Summary: How Jesus taught and modeled a rich and satisfying life as The Good Shepherd.
We’re starting a new three-week series today called Jesus in Blue Jeans.
When God became man in the person of Jesus He came to earth as regular people. He wasn’t surrounded in thunderbolts as some of the mythical ancient Greek gods. He wasn’t wearing a halo the size of the rings of Saturn around His head. He came into this world as the helpless child of an everyday couple. He skinned his knuckles in the carpenter’s shop of his stepfather Joseph.
Even when He began His public ministry He decided to hang out with the blue-jean type crowd. We know that at least half of the twelve apostles were fishermen - every day, ordinary guys.
I chose the title "Jesus in Blue Jeans" for this series because we’re going to cover every-day spirituality - Jesus at my dining room table - Jesus on my job or at school - Jesus in my friendships.
Sometimes we see the big picture of how having faith in Christ leads to heaven but we miss the fact that He has so very much to say about our every-day life. About buying groceries and driving down the highway. About talking to our neighbors and getting along with our co-workers. About planning our future and balancing our checkbook. About leading a rich and satisfying life.
We’re beginning this series with what I think is one of the best blue jean pictures that Jesus painted of Himself. We’re starting with the word picture Jesus painted of Himself as the Good Shepherd.
If shepherds could have, I think they would have worn blue jeans. I think they would have loved wearing pants that were sturdy and comfortable to wear. I think they wouldn’t have minded at all that blue jeans weren’t shiny or glamorous. Blue jeans are the clothing of every-day life.
By using word pictures like calling Himself a shepherd, Jesus taught us "Common Ways to Live an Uncommon Life." He’s letting us know that you don’t have to have your picture on the front page of the tabloids to be important. You don’t have to be abnormal. You can be normal. You can be average. But at the same time your level of enjoyment of life can be ABOVE average. You can be normal and yet lead a rich and satisfying life!
I don’t think many of us are really interested in living dull, boring and colorless lives. That happens to a lot of people but I don’t think it always happens because they want it to happen. I think it happens by default. It happens because sometimes we don’t make conscious choices about what we’re doing.
A lot of times we end up going with the flow and the flow is going away from the great things God has for our lives. I want to talk to you today about some common ways you can live an uncommonly satisfying life, simple things Jesus taught us about living that add richness and meaning to our lives.
Look at the commonness of Jesus. Look at His “down to earth” approach to being our Savior. He depicts Himself as a shepherd – not as one of the richest merchants in the Roman Empire, not as a powerful politician, not even as one of the religious rulers of the Jews.
He paints Himself as a man who takes on the often dirty, dangerous and uncomfortable job of tending sheep. A shepherd gets out in the hot and the cold with his sheep, he has to protect them from predators and sheep stealers, and he has to exert himself to travel up and down valleys and mountainsides to lead them to green pastures.
Jesus portrayed Himself as a shepherd because He not only taught us how to live – He SHOWED us how to live. He modeled what the uncommon life is all about. And He modeled it, and this is the good news, He modeled it in a way that is attainable for all of us common, ordinary, every-day people!
Here is what Jesus said in chapter ten of John’s Good News Account that clues us in on common ways to live and uncommon life.
1 “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, (A sheepfold was a pen used to corral sheep. Often made of rocks or even a natural cave, shepherds would lead their animals into the sheepfold for protection and to keep them from straying off.) rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber!
2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.