Jesus And The Other Sheep Of John 10:16

By Mel Futrell

The words of the Lord Jesus in John 10:16 appear in the context of His discussion of the Good Shepherd. “The allegory of the Good Shepherd is closely connected with the events occurring in the preceding chapter and was delivered to put in contrast true and false teachers…” [Woods, p.202].1 Jesus’ words in full from John 10:16 read as follows from the KJV:
“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”

For those who are honest with Scripture, there is no mistaking that the “other sheep” are the Gentiles. One might also see Acts 11:18 and Acts 18:10 for examples of the fulfillment of Jesus’ words.

And the reference to “this fold” is to the Jews or the Jewish fold if you will. Jesus was making it perfectly clear that salvation would be available to others than just the Jews alone. Since Jesus died for all men (John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 Timothy 2:4), then all men who come to Jesus (John 5:40) can if they obey Him have eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9). This would certainly include the Atheist, the Buddhist, the Catholic, the Jew, the Muslim, Salvation is available to all who will obediently embrace New Testament Christianity.

You may remember that about a decade ago, the now infamous “Reverend” Jeremiah Wright, former “Pastor” of the Trinity United Church of Christ on the South side of Chicago, was asked a question by an audience member at a gathering of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The host for the event read this question: “Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but through me.’ Do you believe this? And do you think Islam is a way to salvation?”

Mr. Wright quickly responded in signature fashion with this quotation from John 10:16: “Jesus also said, ‘Other sheep have I who are not of this fold.’”

Obviously, from this retort we rightly conclude that Wright believes that Muslims are also the sheep of Jesus; just from a different fold. And that Islam is a way to salvation. Are we to believe that there is someone in addition to Jesus the Christ who is the way to eternal salvation? The reality is that many would have us believe just that, but we are not so inclined. Keep in mind that Islam rejects the belief that Jesus is the Son of God [Surah 9:30]. So how could Islam be a way to salvation when it denies the only and right Savior? And if Wright was right in his “interpretation” of John 10:16 then:

  1. Jesus the Christ was wrong in John 14:6.
  2. Peter, one of he twelve apostles, was wrong in Acts 4:12.
  3. Paul, the Spirit moved author, was wrong in Romans 6:23 and 2 Timothy 2:10.
  4. The inspired writer of Hebrews was wrong in Hebrews 5:9.

So, if this Jeremiah is right then at best Jesus contradicted Himself and at worst He lied. But Jeremiah Wright was entirely wrong.
There is but one shepherd, “Jesus the Christ (John 10:11,14).”

And there is but one fold which may be entered by all who obey Him.