Yesterday was Good Friday. Tomorrow is Easter. Most Christians are familiar with those days. Depending on your faith tradition you may not know about the other days of Holy Week. Today is Holy Saturday, also known as the Great Sabbath, Easter Eve or Black Saturday. It is a time to reflect on the marks left on Jesus’s body. This is the day the disciples spent after Jesus was buried and before they were able to fully understand what he had said about resurrection. Continue reading →
Today is the third Sunday of Advent. Many of us will light the shepherds candle and sing Joy to the World. We’ll read Luke 2:8-20 and talk about how joy was for all people, even lowly shepherds. That first Christmas night was celebrated by a carpenter, an unwed mother, and a few dirty, smelly shepherds from a nearby field. There is certainly a message of hope in the clear demonstration that Christ had come for all…
Just about every animal has some unique feature that allows it to defend itself from predators. Some have incredible speed, such as deer, while others have sharp claws, powerful muscles or rows of gleaming teeth. Some animals camouflage themselves into the background while the purpose of some camouflage, like that of zebra, make it difficult to distinguish individuals from the group. Even the slow, ungraceful skunk has a very potent defense mechanism. Just about every animal has something, it seems, except sheep. It’s almost as if God intended them to be food for other animals. Sheep are very nearsighted and have to be led to food and water. They cannot drink fast moving water and can actually drown trying. They have to be led to food, led to shelter, and protected from every type of danger. The Bible uses sheep of all things to represent people.Continue reading →
Psalm 23 is one of the best known and most often quoted passages in the scriptures. David plainly says “The LORD is my shepherd.” In John 10, Jesus identifies himself as the Good Shepherd. The sheep know his voice and follow him, and he gives his life for the sheep. Isn’t that adorable? Continue reading →
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth. -Isaiah 53:5-7
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. -Acts 2:22-24
In John 10, Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd; and we are very much in need of a shepherd. He is also described as the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrificial lamb that takes away the sin of the world. When we need a shepherd, he is our shepherd. But when we need a sacrifice… Jesus is that for us too.
Easter is the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. He is the Lamb that was slain, but he is so much more. In short, he is an all sufficient savior.
The 23rd Psalm; a very familiar passage and perhaps the most quoted poetry from the Old Testament. In John 10, Jesus explains that he is the good shepherd. He is not a hireling, but loves the sheep, and would lay down his life for them. He has been entrusted by the Father to care for the sheep. And of course, we’re the sheep.
We’ve all seen pictures of Jesus holding a lamb. But it’s more than a cute analogy. Sheep must be cared for. They have few natural defenses, and are very near sighted. They need the shepherd. We too are no match for the devil, often nearsighted (or blind), and desperately need the Good Shepherd. Continue reading →