GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY
April 29/30, 2012
Pastor Timothy J. Spaude
Text: John 10:11-18
“YOU HAVE THE GOOD SHEPHERD!”
1. Who lays down His life for you.
2. Who knows you inside and out. (and still loves you!)
3. Who loves His other sheep too.
John 10:11-18 (NIV 1984) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 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. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 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. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 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.”
Jesus had just healed a man who had been born blind. This man’s pastors, his shepherds, who should have been watching out for his soul were the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. These shepherds had been teaching that to be born with a handicap like blindness was because this man or his parents had done some great sin. God was punishing. When Jesus healed the man, his pastors, his shepherds accused him of lying to them about the miracle, deceiving them. Then since Jesus had done this miracle on the Sabbath day these so called shepherds who would not have hesitated to do whatever necessary to put out a fire in their grain field or rescue their bull who was stuck in a pit objected at this kindness shown to a person. It’s at this point that Jesus stepped in and provided His people with a picture that has provided such great comfort and meaning to God’s people that they named a Sunday of the church year for it. Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd,” with emphasis on the good. Let’s join together then in rejoicing over what this means for you and me. God’s Word proclaims, “You have the GOOD Shepherd.”
Those who cling to the lie of evolution really have a hard time with sheep. In evolution’s nonsense it is survival of the fittest, right? The problem with sheep is that they are not fit to survive on their own. They aren’t equipped to find sources of good food and water on their own. They are apt to stray. They’re pretty much defenseless against enemies. I mean, think about it. What are they going to do? Smother a wolf with their wool. Scare them away with a baa? Did you know that if a sheep gets flipped on its back its physiology is such that it is almost impossible for it to get back on its feet? Sheep need a shepherd.
People are sheep. There’s no use getting all offended that God pictures us this way to help us see His love. People are not fit to survive spiritually on their own. People don’t know enough on their own to choose what is good to eat spiritually. On their own they will read just about any other book than the Bible. Think about that. We have the word of God Himself and they/we will read just about anything else! People cannot comprehend the glory of the true God so they stray after fake gods made in man’s image with understandable religions. They get drawn to sinful living that seems attractive but in the end leads to death. People on their own are defenseless against enemies. I’m not talking about ones you can fight with knives and guns but real ones like the Devil. Like death which should lead to hell. And people are helpless to take care of sin. Like a sheep on its back we can struggle and strive but we can’t pay for even one sin. Evolution would write the sheep off. The Good Shepherd does not. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 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. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 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.” The Good Shepherd gave His life for you. That’s how much you are worth to Him! Wives here today I need to tell you something you need to know. At some point in your marriage your husband is going to let you down, disappoint you. Chris is still waiting for that to happen, but, OK—no she’s not. People, all people are weak and self centered. Everyone in your life will at some time or another disappoint you, let you down, even like hired hands run away when the going gets rough. That’s your spouse, your mom your dad, your children, your friends, your classmates, your co-workers, your boss, your pastors, your teachers. Everyone but Jesus. He loves you so much. Of His own accord, because he wanted to He give His life in place of yours, He died to pay for your sins. You have the Good Shepherd.
And the Good Shepherd knows you inside and out and loves you anyway. Hear His voice. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” We live in a world of hurt. People hurt people and hurt people hurt people. It’s a vicious cycle. Can you imagine the life of the man born blind? He couldn’t see. But he could hear. “I wonder what he did? Do you think his parents jumped the gun? Poor guy!” But the Good Shepherd knew him. He knew that the man’s blindness was not a punishment for sin but a plan from God to give him purpose in giving glory to God. Poor guy nothing. Blessed guy! It’s like that with you too. Jesus says He knows you just like He and His Father know each other. Nothing is hidden. Inside and out. The Father knew Jesus before he took on human flesh, when he looked like a baby lying in a manger, when he was hanging on the cross covered with the sins of the world . Jesus knows you—inside and out. He knows you hurts and how to help you. He knows that He has plans and purposes for you and is guiding and shaping your life. He knows you as His sheep even when you are covered with sins. He knows your insecurities, your shame, your weakness, your past, all the things you are afraid of other people finding out-- He knows all of that and He loves you anyway. You have the GOOD Shepherd.
And He has other sheep He loves too. Hear the voice of your Shepherd. “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 people of Jesus’ time needed to hear this. The other sheep for them were Gentiles. People who ate different foods than Jews did, who dressed differently and spoke differently. Many of them did not look like Jesus’ sheep yet. They were ignorantly worshipping idols and were sexually immoral. But they were Jesus’ sheep. He was their Good Shepherd and He loved them too. People of our time need to hear this. Jesus said the world will endure until the Gospel is proclaimed throughout the world. He will call all His sheep before it’s over. We get to play a part in that. One of the main reasons we Christians are left on earth instead of getting to go right to heaven is to take the voice of the Shepherd to other sheep. We don’t always know who they are. Some of the sheep are living with pigs right now. Pigs is a good way to describe the way many unbelievers live. They have sin stink all over them as they delight in sexual sinning and potty mouths and in your face bumper stickers and t-shirts like pigs delight in rolling their manure mud mix. You know what happens to sheep that live with pigs? They smell like pigs. They might even begin to act like pigs. But they’re not actually pigs. They’re sheep of Jesus. Sometimes sheep we know wander off. They stray. Like the prodigal son they end up with pigs. But they’re not pigs. They are sheep of Jesus. As Jesus does let’s do our best to love ‘em, not leave ‘em, to call them back instead of culling them out. For they are sheep of Jesus and He loves them too. He is the Good Shepherd.
John records the reaction the Jews who heard Jesus claim “I am the Good Shepherd.” He tells us it was mixed. They were divided. Some said He was demon possessed. Others said He wasn’t. How about you? What do you say? Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd.” I say, “Thank you, Jesus!” You too? Amen.