John 10:11-18: This Sunday is sometimes called “Good Shepherd” Sunday. We turn to John’s Gospel as it describes Jesus as our Shepherd, showing us that Jesus now fulfills in his person the words of the 23rd Psalm. In this Gospel reading and in 1 John 3 the emphasis is placed on the offering of Jesus’ life, who lays down his life for the sheep. The Gospel reading also notes the relationship between shepherd and sheep – the Good Shepherd knows his sheep and they listen to him.
Acts 4:5-12 continues the unfolding of events after Easter and Pentecost. Peter stands before the same council that condemned Jesus, and declares Jesus is risen and at work by healing a man in his name. The Peter who once denied knowing Jesus to save his own skin now boldly proclaims Jesus as the source of salvation without fear of the consequences!
Comment: It is God’s desire to be our “shepherd” – to guide and care for us. The resurrection of Jesus and the Holy Spirit empowerment of the disciples ushers in a new covenant/shepherd relationship between God and people. I recognize that I am in need of a good and true shepherd among all the many voices that call out and seek to influence me for their own agendas. You and I are challenged daily to know the voice of Christ and respond to his guidance and grace. And if we are doing this, it will show: we will “lay down our lives” (time, energy, resources) to take up the hard work of loving the people in our world us as Christ loves us. We will want to let people know who he is!