Re: John 10:16: “And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold…”. Who was Jesus referring to in this verse and exactly to whom was he speaking?
The Lord’s teaching about the Shepherd and His flock actually began in John 9:40 when the Pharisees asked Him a question, and continued through John 10:18. Therefore we can conclude that He was speaking primarily to them. The other sheep He referred to in John 10:16 are the Gentiles to whom the Gospel would later be preached. 750 years earlier the prophet Isaiah had recorded this instruction the Father had given to the Son.
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). The Hebrew word translated “my salvation” is Yeshua, the Lord’s Hebrew name.
Bringing God’s salvation to both Jews and Gentiles was made possible by His death and resurrection and accomplished by the disciples He prepared for the task during His ministry, as well as by those who have continued His work throughout the Church Age. Today, the various forms of Christianity make up the world’s largest religious body, and most of them are Gentiles.