Jesus, the Good Shepherd

Jesus, the Good Shepherd

Theme: Jesus, the Good Shepherd
Series: May ONLINE
Bible Reading: John 10:1-10
Preacher: Sam Sadrata
Preached ONLINE – Sunday 3 May, 2020


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Sermon Text

Vunau 03/05/2020 – Turramurra Uniting Church John 10:1 – 10

Jesus the good shepherd

Have you ever been lost before? Maybe took the wrong turn while trying to multitask between looking at the G.P.S and on the road? Maybe it is not a physical one, but an emotional one? finding yourself somehow in the deepest part of the sea and the feeling of insecurities hits? Perhaps you went missing in shopping mall and did not know what to do?

When I was a lot younger, maybe in year 5-6, I would go shopping with mum at Flemington Markets. We had recently migrated to Australia and was introduced to Flemington markets by Aunties. It is a massive supermarket compared to the ones we have back in Fiji, with a lot of variety of fruits and vegetables, fish, bread the whole lot. It is very easy to lose your child as you would be distracted with the deals and bargaining happening. This occasion, I was following my mum pushing the trolley behind her and I was distracted over the people shouting “$2.00 box of Cherries”, “$5.00 box of banana” “Hey, Hey, hey come to my stall I need to go home to my wife and kids” as a little kid fresh from Fiji, hearing the prices of fruits sold for that kind of price, I was definitely drawn. I took one look at the guy at the stall and what he sold, and when I turned back to look at mum, she was missing. My heart was racing. How did this happen in a what felt like second?  How am I going to go home? Actually, I was not worried about going home, I was more worried about the groceries. Something told me to stay put at that stall along with the shopping trolley full of groceries because I figured mum would come to her senses that the shopping trolley went missing along with her son. After an hour and a bit, I looked and saw my mum walking back down the aisle where I went missing. Upon meeting my mum again, she was relieved and sorry for not keeping extra attention on me and bought me a kebab combo with a can of coke from the kebab truck. In a way it was a win-win situation. Mum found me, and I was rewarded with kebab.

Let us pray: “Me vinaka vei kemuni Na vosa ni gusuqu, kei na vakanananu Ni yaloqu, I Jiova Na noqu uluvatu, kei Na noqui vakabula”, Emeni.

Last week we thought about travelling and travelling with a companion and explored the excitement that comes with it. We celebrated and remembered those brave women and men who helped protected our country. This week I want us to explore together what Jesus claimed to be, our Good Shepherd.

Shepherding or for one to be a Shepherd is a common thing of the old testament. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, were shepherds. Moses was a shepherd out in Median. And then we have the greatest shepherd in the history of the shepherding industry. Can you guess who he is? Yes, King David the Shepherd boy turned King. So, a Shepherd was a common thing in the Old testament. It was not an easy life, a very hard life. They would always be outside in the cold of the night, the heat of the day to protect and gather the sheep that have wondered away. They had to always be vigilant, constantly watching, and showing an undivided attention to the sheep. Danger was all around from wild animals to thieves who would come to steal the sheep for its wool and meat and despite of this challenging job, the shepherd protects, leads and guides the sheep.

There are a lot of instances where God was seen as the shepherd in Psalms. Psalm 77 “You lead your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron”. Psalm 79 “Then we, your people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you forever”. and in the Psalm for this week Psalm 23 “The lord is my shepherd I lack nothing”. I recall a particular line in last week’s prayers offered by Jon, hinting to become more like sheep rather than goats. In this morning’s reading Jesus catches himself with the Pharisees and he says that he is the Good shepherd, I am like the one mentioned in the Psalms.

As I was reflecting on this passage, I drew out roughly a couple  of very quick points to help us engage with the text.

  1. The good shepherd lays his/her life for the sheep.

There is a huge responsibility that comes with being a shepherd. I believe it was Uncle Ben, from the movie “Spiderman” who said to his nephew, Peter Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Perhaps from the sheep’s perspective, a shepherd is some sort of a superhero. If anything happens to the sheep, one sheep is missing, they have to go through great lengths to find that one sheep. The sheep are endangered by wild animals, they are there in the frontline to fight to protect the sheep from harm. It is not an easy job but that is the job for the shepherd.

Naturally, when a shepherd if heeding of wild animals or any threat, the sheep scatters, they are endangered. Jesus died, the disciples scattered and were hiding perhaps in isolation; and on the third day Jesus rose again and regathered them. There is no more scattering in Jesus, Jesus gathers them. From the road to Emmaus, to the rooms the disciples were in. From in front of the tomb, Jesus regathered them and formed them. Jesus came and died but when we the sheep are scattered our good shepherd regathers us from our own scatteredness and back into the family of God.

We are each a shepherd to our own under the master shepherd, Jesus Christ. The breakfast on the beach reading we explored together on Easter Sunday, Jesus re-instates Peter to look after, to nurture, to lead Christs sheep. We now have that duty and responsibility and held accountable in metaphorically putting our lives at risk for our sheep. And to me that the ultimate call to ministry. It is loving the Church and bearing witness to the good news in our communities. Yes, the circumstances we find ourselves in today is very difficult, but perhaps a check in with your family members and see how they are travelling and finding ways of how to best support each other, could be a way of being a shepherd in this context. Jesus is our good Shepherd because he did not risk his life, but ultimately gave it for our hope.

  • The good shepherd loves her/his sheep.

We here in verse 14 and 15 of the passage that Christ is the good shepherd and Knows his sheep. The Greek translation we have for the word Know, is to Know intimately; to love intimately. Agape love. I love my sheep. Verse 15 Just as the father knows me and I know my father; the same relationship, the same depth of love that I have to my father I have towards my sheep. Perhaps hinting John 3:16 that God loved the world that God gave Jesus; the son loved and gave up his life.

I was just reflecting on how a shepherd would express his/her love towards the sheep. The good shepherd calls. Calls by name. Call. I wonder if that was what my mom was doing when she realised her son was missing. Sam, where are you? We hear in earlier verse of the text that the good shepherd calls his sheep; the sheep recognises the voice of the shepherd and follows the shepherd through the pastures and by still waters. Jesus calls us by name, and we have responded to that call.

The shepherd is the door. Jesus here is hinting that “I am the door”. There is no way you can go to the father but through me. Whoever does not enter through the door is like the thief who comes only to destroy. One afternoon after finishing from school I came home only to realise I had left the house keys inside. So, I did the unthinkable and tried to ninja style my way through the side window of my room. After successfully scaling the wall, hanging off the window ledge with one arm and opening the window with the other, I finally entered my room, roughly 15 minutes later the police showed up to the house and told me that the neighbours reported someone tried break into the house. I had to provide identification that I lived in the house.

There is no other way, there is no other name, no other person that showed us the ultimate sacrificial love and grants us peace and leads us through the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will go in and come out. It is talking about the freedom God provides for us. It is definitely challenging when we in lockdown but there is so much of love, there is so much of unity, there is much of abundant life that the shepherd gives because he is the door. We are under the protection of our good shepherd. The lord is my shepherd I have everything I want. Goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. Christ knows us intimately.

You and I have heard and responded to God’s call. you and I have entered through the gate who leads us through green pastures and by still waters. We have nothing to fear because Jesus is our good shepherd.

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing God’s will, and may God work in us what is pleasing to God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen”