Foreign Sheep

11 Nov

In Isaiah 56, we are given a renewed vision of God’s global plan to redeem His people:

The Lord God,
who gathers the outcasts of Israel,
declares,
“I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.”

There is great hope in this verse, first to the outcasts of Israel, and second to the people of the world.  God testifies of, and promises to, draw in people outside of Israel, from among the nations.

We see God do this throughout the Old Testament.  He brings a “mixed multitude” out of Egypt in Exodus 12:38.  Egyptians turned to believe in the one true God.  Ruth, a Moabite, is also an example of a foreigner who became joined to Israel and a worshipper of the Lord God.

And in John 10, Jesus reiterates this promise, saying:

I have other sheep that are not of this fold.  I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.  So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

In these words of Christ, we find the fuel for world missions; the spread of the Gospel message and the making of disciples.

Why? Because God has other sheep who are not of the Israelites.  He has a people who are from the nations: Africans, Asians, Latinos, Europeans, Islanders, and others from every tribe, tongue and nation.  Yes, these are the foreign sheep we are called to reach with the Gospel and see God’s promises come to fruition.  We bid them come and receive the words of their Savior, their Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

And in Christ, all the peoples of the nations become a part of God’s chosen people, Israel, along with the sheep of the Israelites whom God has already brought into His Kingdom.

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2 Responses to “Foreign Sheep”

  1. gdcrumrine November 11, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    Do you think that the phrase ‘other sheep’ could also refer to aspects of humanity outside of ethnicity?

  2. Tyler Helfers November 12, 2011 at 1:58 am #

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there are no aspects of humanity outside of ethnicity that “other sheep’ could refer to, but as best as I can tell from the context of John 10, and the tension Jesus creates time and again in John’s Gospel along moral, class and ethnic lines, I would first connect it to ethnicity. I’d also have to take into consideration Isaiah 56, and the NT epistles that have much to say regarding ethnicity (foreigners), oneness in Christ and things of the like.

    Thanks for the question and hope all is well in Illinois!

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