And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold…
The purposes which animated our Savior's heart, in undertaking labors so severe, and in enduring sufferings so keen, were no doubt always clearly before his own mental vision. But, to judge by the records, it was only occasionally that an intimation of some of these purposes was afforded by his language. St. John records some saying§ of our Lord, mostly uttered towards the close of his ministry, from which we learn that he contemplated results as certain to flow from his work on earth, far beyond what even his nearest and most sympathetic friends were at that period able to anticipate. In this discourse Jesus appears to have been conscious of the growing hostility of his powerful enemies at Jerusalem. Did he seek a consolation for the pain thus inflicted upon him by prominent representatives of his own nation, in cherishing expectations of the vast and far-reaching results which he, as the spiritual Shepherd of humanity, should in future ages attain, by his affection for his sheep, and by his self-sacrificing devotion to their welfare?
I. THE GLORIOUS AND INSPIRING VIEW WHICH JESUS TOOK OF HIS OWN OFFICE AND WORK AMONGST MEN. He was regarded in Palestine, both by friends and foes, as a Jewish Rabbi. But this was not the view he was accustomed to take of himself. He did his daily work for those amongst whom he lived; but he was aware that there was a vaster sphere of service which was truly his. He was the Shepherd, not of Israel only, but of mankind. The majesty of his position and office did not break in upon him either gradually or suddenly. He brought with him to earth the consciousness of a Divine election and commission. And in such passages as this we have a revelation of his mind; and we feel that no mere human teacher or leader could have assumed such a relation towards the vast multitudes here contemplated, but distant in space, remote in time, and seemingly estranged in sympathies.
II. THE LIBERAL, AND COMPREHENSIVE REPRESENTATION WHICH JESUS GAVE OF HUMANITY AS HIS FLOCK. The fold of Israel was very select and very exclusive. The Hebrews were wont to regard the less favored nations with indifference and even contempt. Narrowness was almost the "note" of the Jewish temper. Yet the Old Testament contained no justification for such bigotry. In the Psalms and in the prophets we meet with representations of the purposes of God towards humanity at large, which are startling in their magnificent liberality and comprehensiveness. God's salvation, we are told, shall extend to the ends of the earth; all nations shall sing the praises of the Lord. Accordingly, when we read our Savior's language in this passage, and find him claiming as his own other sheep not of the Hebrew fold, we feel that such language is a verification of his claim to fulfill the Jewish prophecies, to supersede the Jewish prophets, to realize the substance of the Jewish types and shadows. The Samaritans had long ago come to the conclusion that Jesus was the Savior of the world! Jesus now openly declared that the Gentiles were, in the counsels of God, members of his spiritual flock and household. And he was about to assert the mysterious power of his cross, by assuring the Jews that he should thence draw all men unto himself.
III. THE SUBLIME FORECAST WHICH JESUS COMMUNICATED CONCERNING THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD. Observe the several steps.
1. Gentiles are the possession of the Divine Shepherd, and the purchase of his redeeming love and sacrifice. Far away there are sheep which he has, for which he lays down his life, equally with those nearest to him the objects of his interest, love, and care.
2. The time shall come when the Gentiles shall realize their privileges, shall be led by him, and shall hear his voice. Then the Redeemer shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied.
3. The ultimate purpose of Divine grace shall be fulfilled, when the unity of the ransomed shall be complete, when there shall be "one flock," and when the Savior shall be acknowledged as the Sovereign, when there shall be "one Shepherd." - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.