Yesterday was the 4th Sunday in Easter. It’s the tradi- tion of the church to celebrate this Sunday as the Good Shepherd Sunday. All of the Scriptures dealt with the metaphor of the shepherd over the sheep. “I am the good shepherd,” says Jesus in John 10:11. Is there a more endearing term in Christian literature than Jesus as our shepherd? I wonder how many walls in our homes and churches have a picture of Jesus ei- ther holding a lamb or Jesus leading a flock of sheep. I have a picture over my bed with Jesus hugging a lamb.
Jesus pushes the metaphor rather far in his claim that “the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Isn’t that taking the task a bit too far? Must the shep- herd’s care go to that extreme? Wow! A shepherd who is willing to go to such lengths is some shepherd! Yet, that is what Jesus does. “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” This Jesus is no victim. He gives his life, rather than lets anyone take it.
We Christians know exactly what Jesus is talking about. Why do we come to church on Sundays? It’s because we have heard his voice. “My sheep hear my voice and they follow me.” We might not know eve- rything about Jesus, or know all there is to the Bible, or know the deepest theology, but we do know Jesus.
He has revealed himself to us. He has spoken to us. As I said on Sunday, there is something about the way Jesus carries himself, something about the way he carries his staff, something about the way he car- ries his burdens...but mostly, there is something about the way he carries you, about the way he car- ries me. We are in his flock. That’s good enough for Jesus. He knows us. That’s all it takes.
Peace, Pastor Gary