Summary: Jesus tells us he is the Good Shepherd. Do we follow the Good Shepherd and are we as commited to him as he is to us?
Sermon; I Am the Good Shepherd, John 10-11-21.
A couple of weeks ago I talked about the sheep gate and discussed some of my adventures with livestock, the livestock being sheep.
The truth of the matter was I am not a good Shepherd, “I am the rough enough shepherd!” Let me contrast my shepherding with a bloke I know by the name of Frank Glen, The Reverent Doctor Frank Glen. Frank now lives here in Christchurch, he’s one of those blokes who retired, but is still very busy. When I first came to know him some thirty years ago, I was a teenager. Frank was a United Church Minister who was working as a Probation Officer and was also in part time ministry. He had a block of ground, twelve acres in Waimea West in Nelson, he called it Glen’s Place and he and his wife Margaret would sell coloured sheep fleeces to wool spinners. Frank knew all of his sheep by name, Frank could stand at the paddock gate and call his sheep to him, he would call them individually or as a flock. The favorite was a big black Ram with the name Charles Brown, who was the son of Charles Jesus Brown, the Ram in the power point.
My sheep apart from ‘Stitch’, my son Louis hand raised pet; were all called various names depending on how annoying they were at the time I was calling them. Frank would call his sheep to him, and they would come, a caring and diligent Shepherd indeed!
On the other hand if I had to do maintenance on my sheep and the total flock was only as big as five, I would run my sheep down to get them shorn, de-dagg them, or check their feet. As I said a couple of weeks ago I had about an acre and a quarter of hill, so I would put the sheep in the smallest paddock and as sheep tire more quickly than a fit human after a couple of rounds of this hilly paddock I could catch them with a tackle, but if they were freshly shorn or I had lost a little fitness this was much harder. Because of this basic sheep capture method, when I entered the paddock and would treat me with great suspicion after all “I was the rough enough shepherd”.
I would keep them maintained, but on my terms, there was always water and feed for them, I brought in feed when it was necessary andthe sheep got shorn by a contract shearer. Once I had a go myself with a pair of old hand shears. After catching one of the sheep and sweating over the big ugly brute for three quarters of an hour I was left with what would be the roughest fleece ever taken from a sheep and a moth eaten looking sheep that was probably the butt of the other sheep’s bad hair cut jokes for weeks; but then again shearing a sheep is no longer on my list of things to do.
Sheep for me were a useful maintenance tool and a supply of further maintenance tools when the old ones fell over, plus some wool and meat, nothing more. I did the minimum for them and they knew it, they grew to dislike me and I lost very little love on them.
As you will know if you’ve been attending the last five weeks Rochelle and I have been doing a series on Jesus “I Am” statements.
I’ve already told you “I am the rough enough shepherd” lets have a look at what Jesus says about himself as a shepherd. Read John 10:11-18.
You might remember this passage follows the part of the gospel where Jesus is having a discussion with Pharisees again, those pompous religious, always right blokes, who on encountering a bloke who had been born blind that Jesus has healed, excommunicate him from the synagogue. So Jesus went to see the excommunicated bloke knowing that getting the flick from the equivalent of church was a big thing.
Jesus tells the man that he himself; Jesus that is, is “The Son of Man” which is like saying he is the Christ, The Chosen One and the one who “is entrusted by God with authority, glory and sovereign power” .
Jesus tells the people present about himself by saying “I Am the Gate for the Sheep” and “I Am the good Shepherd”.
When we look at this passage the first thing that strikes us is that the first part of the chapter is a contrast. Jesus contrasts himself with the religious teachers of the time. What is it he says?
1) “I Am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep.” Jesus then talks about when the hired hand sees a wolf coming he runs away, the flock is attacked and scattered all this because the hired hand does not care for the sheep, there’s no ownership.