The Fourth Sunday after Easter is always focused on Jesus and the readings each year are from John 10.
In today’s reading Jesus contrasts Himself as the Good Shepherd with a hireling, a person who really doesn’t care about the sheep and would abandon them in a minute if he felt threatened by the wolf. He had no concern for the sheep.
But Jesus loved the sheep and said He would lay down his very life for those sheep, as we know He did.
He says not only does He know the sheep, and they know him. But do we?
To know Jesus – really know Jesus – we would need to act in certain ways … loving ways. We would have to act as though we truly care about others, even those who don’t appeal to us or who have hurt us deeply.
For us to truly know Jesus we will need to keep coming back to the scriptures.
We not only need to read the words but we need to internalize them and live as though we truly believe them. Hard to do, we know. That is why prayer needs to be integrated into our scripture reading.
It is real easy to read the word and take pride in the fact that we read the Bible and still miss the point! We need to live the words!
We also need to share prayer and study of the scripture with other believers. I find that when I conduct bible study every Monday evening at 6p.m.
I come away richly blessed, not only from the powerful words of scripture but also from the powerful words of the brothers and sisters who come and share their story and struggles to be faithful to the Good Shepherd.
And our faithful following of Christ the Good Shepherd will mean that we too are empowered to lay down our lives for others.
Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.” We, who are baptized, carry the Spirit of Christ in us and that powerful Spirit will empower us to lay down our lives for others by loving them, caring for them, and never separating from them.
There are so many people out there who need us so much. And the Good Shepherd loves us without reservation, so we in turn are empowered to love others.