Submitted by Jan on Tue, 12/04/2016 – 11:43
4th Sunday of Easter
Year C (2015-2016)
Bible Book: John
Verse: 22 – 30
Today, people face many challenges in their lives. We live in a world with so much brokenness and many hurting people. There is a long list that is ever increasing as we look at the brokenness, pain and despair as a result of HIV and AIDS, gender-based violence, drug abuse, human trafficking, crime, violence, atrocities of war, poverty, unemployment, and the list grows endlessy in our communities and homes. What the world is seeking is hope, love and peace. Even Mother Theresa said there is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation than for bread. Hope, love and peace can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our text encourages us to put our trust and hope in Jesus the good Shepherd as we seek healing and wholeness in our lives.
When we look at the needs of sheep, we find that sheep are vulnerable and need daily access to hay, feed and fresh water. They need clean living conditions in barns. Pastures should be kept free of poisonous weeds. Sheep should be constantly checked for parasites and insect infestations. They need protection from robbers and predators, and need special attention and care during the times new lambs are being born. Sheep are thus utterly, totally dependent upon, and must always be under the watchful eye of the shepherd, as they graze. Without a shepherd, the sheep are prone to wander like lost sheep, get hurt or get killed.
Our text for reflection highlights Jesus as the good Shepherd who knows His sheep intimately. He calls His own sheep by name. He leads them out, goes on ahead of them and the sheep follow Him. He protects them and will lay down His life for them. The sheep know and listen to the voice of the Shepherd and will not listen to or respond to an unknown voice. We are all prompted to listen to and follow Jesus, the good Shepherd, and to follow Him alone. By obedience to Christ, we are assured of eternal life in Him.
Jesus Himself declares to each one of us “I am the good shepherd.” (verse 10) We can thus see Jesus as unique in character, noble, loving, good, and kind. As the shepherd of our lives, Jesus is the one who calls everyone by name, who protects, guides, and nurtures us as His flock. Nothing can separate us from Him. We do not need to wander around aimlessly, trying to survive, trying to cope, to no avail. We are encouraged to follow Jesus the good Shepherd, who knows us by name and who lovingly laid His life down for us. He protects us, guides us, loves, nurture and sustain us. He meets our physical and spiritual needs, as He guides us on our way. We should listen to His voice alone. Even David (in Psalm 23), opens our eyes to see the Lord as his shepherd who supplies in all his needs, with whom he is in a wonderful relationship and in whose presence he will dwell.
Listen to the voice of the Shepherd. He will never lead you astray. May the beauty that is in Jesus, recharge your spirit, purify your mind, touch your soul and give you eternal joy and happiness that you truly deserve as the Lord’s sheep. May you grow into a closer and more intimate relationship with Jesus the good Shepherd. Let us sing together with the songwriter “Shepherd of my soul, I give you full control. Wherever You may lead I will follow. I have made a choice to listen for Your voice. Wherever You may lead, I will go.”
May God’s Holy Spirit embrace you and fill you with peace, warmth, wonder and joy. May He whisper words of encouragement in your ears and may you hear the wind carrying a voice that tells you Jesus loves you! Jesus loves you! He is the Shepherd of your life. Accept it! Own it! Live it! Amen!
To think about: Are you listening to that quiet inner voice speaking to you? Have you consulted the Lord in your pain, in your trauma? What is His answer to you?
Written by: Rev Jeconiah Plaatjies a humble servant of the Lord and trained ‘Churches, Channel of Hope’ Facilitator.
Author: Plaatjies J (Rev)