Sermons

Summary: Some reflections on "I am the Good Shepherd"

Gt Dalby Methodists 20-04-08

John 10:1-21

Story: A vicar was retiring after 25 years in the parish. As he came to clear out his bedroom he found a small bowl with 5 eggs and £1,000 pounds in.

Baffled he called his wife and said: Darling, what is this little basket under the bed with five eggs and £1,000 in.

"Oh " she said " I must confess that everytime you preach a bad sermon I put an egg in the basket"

Secretly the vicar was pleased: "Not bad five bad sermons in 25 years" he thought:

"And what about the £1,000?"

"Well every time I get a dozen, I sell them!"

I am if I am honest not a great fan of the Psalms – but Psalm 23 is one of my favourites

And so I thought I’d preach around the subject of one of the great “I am”

Statements of Jesus whree Jesus said

“ I am the Good Shepherd”

There are seven “I am” statements of Jesus in John, in which Jesus gave a self description of himself or his ministry

These seven “I am” statements of Jesus are

i) I am the bread of life (Jn 6:48)

ii) I am the light of the world (Jn 9:5)

iii) I am the way the truth and the life (Jn 14:6)

iv) I am the Good Shepherd (Jn 10;11)

v) I am the true vine (Jn 15:10)

vi) I am the gate ( Jn 10:7)

vii) I am the resurrection and the life (Jn 11:25)

And you could possibly add an 8th – when Jesus said: “Before Abraham was I AM “ (Jn 8:58)

Jesus chose to use the “I am” statements very carefully because they reflected his divinity

When in Jn 8:58, Jesus said: “Before Abraham, was , I am” the Jews took stones to stone him with, because by using this expression he claimed to be God

The “ I am “ statements of Jesus reflect the name of God that God gave to Moses, when Moses asked God : Who shall I say sent me – what’s your name?

To which God replied: Tell them that “I am “ has sent you (Ex 3:11-14)

So this evening I would like to just scratch the surface of Jesus’ words from our reading this evening:

“I am the Good Shepherd” (Jn 10;14)

Story: A shepherd was looking after his sheep one day on the side of a deserted road, when suddenly a brand new Porsche screeches to a halt.

The driver, a man dressed in

an Armani suit,

Timberland shoes,

Versace designer sunglasses,

A Rolex watch, and

a Pierre Cardin tie,

gets out and asks the shepherd:

"If I can tell you how many sheep you have, will you give me one of them?"

The shepherd looks at the young man, and then looks at the large flock of grazing sheep and replies: "Okay."

The young man parks the car,

connects his laptop to his mobile,

scans the ground using his Global Positioning System receiver,

opens a database with 60 Excel tables filled with logarithms and pivot tables, and

then prints out a 150-page report on his

high-tech mini-printer.

He turns to the shepherd and says, "You have exactly 1,586 sheep here."

Rather surprised the shepherd replies, "That’s correct, you can have your sheep."

The young man takes an animal and puts it in the back of his Porsche.

Just as the man is about to drive off, the shepherd asks him:

"If I guess your profession, will you return my animal to me?"

The young man answers, "Yes, why not?"

The shepherd says, "You are an IT consultant."

"How did you know?" asks the young man.

"Very simple," answers the shepherd.

"Firstly, you came here without being called.

Secondly, you charged me a fee to tell me something I already knew, and

Thirdly, you don’t understand anything about my business.

(Pause)

Now please can I have my DOG back?"

We might think looking after sheep is a simple task but it isn’t.

Looking after sheep is a highly specialised job.

It takes a good Shepherd years to learn his trade – and it is often passed on from father to son.

I would like therefore to offer you some reflections on Jesus’ words in our Gospel reading this evening when he said:

“I am the Good Shepherd.”

What a strange metaphor to use?

Especially given the bad reputation that Shepherds had

In 1st Century Palestine, Shepherds had that rather unendearing habit of confusing “thine” with “mine”

In other words, when the shepherds hit town, things started to go missing!

But I think Jesus use of the term I am the Good Shepherd was very apposite in many ways:

1. Firstly, because we – his Sheep - tend to show some “not too flattering” similarities with sheep.

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