Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd.”
Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield, Sunday 2nd February 2020
Sunday started differently for us this week. Our daughter is unwell and son-in-law away so we had the privilege of grandparenting a small but energetic three-year-old.
It also started differently at church: We were having a church breakfast, bread rolls and fruit served between the end of the 9am service and the start of the 10:45. I was playing percussion at the later service and was able to enjoy some food before the soundcheck. A good start.
The service was a return to the theme of the I am sayings of Jesus after a break for the mission Sunday last week. This week followed straight on from two weeks ago, where Jesus saying I am the gate changes to I am the good shepherd. What follows is taken fro my notes on the sermon.
The preacher Sofia, lay reader and vicar’s wife, said: I see myself as a lamb safe in a shepherds arms. Shepherd has a range of meanings both agricultural and political.
She tols a children’s tale of Wooly, a naughty lamb who would find different ways to escape the herd until he heard the voice of a shepherd. This Sunday school picture is still relevant to adults.
Jesus said I Am the…. An outrageous claim. The name I Am was blasphemy to utter. This is the name that God chooses for himself. Jesus was saying I Am God, if he isn’t God, he is no different to other shepherds.
Shepherd… The true king who has come. According to the Tanakh Jesu would have said this at the festival of dedication, which was a time to remember what a good shepherd God was.
The prophet Ezek wrote Woe to you shepherds… you have not brought back the strays. I myself will search for my sheep. Jesus is not just a shepherd he is TheShepherd. He is good beautiful true… He weeps over a shepherdess flock. There is an intimacy between the shepherd and the sheep, he knows us and we may know him. God is a God who wants to be known. We may know Jesus in the same way rhay Jesus knows the Father. This is an invitation to intimacy with God.
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired man would rather save his own life. But why does the shepherd die? To defend the sheep who are very precious. Jesus is our shepherd who lays down his life to defend us from death the enemy and mortal sin. His call is to you even if you are the black sheep of the flock. He wants us to be safe in his arms. We are made for a close relationship with God.
This next week listen for the gentle voice of your shepherd calling you closer. Are you loke the sheep that has wandered off or is injured and is hiding from predators? Jesus died for you to destroy sin. There is something in us that we prefer to go our own way. There is only one who laid down his life to save us ftom ourselves. The good shepherd.