Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: A Catholic Understanding of the Scriptures. Bibile is not for anyone to manipilate for one's own capricious deceits and calumny.

Jesus the Good shepherd. John10: 1-10.

A mother was once asked by a census-taker how many children she had. She replied, “Well, there’s Billy and Harry and Martha and…”. “Never mind the names,” the man interrupted, “Just give me the numbers”. The mother angrily replied, “They don’t have numbers, they all have names!” He knows each and every one of us by our names, just like a shepherd knows each and every one of the sheep in his flock. Personal names and identities are important to God, especially his own; therefore, it is not surprising that Jesus knows us by our names. After all, he is the Good Shepherd. The parable of the good shepherd and his sheep is a reference to God’s intimate knowledge of all of us. A good shepherd looks after his flock and knows his sheep. Sheep are not the brightest animals in the world. They seek the security of the flock and blindly follow the lead of the shepherd. When several flocks are grazing together in a field, they are still able to distinguish the voice of their own shepherd and follow his movements, clap, voice, etc. Sheep need a leader not because they are dumb, but because they know they can’t go it alone. They need someone to lead and to guide them. Jesus is our shepherd. People who truly belong to God listen to and believe in the words of Jesus. We must distinguish his voice from all the other voices we hear in our daily lives and follow Him in faith. He provides the security of an eternal kingdom, but people often look elsewhere for their spiritual and eternal security. No forces other than our own can snatch us out of His good care and keeping. There is no security in the law, only unbelief. Christianity is not about Christians behaving themselves. It is about hope for those who do not have any-including all of us. All we have in ourselves is doubt and fear-and nothing there is certain. God is never content to leave us in our safe places. God is always calling us, to new pastures, to new tasks, to new experiences in life. We can resist and refuse, but when we do so, we are missing out on the promise of life that Jesus shares with us. We can't experience this from the safety of the sheep's pen. We must go out and take risks. But we don't go alone - God always goes with us. For many, life is nothing more than the time spent between birth and death. The drudgery of existence. The boring monotony of the routine. The hope of having enough until the end. Have these people bought a lie? Has their life been stolen from them? There are many avenues down which we can travel that leads not to life but to destruction. While we would never call these pursuits thieves and robbers they are just that. They, in there diabolical and methodical ways, attempt to destroy our attempts at life. Where do people go to find life to only discover despair? One doesn't find life in pleasure. I've heard people say that if only they could take a cruise, or retire in luxury, or have their fantasies fulfilled then they would be living. Many people have done these things yet they still remain empty. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied; no matter how much we hear, we are never content" (Ecclesiastes 1:8, LB). Try as they may in the pursuit of pleasure eventually the law of diminishing returns takes hold. It takes a bigger thrill, or a bigger event to bring another high. But it never lasts.

One doesn't find life in performance. Eventually workaholics learn that the satisfaction of one job completed is short lived. A Wimbledon tennis champion thought all his life that winning this major tournament would result in life has he had never known it. He said following his championship, "The thrill of victory lasts about fifteen minutes." A myth has circulated for years that says success produces life. The truth of Scripture states, "Man is always working, never satisfied" (Ecclesiastes 4:8, GN).

One doesn't find life in possessions. "He who loves money will never have enough. The foolishness of thinking wealth brings happiness. (Ecclesiastes 5:10, LB). Have you ever asked yourself, "Why is it that I have more money than I have ever had before and yet have less contentment?" One doesn't find life in position. Too often people think that if they receive a certain promotion, or reach a certain status, or live in a certain area then they would be happy. Interestingly, those people who have reached that position still have not found the secret of a fulfilling life.

The duties of a shepherd are numerous. Their main duty is to move the sheep safely from one place to another. He has to make sure that he leads them to graze and then to return to the pen. He is responsible for protecting the sheep from wolves or other predators, keep them from eating poisonous plants, etc. Often times the shepherds have to administer the sheep's routine vaccinations and any emergency situations that occur he has to make sure that the sheep get to the veterinarian. Shepherds also have dogs or horses to help to gather the sheep together. The natural shepherd's duties also give us an example of how the Good Shepherd (Jesus Christ) takes care of his sheep. He leads and guides Christians through the word of God (the bible). He protects them from predators and tells them how they can be healed. The Pastor of the church is also considered a shepherd over his flock which is the congregation. He leads and guides the congregation (the sheep) by preaching the word of God.

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