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The good shepherd

“As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” (John 10:15)

April 21, 2013
Pastor Boyce - St. John’s Lutheran Church, Reinbeck , Reinbeck Courier

Christ is risen! That's how we know He is truly the Good Shepherd. In order for Him to have been risen, He has to have been dead. And that is the reason the incarnate Son of God came in human flesh, to lay down His life for His sheep.

Many years ago a member shared that she thought Buddha was a great man. I didn't want to get into a long discussion about "Religions of the World", so I kept our conversation very simple. I said, "Buddha may have been a great man, but He didn't die and rise again to rescue you from sin." Numbers of religious teachers and founders of religion have lived on this planet. But one thing is sure, every earthly teacher, wizard, etc., can be found in a cemetery or gravesite sooner or later. They taught about whatever their "god" was. They might have claimed some secret knowledge of a god they wanted to share with the world. They were able to find followers, and may have even died for their teachings or their causes. But none of them died 'for others'. They didn't solve the basic problem of sin, and cannot do so. And, they certainly could not die to save you, or anyone else from the guilt of sin or the curse of death. None of them came back to life; none of them showed themselves in the body to hundreds of witnesses who knew them up close and personal for decades. Only Christ has given His life for the forgiveness of sins and accomplishes deliverance from sin, death and hell.

When we consider that Jesus is the Good Shepherd of the sheep, that's not so complimentary to us. Some think it is because sheep are dumb animals and stubborn both of which are true in some ways. But, God refers to mankind as sheep because they are dependent on a shepherd. They can't fend for themselves, they are easy pickings for wolves and bears and a number of other predators. But that describes us also; our enemies are categorized into an 'unholy trinity' (the devil, the world and the sinful human nature). Just like sheep, we wander into things that are not good for us. We get involved in things that we have been warned about by parents, teachers, and our Creator-Father. We find ourselves tangled up in circumstances dangerous for our spiritual lives. It sounds quite a bit like Little Red Riding Hood and the big bad wolf, but is much more dangerous than just physical pain, suffering or death.

The heavenly Father gives us His Son as our Shepherd. He saves us and delivers us from the hands of our enemies. He delivers from our sins. He delivers from the devil. What makes the Easter season so full of rejoicing is that we hear over and over again, "Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!" If you ever doubt that Jesus has taken away your sins, and saved you, just look to His resurrection. He is alive! He is risen! His death did what it was supposed to do, that is, to take away your sins.

And so we sing with joy: "I know that my Redeemer lives; what comfort this sweet sentence gives!

He lives, He lives, who once was dead; He lives, my ever-living head!"

A blessed Easter Season by the grace of God, through Jesus Christ, the Lord of Life!

 
 

 

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