Hey Guys! Hope you’re all good? Like really good?
It is exactly 11 days to Christmas, and just this evening, I heard someone my church had been praying for, for a few weeks now, passed on. I was numb when I heard the news, I felt worse knowing how close it was to Christmas and how this family might always be mourning around this period of every year. That He was only 18, makes me feel a bit more puzzled, but in all, we’re thankful.
This is just a random reminder to live each day purposefully and intentionally, none of us hold a guarantee for tomorrow, but we can choose to live the now purposefully. Praying He rests in peace! And for anyone else out there currently grieving, accept my deepest condolences and love x
I’ve been on my annual personal retreat, although I have not been able to turn my phone off yet cause school is still in session, I have still managed to have a few of those quiet retreat moments to actually do what I plan to do in my retreats. Part of my own purposeful living is taking periods of time through the year, to do some reflection and evaluation of myself and the things and people around me, and prayerfully plan accordingly, it’s worked for me thus far, and I want to believe it might for you too.
But hey, none of this is the reason for this blog post, so I beg your pardon.
John 10:16 “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.”
The highlighted verse above has been the object of my meditation for the last 2 days, I randomly stumbled on it in my bible reading and although in the moment, nothing came to mind, in meditating and thinking through it, i’m convinced God has a message.
This verse comes in one of the chapters where God addresses the Pharisees directly. It is part of my favourite portions in the bible, because you see clearly, the meaning of ‘God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise’.
Those people couldn’t get the simplest teachings of the Kingdom of God. Their religiosity blocked them a whole lot from revelation.
In that chapter, God is speaking of sheep that knows, hears and obeys its shepherds voice, He also speaks of Himself being the gate through which any Child of God would go through and not scale or jump the fences, then somewhere after that, He states that He has sheep that are not of this sheep pen, but He will bring them also, and they will listen to His voice, and we all will be one flock and there will be one Shepherd.
Who are these other sheep that are not of this sheep pen?
I’ll bring it back from Jesus time and then relate it to our own time, so bear with me if you cannot relate with the reality from Jesus time. I realise that we are the ‘millennials’.
Now, remember that the Jews in Jesus time were the ones thought to be the Holy people, seeing as Jesus was one of them and also that His genealogy is entirely Jewish. People were so convinced that the Jews were the chosen people, like the Israelite’s to the point where, even Peter, one of Jesus besties, deemed anyone who was not ‘Jewish’ as unclean. Up until Jesus cleared that misconception in a trance where He said that nothing is unclean in His eyes.
Anyone among the Jews then who believed, will be in that ‘sheep pen’. They had all grown together in the same culture, practising the same traditions and being taught the same things in their synagogues, so they could definitely identify with each other and relate even better together.
As Jesus began to challenge the belief of the people then, that the Jews were not, and are not the only ones He came to save, they didn’t understand it, they could not understand how Jesus could want to save such an unclean bunch, like the Samaritans, the Gentiles, the Philistines, or the people from all other places that didn’t practice the exact same Jewish tradition.
But as we see, it took time, angel visitations, trances and dreams to get this message across. Jesus says that “I have come for anyone who need just believe”. Jewish or not Jewish.
Any other person who believed that was not Jewish, can be referred to as ‘sheep from another pen’, which Jesus says will listen to His voice, and we together, will be one flock.
Now, we the millennial, I think it might be worse in our time with all these denominations of Christianity, I mean, the question that follows ‘Are you a christian?’ is usually always ‘what denomination are you?’ Like it is not just one Christ we are going after.
I am not attempting to validate every denomination of Christianity. As a matter of fact, I cannot even do that as I don’t know them all, but this is me saying that ‘there are sheep in other sheep pen who Jesus will bring also, and who will be one flock with us and have one shepherd, Jesus Himself’.
Let’s face it, a lot of our religions are cushioned with culture, and your cushioning will vary with the environment and influence from your upbringing. And because of this reality, we need to be humble enough to be respectful and non-judgemental towards the practices of other denominations, which don’t tally with our own.
It is why, as we grow in Christ, one of the first things, God begins to challenge in us, are those cultural ideas which we’ve exalted to the same level as the unadulterated truth of the Word of God. God begins to teach us that our love for someone is not dependent on who they are or where they’ve come from, but solely on the fact that they are within reach of our love.
It is a tough one to completely explain in words, i’m praying the Holy Spirit opens the understanding of you who gets to this point of reading.
this blog post is not promoting liberality or passivity in Christ, what i’d rather you see, is that the love and belief in Jesus has made us all one flock and He, our Shepherd.
I’ll wrap this up with the words of 1 Corinthians 7:19 – Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.