One flock, one shepherd (Jn 10:16-10:16)

“I have other sheep

That do not belong

To this fold.

I must bring them also.

They will listen

To my voice.


There will be one flock,

With one shepherd.”

καὶ ἄλλα πρόβατα ἔχω ἃ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τῆς αὐλῆς ταύτης· κἀκεῖνα δεῖ με ἀγαγεῖν, καὶ τῆς φωνῆς μου ἀκούσουσιν, καὶ γενήσεται μία ποίμνη, εἷς ποιμήν.

John uniquely told this allegorical story about the good shepherd.  Jesus said that he had other sheep (καὶ ἄλλα πρόβατα ἔχω) that did not belong to this sheepfold (ἃ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τῆς αὐλῆς ταύτης).  He had to bring them also (κἀκεῖνα δεῖ με ἀγαγεῖν).  They would listen to his voice (καὶ τῆς φωνῆς μου ἀκούσουσιν).  Thus, there would be one flock (μία ποίμνη) and one shepherd (εἷς ποιμήν).  Now suddenly, there is more than this one flock of sheep.  Most people see this an allusion to these other sheep as the gentiles, the non-Jewish people.  They too would follow Jesus, the good shepherd, because they listened to his voice.  In what sense were these various Christian groups one?  They would not be separate flocks, since Jesus insisted on one flock and one shepherd.  Thus, the various early local Christian communities saw themselves as all unified followers of Jesus, the one shepherd.  They were willing to put aside their personal differences and backgrounds to become the one flock, the one community, the one Church of the one good shepherd.  Structurally, they began to develop around one leader, a local bishop, and what later came to be called the bishop of bishops, one universal leader as the successor of Peter.  Jesus remained the one leader over this one holy universal apostolic church.  However, this spiritual authority was delegated to the human leaders who made up this emerging Church community.  Do you believe in one Christian community church?

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