Good Shepherd Sunday – Sunday, April 22, 2018

April 22, 2018  

John 10:11-18

“I’d do anything for you, dear, anything for you mean everything to me…”

(“I’d Do Anything” from Oliver).

The words aren’t the same but, basically Jesus is singing this song to us in today’s gospel.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

I’d do anything for you.

Anything.

For you mean everything to me.

Don’t take those words any other way than literally. Jesus is our Good Shepherd. Jesus did lay down his life for us. Jesus died for us and for the world.

I’m tempted to say “ok. End of story.” And then sit down. But it is not the end of the story it is the beginning. We are in the season of Easter, after all. We are here to celebrate the resurrected Christ.

And yet, there is no resurrection without death. Jesus died for us and for the world.

Jesus said “I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, for I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:17-18).

Did God intend for Jesus to die? Scripture is clear, God gave Jesus to the world out of love, to save the world. As Jesus tells us in today’s reading “I have received this command from my Father” (John 10:18).

Was his death a fulfillment of scripture? Yes. As Christians we believe he fulfilled the testimony of the prophets.

Did Jesus have a choice? Today’s reading certainly leads us to believe that he did.

What does this mean?

One scholar wrote “The identity of Jesus and the identity of the community that gathers around him are inextricably linked… For the community of faith, human identity is determined by Jesus’ identity… the community that gathers around Jesus receives its identity through Jesus’ gift of his life for them. In the end, to be a member of Jesus’ flock is to know oneself as being among those for whom Jesus is willing to die” (John 10:1-20 The New Interpreter’s Bible vol. 9, p. 672).

“I’d do anything for you, dear anything for you mean everything to me…”

This is where the story begins for us. The story begins when we see ourselves as people for whom Jesus died. This is where our story begins as children of God, as followers of Christ, as members of this community of faith, as members of the Church, capital C that rhymes with D which stands for death, a death partnered forever with resurrection.

Who we are cannot be separated from who Jesus is as presented to us in this story.

“Jesus makes the love of God fully available by expressing that love in his death” (NIB vol. 9, p. 673).

Jesus was and is our Good Shepherd.

Jesus died for us. Jesus did everything for us because we, and the whole world were and are everything to Jesus.

Our gospel text is a love story.

Our gospel text is our story.

Our Gospel text is the world’s story.

I’m tempted to move ahead and start talking about what sacrificial love means for us and how we are called to live our lives as followers of Jesus. I’m tempted to move ahead and talk about the sacrifices we are called to make. I’m not going to do anymore than reference the temptation… at least for today.

Because I want you to know, and to remember, and to walk out of this space, or to walk out of any room you might be sitting in as you worship with us online

BELIEVING THAT JESUS DIED FOR YOU.

Jesus died for you. And for me. And for the world.

Our Good Shepherd died for us.

Thanks be to God for the new life we have been given.

Amen.