Summary: Jesus knows, cares for, and protects his followers.
Title: Jesus Is Not an E-Shepherd
Thesis: The relationship between Jesus and his followers is likened to that of a shepherd and his sheep… Jesus is knows, cares for, and protects his followers.
Last year Bonnie and I did an overnight trip to Steam Boat Springs… The Sheridan was running one of those special low, low off-season specials. I originally had grandiose thoughts of a wide, looping return route home up through Craig and then down through Meeker. And from Meeker, driving through the White River National Forest to Yampa and then home.
However, we found that there was plenty to keep us entertained in and around Steamboat Springs. We hiked down to Fish Creek Falls, which is a 283 feet waterfall that is supposedly easily accessible down a short trail. They neglect to tell you that it is a straight down trail and that once you get down to the falls, you have to climb back up that short straight up trail that took you to the bottom. We also enjoyed visiting Steamboat Lake and another short nature trail that was mostly up mountain climbing and on the way long side of short.
By the time we had all that fun, we simply did not have time to do the circuitous route home. So, we took a shorter route down Highway 131 through Yampa. I’m glad we did…
Along the way, we passed a Sheep Camp. There were thousands of head of sheep on either side of the highway. The camp itself had corrals and a long line of Sheep Herder Wagons. And, there were herders and their dogs at work moving the sheep.
There are some 10,200,000 sheep in the United States today. They are roughly evenly divided between meat breeds and wool breeds, i.e., food and fiber… and they are all under the care of herders who live with the sheep, provide good places for the sheep to eat and drink, and protect the sheep.
The shepherd or sheepherder is an ancient image that is as vivid in contemporary life here in Colorado as it is in the biblical narratives… so as we come to the text this morning, keep the images of shepherd and sheep in your minds.
Our text begins with a meeting between some religious leaders and Jesus, from which we can gather, some who would follow Christ have personal agendas.
I. Some, would be followers of Christ, have a personal agenda.
They have a controversial question. Is Jesus the Messiah who was to bring the whole “flock” of Israel together for the purpose of overthrowing political oppression and establishing a new kingdom? Or is he not the Messiah?
The religious leaders asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” John 10:22-24
It is wintertime… it was around December 25 and during what contemporary Jews celebrate as Hanukah. It was called The Feast of Dedication then and was celebrated to commemorate the Maccabean Revolt, which resulted in the Syrians being driven out of Judea. Three years earlier, King Antiochus had invaded Jerusalem, sacked the temple treasury, and sacrificed a sow to Jupiter on the temple altar. It did not set will with the Jewish people. So when the revolt was successful, Judas Maccabeus purified, rededicated the temple, and established an annual festival to commemorate the occasion in 165 B.C.