Jesus speaks of one flock? ONE flock?
“I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.” —John 10:16
It’s 2018! We live in a world of options. This is our life! The highway has at least two lanes. We can choose from nineteen different daily vitamins at the drugstore (and shelves and shelves of other daily supplements). There are nine different varieties of apples at the grocery store, and tonight at the spaghetti dinner [free advertising here!], you have a choice of several beverages to go with your meal that benefits youth programming in our community.
For us consumers (AND spaghetti dinner lovers), Jesus must mean this one flock is so big—like the Super Walmart of flocks—in that it has many, many sections for our many, many, many specific needs. For example, there must be a section in this flock for the party crowd, the poolside set (these two are NOT the same], the “bask in the sun” group which may—or may not be—poolside, the valley viewers, the mountain viewers, the adventurists, the slugs, the special interests sections (yes, that’s plural) that does include multiple book clubs, the back-to-the-basics group, the oh-so-posh presidential suite elites, and that one special section in the middle amidst all the clear departmental signage that says in bold, block letters, “The We Can’t Decide Group.”
Jesus can’t mean we are all united, all in one specific place at one specific time, can He? There are morning people and there are night people! You know what I’m saying because you have noticed night people at 6 AM. They are not up for an impromptu volleyball game at dawn. And if you’ve ever hung with a morning person after 10 PM, you how we got the phrase “buzz kill.”
One flock, Jesus? Really? You really want to go there?
And He does. The first book in my second semester doctoral program is about postmodernism. This non-elective is called America’s Changing Landscape and we’ve started with an excellent book by Crystal L. Downing called How Postmodernism Serves (My) Faith (InterVarsity Press, 2006). Downing would agree that we are all about the individual, not the group. Succinctly, and I’ll let you unpack this, she says, “Truth is situated (page 41).”
In this morning’s In Touch Ministries Daily Devotional, Charles Stanley points out that instead of following Christ, we want Christ to follow us. He’s right. Christ is good when He leads us where we’d like Him to go, but change that course to our discomfort? Yeah, not so much. We want our ease, our location, our vantage point, and our special needs met. One size, we say, does not fit all.
But the Gospel says something entirely different. It sees not division but unification, amalgamation not specification. Jesus sees one “flock,” His people. Are those who make up this flock different in nature, temperament, and vitamin preferences? Oh, absolutely. But it’s not the differences that matter, it’s the commonality, which is one, our sin, and two, our understanding that this Good Shepherd sacrificed His own life for His flock. Jesus laid down His life for our eternal lives.
Fellow flockers, that’s something to stand in one line for to receive just one thing, isn’t it?
PRAYER: Jesus, help us see that we are one. Amen.