In-person worship services will be held as scheduled this Sunday. Please use discretion when determining whether roads are safe for your personal travel.
If you are unable to travel, consider joining worship online HERE at 7:30, 9, 11 or 5pm, on-demand at Resurrection’s YouTube channel, or on TV at KMCI 38 at 8am or 11am.
We are watching the weather and at this time the Car Show is still on as scheduled for the public, open from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. We will keep you updated as conditions change.
7 So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves and outlaws, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 When the hired hand sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. That’s because he isn’t the shepherd; the sheep aren’t really his. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. 13 He’s only a hired hand and the sheep don’t matter to him.
14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock, with one shepherd.
Jesus said the spiritual blindness of Israel’s leaders didn’t just hurt them. It left the human “flock” God had entrusted to their care in spiritual danger. (He strongly echoed the prophet Ezekiel’s message—cf. Ezekiel 34:1-16. Note the “LORD” in that passage—that’s the Old Testament YHWH, “I AM.”) God had promised Israel that he would shepherd them himself if their human shepherds failed. Jesus said, “I AM the promised ‘good shepherd.’” He was God, safely guiding and protecting all who trust him.
Lord Jesus, I want to “live life to the fullest”—the way YOU define that phrase. Plant the seed of your word in my heart and grow it into a life that nourishes life in others. Amen.
I have a vivid memory of a good shepherd sermon from the church I attended in college because the pastor spent much of the message educating us on the role of a shepherd. I remember them mentioning that in biblical times, the job of shepherd was widely understood as an undesirable role. Even though I don’t have much comparison to a shepherd in my real life, I can imagine this to be true. It’s thankless, dirty and consists of long hours. Even so, shepherds would do anything to protect their sheep. Shepherds protect, guide, and provide for their flock.
I love the analogy of Jesus as the good shepherd. Jesus walks with all of us through life. We invite Jesus into our thankless moments, our dirty mess, and long hours of prayer, discernment, and worship. As a result, we are reminded of the grace Jesus gives to us and the willingness he extends to seek us out in all moments. He never leaves us stranded or helpless. I also want to point out the shared experience of the flock of sheep. While Jesus attends to our individual needs and will certainly seek us out as the one lost sheep (Matthew 18:12-14), there’s this calling to be in community together.
The priority of our needs varies from day to day. Sometimes we need protection more than guidance. Sometimes we need to be provided for more than we need protection. Our good and loving shepherd is so attentive to us. I hope you feel the good shepherd watching over you today with tenderness and understanding and know that you’re never alone.
* N. T. Wright, John for Everyone, part 1. (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2004, p. 150.)