Summary: A sermon for the 4th Sunday of Easter Good Shepherd Sunday
4th Sunday of Easter
"What’s Good About the Good Shepherd?"
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
12 He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
13 He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me,
15 as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.
17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again.
18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father."RSV
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
A certain butcher had sold all his poultry except one hen.
A woman then came in and asked for a hen. The butcher weighed his one chicken and said it would be $1.85 "Do you have a larger one?" asked the lady. The butcher thought fast. He returned the chicken to the ice barrel, stirred it for a bit, and came up again with the same hen. Weighting it, he said it would be $1.95
" I’ll take both of them!", said the woman.
Our lesson this this morning morning from John’s gospel concerns this idea of integrity. The butcher in our story probably turned many different shades of red when the lady asked him for both of the chickens since he had only one. He wasn’t being too hones with her, he wasn’t being to nice, and now he was caught in his lack of honesty. Jesus is not talking about butchers this morning, but he is telling the people a parable about a good shepherd, a shepherd who was honest, caring, compassionate, and will to die to take care of his sheep. Jesus is telling us something about himself, as he is the good shepherd for our lives.
He is telling us through this parable three things about him self as the good shepherd.
Jesus uses this parable about shepherds because the people in his day knew the kind of life that a shepherd lived, it was a difficult life, a hard life. A shepherd felt he had a calling from a young age to tend sheep, so he spent his whole young life learning how to care for the sheep, then the rest of his adult life tending the sheep, fighting off the animals who would eat the sheep, and sometimes fighting off robbers who would steal the sheep.
It was a lonely life, a difficult life, but if a shepherd did his job well everyone would know that he was a good shepherd. Jesus uses what the people would understand, a parable about shepherds to tell us something about himself, that he is the good shepherd of our lives.
But before we see what is good about the good shepherd, we need to look at this word good In the Greek language, which was the language the New Testament was written.
There are two words that can be translated into our English word good, the first agathose which implies a moral and efficient quality about a person. A person is good because they can perform their signed task well.
But there is another word that also means good and it is kalos, it not only means what the other did, but it adds the quality of loveliness, or attractiveness to it. It is the kind of goodness that makes us feel wanted and secure.
Jesus as the good shepherd, or as one translation puts it the model shepherd brings to the job the strength and courage of an earthly shepherd, but also the qualities of beauty and kindness which helps us to call him friend.
Now that we have laid the foundation for Jesus being the Good shepherd of our lives, the model shepherd, we can see what is so good about him why he is the "model shepherd".
First Jesus says, that the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A shepherd in Jesus day if he truly did his job with all of his being, and not just for the money would be willing and able to lay down his life for the sheep he was protecting.