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Sheeps and shepherd

by davesandel on April 29th, 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fourth Sunday of Easter

John 10:14-15

         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.”

The conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees intensifies in chapter nine, when Jesus restores the sight of a man born blind.  Of course, this happens on the Sabbath, the day most precious to Jesus and his Father and, ironically, to the Pharisees as well.

For Jesus the Sabbath is often the day when his Father releases power in him to heal others.  It is the day like no other when God’s love for his children is clear and available.  But for the Pharisees, the Sabbath is a day when they express their love for God by doing nothing.  Generation after generation of teachers reinforced this rule.  Just be with God.  No walking, not much talking, no work.  And of course, healing is usually not an option.  Men don’t heal each other.  Only God does that.

I hope the Pharisees know, as did Jesus, that God loves them. This doing no thing sounds a lot like what I desire in my times of solitude and silence.  So what happened?  Why do the Pharisees act out of obedience but so patently NOT out of love?

Jesus speaks confidently of his pedigree, of his family, and of the words he hears from his Father.  The two are intimate, and they work together on everything.  Neither is a good shepherd without the other.

I suppose the Pharisee thinks Jesus is out of his mind, because he has not experienced this intimacy himself.  Has he never called God his Father?  If not, he probably does not know the feeling of being a son.  The Pharisee has trouble being one of the sheep.  And consequently he makes a lousy shepherd. He insists on obedience above all, within himself as much as anyone else, and in the midst, love is lost.

Jesus is not going to settle for this.  So he brings God’s love to every encounter, every word, every moment.  He speaks and acts, and says, “Believe it … or not.”   They must kill him to get him to stop.

And of course, even that plan was God’s, not theirs.  There just is no stopping God.

It is better, Lord, to take refuge in you than to trust in man.  That’s an understatement!  But as you make us into love as you are love, we might become more trustworthy to each other.  Let my surrender to your shaping be for gladness, Father.  Let your loving me become my loving you.

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