Summary: The love of Jesus, our Good Shepherd, laid down his life on the cross. See the nail marks of love in his hand! He continues to keep us safe because he took up his life again in vicory. You are safe in his arms.
Safe in Your Shepherd’s Arms
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God through which the Holy Spirit kindles Easter joy in our hearts is the account of Jesus’ resurrection recorded in John 10:11-18
[Jesus said,] “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. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father -- and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father. (John 10:11-18 NIV)
This is the Word of our Lord.
Dear friends who celebrate our risen Savior,
We have all seen pictures of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Maybe you have one hanging in your home. One of the most well-known pictures is Jesus among a flock of sheep, carrying a lamb in his arms close to his heart. Such pictures stir our hearts Jesus words, “I am the Good Shepherd.” With these words Jesus imprints our hearts with his love and power. He touches us with the promise of his gracious shepherding . Hold that picture of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, in your heart and mind today, as the Holy Spirit comes to us through these words that Jesus spoke.
Hold the Good Shepherd picture in your heart as we focus on the theme: Safe in Your Shepherd’s Arms. You are save because 1) his love laid down his life for you. You are safe because 2) his power took up his life again in victory for you. You are safe in your Shepherd’s arms.
1. His love laid down his life for you.
A story is told of firefighters who were putting out the last hot spots in a forest fire. Such fires can rage with intense heat and spread quickly overtaking animals in their path. In the course of their work, a firefighter came across a mother bird, sitting on the ground, charred black in death. Why hadn’t the bird flown up to safety, the firefighter wonders to himself. Had it been sick or injured? But as he lifts the bird up, he finds the reason why. Beneath the dead mother’s body are five baby chicks. The mother bird had sacrificed her life to keep her chicks safe.
On this Mother’s Day we remember the many sacrifices our mothers made for us to keep us safe, to train us, to bring us up, to nourish us, to care for us. We remember those sacrifices that flow from her love.
And yet, the sacrifice of that mother bird and even the greatest sacrifice our mothers made do not compare to the sacrifice the the Good Shepherd made because of his love. His love is much greater and much stronger than any human love.
His great love reached much farther. His love reached from the heights of the highest heaven to the depths of the deepest pit. For you see the Good Shepherd is our God. He is the Almighty, the Eternal. He is the glorious Son of the Father.
And what are we? We are nothing but dust and ashes. We began life in rebellion against him. We had no true love for God or desire to obey his will. There was no natural bond of affection between us, like between a mother and a child. We stray away from him into the muck, like a dumb sheep. We are helpless and easy prey without him, like a lamb in the wild woods. Without him, we wander over the ravine to our death. There was no reason in us for the Good Shepherd to love us.
But that is how great his love is, his undeserved love that we call grace. His love is so great that he reached down to the depths of our sinfulness. He reached into the slimy, murky pit of our death and hell to pull us out. His love rescued us, while we were still his enemies. His love rescued you to make you his sheep and lamb and hold you safe in his arms.