Monday, April 23, 2007

Powerful Shepherd John 10:22-30 Easter 4C

Jesus stands out in the Gospel of John as a bold teacher who attracted crowds filled with those who believed what they heard and those who hated him for saying it. Look at how carefully the anger is detailed in John 10:31 as some in the were ready to take up stones against him. They tried to arrest him after he finished teaching but he slipped through their grasp in John 10:39.

Jesus greatest offense was declaring the love of God that had come to earth in him. He came to be the shepherd. Many in the crowd believed that he was sent from heaven. They'd seen blind people given sight. They'd seen daemon possessed people set free and they heard him speak words of hope like no one before. But others in the crowd grumbled deep in their souls as he spoke boldly about his calling to be the Shepherd and about his mission. Their rage grew when he declared that God the father had sent him. Of greatest offense was his claim in John 10:30, “The Father and I are one” Those in the crowd who wanted him dead were ready to grab stones at that moment and pelt him.

They wanted to stop Jesus' teaching because he threatened them like no one ever before had done. He didn't threaten them with swords or clubs. He threatened them with words of healing and love. Ideas ultimately are more powerful than any weapon. But power itself has always been intoxicating for human beings. We want it. We fight for it, its as old as original sin and the fight between Cain and Able. Power can bring out the worst in us. But Jesus revealed a new way to use power; as a servant of all. Jesus possessed all power but he chose to be shepherd who would us his power to protect and to heal.

Those who function from a position of power based in violence and force can do their worst to suppress those who serve a higher cause than power. But time has repeatedly shown us that power only works for so long. Fascism and communism have risen and fallen around the globe. But no powerful group have found a way to repress a people for ever. Ideas break through. And even more powerful than ideas are grace and love that come from God.

There is no doubt in my mind that if Jesus had been a quiet simple, unoffensive and politically correct teacher who said nothing against those in power in his day he would have had a quiet and remarkably unmemorable ministry. The Good News is that even Jesus' death didn't silence his rogue ministry of love and healing. He came to earth with a mission. He is the one who came from heaven in search of the lost. He said his sheep knew who he was. He He didn't come for those who knew they had earned a place in the Kingdom. He came for the ones who doubted that they could ever sit with God.


Pastor Eric said...

"...because he threatened them like no one ever before had done." I like that phrase. I have never thought of Jesus as "threatening" us with the power of His healing and love.

But Jesus does more than threaten us, he follows through in a big way. And as you said, "...even death did not silence his rouge ministry of love and healing." Jesus came to do something powerful -- so powerful death was destroyed. And no earthly "authority" can compete with that.

I am not sure what I am going to preach on this week, but you have given me something else to think and pray about. Thanks for your thoughts.

The Unlikely Conversationalist: said...

I like what you say about Jesus carrying through on his ministry. He came with great potential and he really did exactly what he planned.