The Comfort of the Good Shepherd

Sermon 2017-05-07 – Year A – Easter 4 – Good Shepherd – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas
Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:13–25; John 10:1–10

  • Pastors
    • As a pastor (which is a Latin word for Shepherd) the theme of the Good Shepherd is very meaningful to me. Today is also special because it is the third anniversary of my first Sunday at Good Samaritan!
    • If Jesus is the “Good Shepherd” what do we mean by talking about priests as “shepherds”?
    • It is a biblical image for pastors in the church (1 Pet 5:1-4)
      • Mthr. Carrie and I under-shepherds. God has called us to be shepherds, but no pastor is the good shepherd, we can’t be, only Jesus can be! He is the chief shepherd.
      • Border Collies.
      • Our job is to listen to the voice of the shepherd, to relay that to the other sheep, and to point back to Jesus.
  • The Comfort of the Good Shepherd
    • I know that this Good Shepherd image is meaningful to many of you.
    • Sofia Cavalletti, “The points on which we linger, for it is these that most enchant the children, are above all the personal love and protective presence of the Good Shepherd: He calls each one of His sheep by name, He knows each intimately even if there are many sheep; He calls his sheep and gradually they become accustomed to the voice of their Good Shepherd and they listen to Him. In this way a precious relationship is established; a thread of love binds the sheep always more closely to their Shepherd.” (The Religious Potential of the Child, 65-66).
    • Guidance – vv. 3-5 the sheep know the voice of the shepherd and they follow him because they know that familiar voice will lead them to good things.
      • It takes time to get to know this voice, it doesn’t happen immediately.
      • Story
    • Provision – Ps. 23:2 “he makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.”
      • We may fool ourselves into thinking that we provide for ourselves, but truly it is God who provides all that we need.
    • Protection – vv. 11-13 – When the wolf comes, the shepherd protects the sheep, he even goes so far as to lay down his life for the sheep.
      • One of the main jobs of the shepherd was to protect the sheep. Generally he would have carried three pieces of equipment: a staff, a rod, and a sling. The staff was for guiding the sheep, the rod and sling were for protection.
      • We can take deep comfort in knowing that our Good Shepherd is watching over us and protecting us.
      • No real shepherd would lay down his life for sheep. He would do everything he could to protect them, but he wouldn’t actually lay down his life for them.
      • Jesus goes above and beyond the call of duty. He is the perfect shepherd, far better than any human shepherd could be. He laid down his life for each one of us to rescue us.
      • He didn’t have to do this, he wasn’t forced to do it, rather, he chose to do it. He chose to lay down his life and, as it says in vs. 18 he had authority to take it up again. He rose from the grave and trampled down death by death.
  • The Salvation of the Good Shepherd
    • V. 9 “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.”
      • Image of the sheepfold, a rocky wall with thorns on top and only one opening. The shepherd would literally lie down across the opening so nothing could get in or out without him knowing.
        • For the sheep, the only safety at night was within the enclosure. If they were outside, they were likely to be stolen or eaten by a predator. Thus, Jesus is the one and only door to safety and security, both in this life and in the life to come.
    • V. 10 – Abundant life
      • We don’t have to wait until we die to receive new life from Jesus! The Gospel is not just about protection from the fires of hell, or a ticket into heaven. The abundant life that Jesus offers is an offer for right now that extends into eternity!

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