As we believe in Jesus, we become part of His flock. How do we fight to get others to join us? In believing His purpose, we realize that it is up to Him to add to it.
16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” 19 A division occurred again among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?” 21 Others were saying, “These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?”
Verse 16 has a subtlety that I think is easy to miss. Since Jesus was speaking to the Jews at this time, it is assumed that those “not of this flock” He was referring to are the Gentiles. It could very well be what He meant and what they understood as He spoke. However, let us not miss I must bring them also. Notice He didn’t say that they must come, but that He will bring them. It is up to Him to make them believe, not us. Many of you have heard me talk about this before, mainly because it is something I must be reminded of often. We have to remember that it isn’t up to us to make others believe in Him, we just point people in the right direction. Once they hear His voice, they will believe in Him and become part of the flock.
The words in verses 17 and 18 are verification that He is the Christ. His purpose was to die for us and rise again, not because of the will of man, but because of the will of God. The reason He has the authority is because He is God. I don’t think at this point, though, anyone really realized this. In fact, we know that at some point the disciples recognize that He is the Christ, but nobody really recognizes that He is also God. This is a revelation that we learn once He is resurrected and ascends into heaven.
Verses 19-21 yet again reveal the common doubting of Jesus’ words. Verse 21 seems like a reasonable defense against the accusation, however those who did not believe He was the Christ simply did not believe. Remember, He will call those into the fold, not the other way around. We battle this constantly in the Christian world because we think we must argue our points, defend our God, and convince everyone that He is God. Quite the contrary, as I mentioned in Quit Arguing, it actually detracts from His kingdom. We also must remember that our God is an all-powerful God who can defend Himself if He desires to. Of course, we must not forget that belief is not up to us. If we participate in these things, we are acting as the thieves He mentioned earlier in this metaphor.
How is it that you try to argue others into the kingdom? Why do you feel the need to defend an omnipotent God? Are you trying to convince others to believe? Take heart! These things are in His hands. We must simply continue to be part of His flock.