REFLECTION for SUNDAY 3RD MAY 2020
Jesus, The Good Shepherd
Psalm 95:6-7 Living Bible (TLB)
Come, kneel before the Lord our Maker, for he is our God. We are his sheep, and he is our Shepherd. Oh, that you would hear him calling you today and come to him!
Over the past five weeks I have been sleeping in room four of the house. I moved there because from that room I can see right down the valley to Crossford, and also I can see the fields directly in front of the house.
I mentioned a few weeks ago how I was enjoying seeing the antics of the new-born lambs. They are so funny and each day it seems they grow not only in size, but in confidence too.
The other morning I noticed a woman walking across the field, I recognised her as the lady who owns the fields and sheep, the shepherd. In her hand she carried a large bucket, and as I watched her walk across the field, one by one the ewes turned to look at her, and one by one they began to leave their places and follow after the shepherd.
When she stopped walking the ewes gathered around her in a circle and she began to scatter the feed in her bucket.
Up to this point the lambs had still been doing their own thing, but then one by one, they too left their grazing and went to join their mothers and the hand of the shepherd.
It was quite a moving few minutes as I saw one of the set readings for this 4th Sunday of Easter playing out before me.
Two of the set lectionary readings for today are Psalm 23 and John 10:1-15
And the verses that came to my mind as I watched from my window was John 10: 3 and 14,
..........and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.
Jesus was a master story-teller who knew his audience so well. He spoke a language and used words, images and symbols that they understood and appreciated. He spoke about fishing, farming, baking bread, vineyards and off course, sheep and shepherds.
To us today, all sheep look and sound the same. But to a shepherd at the time of Jesus and even today, it is a very different thing altogether.
In fact, all sheep are very different from each other; they are not the same and the shepherd knows this all too well.
The shepherd knows each sheep personally and intimately.
The shepherd knows the sheep and the sheep know and trust the shepherd.
‘The shepherd will care for and look after the sheep no matter what’s happening and regardless of the weather. Shepherds put the well being and welfare of the sheep before their own needs and wants.
You and I are clearly not sheep! But the rich and ancient symbolism of the shepherd and the sheep has a lot to say and offer us.
There are many images that Jesus uses to describes his relationship with us; the Bread of life, the Light of the world and the Vine and the Branches, to a name a few.
So, what is the image of the Shepherd saying to us today?
Jesus knows each of us personally and intimately we are not all the same to him. He calls each of us personally by our name and says to us; ‘if you want to be follower, take up your cross and follow me.’ This is what the voice of the shepherd says to each of us today. This is the generous and free invitation Jesus offers us; it is up to us whether or not we accept this invitation and follow Jesus the Shepherd.
We all experience setbacks, difficulties and challenges in our daily lives. When we do, then we can turn to Jesus for comfort and support:
He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering them in his arms, holding them close to his heart.(Is. 40.11).
On this Good Shepherd Sunday, may we open our hearts and lives to the voice and call Jesus who continually says to us;
I call you by your, name, you are precious in my eyes and I love you. (Is. 43.1).
Today, whatever your circumstances the Good Shepherd is calling to you, with food for your soul with rest for your weariness, with comfort in your sadness, and healing for your brokenness.
The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want; He makes me lie in pastures green.
He leads me by the still, still waters,His goodness restores my soul.
And I will trust in You alone,
And I will trust in You alone,
For Your endless mercy follows me,
Your goodness will lead me home.
He guides my ways in righteousness,And He anoints my head with oil,
And my cup, it overflows with joy,I feast on His pure delights.
And though I walk the darkest path,I will not fear the evil one,
For You are with me, and Your rod and staff Are the comfort I need to know.
Stuart Townend Copyright © 1996 Thankyou Music