Paul and Barnabas continued on from Perga
and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered the synagogue and took their
Many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism
followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them
and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God.
On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered
to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”
The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
Ps 100:1-2, 3, 5
R. (3c) We are his people, the
sheep of his flock. Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song. R. We are his people, the sheep of
his flock. Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends. R. We are his people, the sheep of
his flock. The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations. R. We are his people, the sheep of
Rev 7:9, 14b-17
I, John, had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their
Then one of the elders said to me,
“These are the ones who have survived the time of great
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
“For this reason they stand before God’s throne
and worship him day and night in his temple.
The one who sits on the throne will shelter them.
They will not hunger or thirst anymore,
nor will the sun or any heat strike them.
For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne
will shepherd them
and lead them to springs of life-giving water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
“My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”
There is no question about who Jesus is, as noted from this
reading and the many others in scripture. We might find
ourselves asking, “Who are the sheep.” And many Christians
will fall short of the answer if they think that only
Christians are in the His fold. But this reading certainly
does clarify any question we might have, that is if we are
open to truth that Jesus reveals. Yes, Christians are sheep
in the fold, but there are others also, and to find out who
they are, we might need to go back to John 10 to find the
answer, though the answer is also revealed in this passage,
but not as clearly. We would have to read this one very
carefully to come up with the answer. And that answer is
revealed in the last three lines of this gospel message: My
Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and
no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father
and I are one.
So then, who would Jesus be talking about? Obviously he is
talking about others, but what others? Others who are not
Christian. “Oh my gosh,” us pious Christians might exclaim,
“but aren’t Christians the only ones in the fold of Jesus?
Nope, not exactly. To the surprise of some, the Jewish
people, who are and have been faithful to God, are also
among those sheep in the fold. Yes, the Jews rejected Jesus,
but they did not reject God, and those who have remained
faithful to the law of the Old Testament, the law or laws
that God gave to them, are most certainly in the fold. To
say otherwise would be a grievous mistake.
And also, to the surprise of many Christians, there are
those who have never heard the word of God, who have never
heard the gospel message, through no fault of their own.
They too are counted among those who are in the fold. That
is why Jesus said, “ . . . no one can take them out of the
Father’s hand. But we should know that this reading is not
talking about who will go to heaven and who will not. That
is not the purpose of this reading. It’s purpose is to tell
us, all those of us, who are in the fold, that we are given
eternal life and that none shall perish. However, being in
the fold is one thing. Staying there is another. There are
those who have heard the word, accepted it, and then decided
not to live it, and or have decided to modify the word of
Jesus to suit their own wants. Can’t do that folks. That’s a
And we must remember that not all people will hear the
gospel message at the same time. Some will hear it later in
life, perhaps even after living a not so good life, in
Christian terms. Some will hear and accept the word on their
deathbed, happens all the time. The bottom line is, we don’t
know who will be gifted with eternal life, by name. Only God
knows that. For us, the task is to hear the word of God and
more importantly, live it out to best of our ability,
knowing that we are sinners, and will often fail, but when
repentant, we will be forgiven.
So again, the question: “Who are the sheep?” We are the
sinners, the outcast, the homeless, the elderly, the poor,
the mentally challenged, the jobless, the abused. We are
those who march on Washington, D.C, crying out for justice
from a government gone astray, a government intent on the
continuation of destroying human life, a government that
does not listen to the voice of the people, but one that
seems to cater to wants and desires of our enemies, the
government who has taken God completely out of our country.
We are those who pray each day for guidance, for wisdom, for
other people, and for understanding. And how we live out our
lives in the fold of Jesus; a people who embrace and
make prayer our daily commitment to belonging to each other.
It is my hope that this message was meaningful to you. May
God bless you with a great week ahead and grant you good