By Robert Halsey Pine
“So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.” (John 10:1-18 NRSV).
To say that Jesus was focused would be an understatement. He was not just focused on God; He was God incarnate. The Pharisees and others didn’t get it. He performed miracle after miracle and many still did not believe. This earthly bunch was not going to be an easy group for God to work with. But He knew this from his previous attempts to communicate with His children. Coming to His children as the Christ was going to end up in persecution and death, and He knew it.
This plan of God’s was to be a long-term plan and not just a quick fix. He needed to draw attention to sin while at the same time give His children the hope of forgiveness and a chance to return to him. His plan was to deliver His word directly to the people through His Son Jesus in such a way that it would be passed on from generation to generation. And through the apostles, not just passed on, but taught in seeking conversions to the Lord throughout the world.
His plan has worked well, but just like the ones that would not believe and killed His Son, we continue to have non-believers in our time. The good news is that the Good News has survived for the past two thousand years. The murder of the messenger became the very thing that brought the children of God salvation. This was the great act of love and forgiveness of us by God through Christ’s death. It is no wonder that the good news in Christ Jesus has survived these many years. Jesus knew exactly what His Father was up to.
Jesus had the confidence to know that no matter what would happen to Him, God would be there for Him. He was able to deal with the Pharisees and scribes and others because He knew the end of the story. He got attached to God’s children, His natural world brothers and sisters and was willing to do the will of His Father in order to bring them to Him. In time the world will come to understand that, “There will be one flock, one shepherd.” He calls us home one by one for only He has the power to take up a life after it has been laid down.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.