Who are those other sheep? In what other fold? And how shall we come together? Perhaps those of us who care deeply about the gospel might get tied up in this. Jesus does not offer any explanation, and, in fact, takes responsibility for bringing the sheep together onto his own shoulders.
If you have evangelical instincts, even if you shy away from giving witness, this could be confusing. Yet, Jesus' promise is that he knows us, and he lays down his life for the sheep. If we are among the sheep, might that not be enough to know? Do we have any responsibility other than to know Jesus, and to be welcoming when we find ourselves together with other folds?
Jesus, teach us to listen to your voice so that we might know you. You are the good Shepherd, and have laid down your life for us. We are yours. Amen.
John 10:11-18 (NRSV)
11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
12 The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
13 The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own 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 do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
18 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."