The Lord’s Shepherding to New Jerusalem

The Lord Jesus is the good Shepherd. He came to lead all God’s people, both of the Jews and of the nations, to be His one flock (John 10). This one flock is also His one Body with many members and ultimately the one city, New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemAt the Lord’s birth He was spoken of as a Shepherd (Matt. 2:6, quoting Micah 5:2). At His death, He was also a Shepherd (Matt.  26:31 quoting Zech. 13:7). In resurrection He is also the Shepherd (Heb. 13:20) to care for us in the eternal (including New Jerusalem) covenant.

How is the Lord shepherding us today? On one hand, He as the resurrection life within us is “the Shepherd of our souls” (1 Peter 2:5). On the other hand He shepherds through other members of His one Body.

The shepherding through His members  is seen in Acts 20:28, Ephesians 4:11-12, and 1 Peter 5:2. In Ephesians, the gifted members as shepherds (v. 11) perfect all the members of the Body (v. 12) to do the same. Hence, the shepherding is not carried out by a special class, but by every believer. All of this is carried out under the headship of the Lord, who is “the Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4).

The shepherding of the flock in Acts and 1 Peter emphasizes our life in Christ; Ephesians emphasizes  the building of His Body. The two are inseparable, as in 1 Corinthians 3:9 and the last phrase of Ephesians 4:16. Both are for New Jerusalem, which is both a city of life and a city of building.

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New Jerusalem, the Consummate Oneness

During His earthly ministry the Lord Jesus spoke about one flock with one Shepherd (John 17). Before His death He prayed for our being perfected into one (John 17). On the cross He created one new man (Eph. 2:12-15). Verses from Romans 12 to Colossians 3 also speak of our being one Body in Christ. All of this culminates in the one city, New Jerusalem, as the center of the new creation to express the one God.

New Jerusalem

This post has a highlight and verse from this series of posts on New Jerusalem as the consummation of the New Testament oneness in Christ. The first two words of each highlight is a link to the post.

❖ The first definite word in the New Testament about our spiritual oneness is “there shall be one flock, one Shepherd” (John 10:16).

❖ In His death on the cross, Christ created one new man in Himself (Eph. 2:14-15).

❖ Our oneness is at the level of the Triune God’s oneness; Jesus asked the Father, to keep us, His disciples, “that they may be one even as We are” (John 17:11).

Jesus prayed again for us to have the divine oneness; “That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us” (John 17:17, 21).

Thirdly, Jesus prayed “that they may be one, even as We are one; I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one” (John 17:23).

Jesus prayed that our oneness would be perfected so that we can be a testimony that “the Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:29).

Because of what the Lord has accomplished, Romans 12:5 proclaims, “we who are many are one Body in Christ.”

The Spirit is our entrance into and our participation in the One Body. “In one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body…and were all given to drink one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13).

Our participation is also by partaking of Christ in His death and resurrection. “We who are many are one Body; for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor. 10:17).

❖ In Christ Jesus, both now and in New Jerusalem, all the natural distinctions which divide fallen man are annulled. We “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

The oneness in the Triune God (John 17) has, through death and resurrection, become oneness in Christ, the embodiment of the Triune God (Col. 2:9). Today we are experiencing what is in these verses. When New Jerusalem appears His prayer in John 17 will be fully answered and we will arrive at the peak of oneness.

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Sanctified into One unto New Jerusalem

New JerusalemIn John 10 the Lord spoke about one flock; on the cross He created one new man; in John 17 He prayed that we all may be one. This oneness extends from the cross through today to New Jerusalem.

The first stage of His prayer in John 17 was for us to be kept in the oneness in the Father’s name, implying also in the Father’s divine life. In the second stage He prayed “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth….That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us” (John 17:17, 21).

Externally, we are in the world as the early disciples were (17:18). Thus we need to be sanctified from the world all the way to the holy (sanctified) city of New Jerusalem.

To be sanctified (Eph. 5:261 Thes. 5:23) is to be separated from the world and its usurpation unto God and His purpose, not only positionally (Matt. 23:1719) but also dispositionally (Rom. 6:1922). God’s living word works in the believers to separate them from anything worldly. This is to be sanctified in God’s word, which is the truth, the reality.*

Our oneness is not trivial. Christian oneness now, and in New Jerusalem, is “even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You.” This is realized through His prayer that “they also may be in Us.” Our oneness is our being in and living in the Triune God. Lord, we want to experience this!

Such oneness in the Triune God expresses the Triune God. Today the result is “that the world may believe that You have sent Me” (John 17:21). Ultimately the result is New Jerusalem shining with the glory of God to the whole universe.

*Note 1 on John 17:17 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, www.recoveryversion.org, © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.
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From One New Man unto New Jerusalem

The one flock in John 10 is the first definite word in the New Testament about our spiritual oneness; the description of New Jerusalem is the last. In John 10 the Lord said that He would lay down His human life in death to produce His one flock. His death to produce the oneness God desires is also seen in Ephesians 2:14-16:

New JerusalemHe Himself is our peace, He who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of partition, the enmity, abolishing in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might create the two in Himself into one new man, so making peace, and might reconcile both in  one Body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity by it.

While the Lord was dying on the cross He was also creating one new man—an amazing accomplishment! This creating is coupled with reconciling us to God in one Body. Both the creating and the reconciling produce “one” out of “two.”

The “two” are the Jews and the Gentiles (all the non-Jewish peoples). These are identical to the two groups of sheep in John 10 which the Lord made into one flock.

In making the “two” into “one” He not only made peace but also He became our peace. The oneness of the new man in Christ is full of peace—a stark contrast to the divisions, arguments, and angry actions in the world. Like the one flock, this one new man, the one spiritual Body of Christ, consummates in the one New Jerusalem and our peace in Christ also points to New Jerusalem since “Jerusalem” means “foundation of peace.”

One Flock, One Shepherd, One City

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is the consummation of every positive quality in the Bible. Jesus told us, “there shall be one flock, one Shepherd” (John 10:16). This is the first definite word in the New Testament about our spiritual oneness. This oneness develops through the one Body, the one new man (upcoming posts), to the one New Jerusalem.

In John 9 the Lord gave sight to a man blind from birth. This man, viewed as a disciple of Jesus (John 9:28), was cast out of the Jewish fellowship in the synagogue (John 9:22, 34, 35). From the religious Jews’ viewpoint, he was cast out. However, from Jesus’ viewpoint, he was a sheep and Jesus led him out of the sheepfold to find pasture that he might have eternal life (John 10:9-10).

The sheepfold represents the law which guarded the Jewish people until Christ came. Galatians 3:23-24 speaks of this guarding— “But before faith came we were guarded under law, being shut up unto the faith which was to be revealed. So then the law has become our child-conductor unto Christ that we might be justified out of faith.”

In John 10:16 the Lord says, “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must lead them also.” These sheep are from the nations. Then He said that from these sheep and from those of the sheepfold, “there shall be one flock, one Shepherd.”

The Lord also says He laid down His soul life, His human life, to accomplish redemption for His sheep (vv. 1517-18) that they may share His zoe life, His divine life (v. 10b), the eternal life (v. 28), by which they can be formed into one flock under Himself as the one Shepherd.* This eternal life makes us one and brings us all the way to New Jerusalem.

* An extract from the note on John 10:11 in The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, www.recoveryversion.org, published and © 2003 by Living Stream Ministry.
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