Saturday, May 14, 2011

Easter 4

Prayer of the Day
God of all power, you called from death our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep. Send us shepherds to rescue the lost, to heal the injured, and to feed one another with knowledge and understanding.

What Jesus Can Mean To You?

What does Jesus mean to people? He can range from everything to nothing. People today need to see what Jesus can mean to them. So what does Jesus mean to you?
1. A voice — v. 3. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

A. The Good Shepherd calls His sheep by name, not a number. What a comfort! You are not just a registered number, an anonymous digit, to the Shepherd. You do count, in the eyes of Jesus, the One who counts most of all. He calls you by name.

B. In Baptism He called you. Are the water and word of Baptism a stern lecture, a spanking for straying? No! He calls you in Baptism to lead you out, to lead you out of the bondage to the devil, to hell, to death and sin. He called you in baptism to bring you to good and safe grazing in His pasture. Jesus calls His sheep out for pardon and life, not for condemnation and death.

2. A shepherd — v. 4. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

A. You don’t have to worry about the future. The Shepherd is ahead of you making it good, glad, and safe for you. In the Shepherd Psalm, Psalm 23, David reminds us, “Thou preparest a table before me” i.e. pasture land before me, right under the nose of your enemies.

B. You don’t have to be frightened by death. He still goes before you even in that experience. He knows the way, every inch of it. He stands by with rod and staff.

3. A door — v.7. Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. Do you know why Christ is the only door to the heavenly pasture?

A. He went out of a door, the door of His Father’s house. He left that house to be born in a stable and to live, die and rise again for our sake and for our salvation.

B. He had a door slammed in His face, on the bloody cross. Being abandoned by His Father Jesus cried from the cross, “My God My God why hast thou forsaken me?” {Matthew 27:46} The Father slammed the door of heaven right in Christ’s face. Jesus pounded on that door until His knuckles were bloody, red, and raw. No answer! Christ alone was in the fire and the God-forsakenness of hell for us. He endured that torture that we might look forward only to the blessings of heaven.

C. He went through the door, the door of death on Good Friday.

D. He came out the door, the door of death on Easter. And by going through that door and coming out again, He has become your door to the heavenly pasture.

Our shepherd is good because He lays down His life for the sheep. Instead of beating His sheep for their straying, the Good Shepherd beats Himself. It happened when He died the death of the cross for the pardon and salvation of His straying sheep. He is good because He takes up His laid-down life. The only reason we call Christ Good is because of Easter when He wrestled forever free from the tenacious grip of death. Now to us His sheep He says, “Because I live you will live also.” (John 14:19) No other Shepherd can match that promise. Only Christ, the Good Shepherd can say, “I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” (V.10)

No comments: