Solidarity in Redemption
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.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. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
Jesus says that our identity as his followers lies in more in our similarities than in our differences. There are many things that make us distinct from one another.. But the one thing we all share is the same shepherd who lays his life down for us. He is the unifying factor of our life in Him. According to Jesus, this is our primary identity. He makes us one flock with one shepherd.
We can live together because he has laid down his life for us, removing the common condition that made the sacrifice necessary. Isaiah 53:6 says it like this:
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
We once defined our lives by those distinctions, by "turning our own way". It is natural for us to seek security and comfort in the company of others like us, even if those likenesses stem from our brokenness and sin. In Christ, we find a deeper solidarity in our redemption. We become the sheep of his pasture, unbound by our old self-serving masters. Brought together by the love of our Shepherd.
What does it mean to be one flock with one shepherd?
Lord, I am weary of drawing boundaries and living to protect them. Teach me a new way of life that is rooted in redemption. Help me to set aside the distortions of your image I once celebrated. Teach me to live my life in response to your grace.