed into any human ear, I know. Think not that you are desolate and forsaken. Though your pain touch no responsive chord in any heart on earth, look unto Me, and live. “The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” Isaiah 54:10. DA 483.1
However much a shepherd may love his sheep, he loves his sons and daughters more. Jesus is not only our shepherd; He is our “everlasting Father.” And He says, “I know Mine own, and Mine own know Me, even as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father.” John 10:14, 15, R. V. What a statement is this!—the only-begotten Son, He who is in the bosom of the Father, He whom God has declared to be “the Man that is My fellow” (Zechariah 13:7),—the communion between Him and the eternal God is taken to represent the communion between Christ and His children on the earth! DA 483.2
Because we are the gift of His Father, and the reward of His work, Jesus loves us. He loves us as His children. Reader, He loves you. Heaven itself can bestow nothing greater, nothing better. Therefore trust. DA 483.3Read in context »
A shepherd's life was one of diligence. He was obliged to watch his flocks day and night. Wild beasts were common, and often bold, and would do great injury to flocks of sheep and cattle that were not guarded by a faithful shepherd. Although Jacob had a number of servants to aid him in tending the flocks owned by himself and Laban, yet the responsibility of the whole matter rested upon him. And in some seasons of the year he was obliged to be with the flocks himself, day and night, to protect them in the driest season of the year, that they should not perish with thirst; and in the coldest part of the season, to save them from becoming chilled with the heavy night frosts. Their flocks were also in danger of being stolen by unprincipled shepherds, who wished to enrich themselves by stealing their neighbor's cattle. 3SG 122.1
A shepherd's life was one of constant care. He was not qualified for a shepherd unless he was merciful, and possessed courage and perseverance. Jacob was chief shepherd, and had shepherds under him who were termed servants. The chief shepherd called these servants, to whom he intrusted the care of the flock, to a strict account if they were not found in a flourishing condition. If there were any of the cattle missing, the chief shepherd suffered the loss. 3SG 122.2
The relation of Christ to his people is compared to a shepherd. He saw, after the fall, his sheep in a pitiable condition, exposed to sure destruction. He left the honors and glory of his Father's house to become a shepherd, to save the miserable, wandering sheep who were ready to perish. His winning voice was heard calling them to his fold, a safe and sure retreat from the hand of robbers; also a shelter from the scorching heat, and a protection from the chilling blasts. His care was continually exercised for the good of his sheep. He strengthened the weak, nourished the suffering, and gathered the lambs of the flock in his arms, and carried them in his bosom. His sheep love him. He goeth before his sheep, and they hear his voice, and follow him. “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers.” Christ says, “I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth; and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” 3SG 122.3Read in context »