Friday, May 05, 2017

Jesus? Where!?

John 10:1-10

Jesus the Good Shepherd

‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
 So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.


So, what's with, sheep, shepherd, gate, gatekeeper, strangers, thieves, bandits, and wolves?

Jesus tried once (the first paragraph), but they didn't get it and I'm not so sure that I get it. So, Jesus tries again. Now Jesus bluntly tells them and me that he is the gate. No guessing this time.

But what does all of this have to do with Easter? Why this passage during this season of the resurrection? Someone in their ultimate wisdom decided to add this Gospel passage to our Easter readings... but why?

The previous chapter, John 9, was about the blind man that was born blind that Jesus healed. The Pharisees were checking out Jesus' healing of this blind man and got upset with the blind man's testimony and threw the blind man out of their presence.

With the passage above it's almost like I am the blind man now. Why is Jesus telling parables like this that seem so simple? But then again... it seems as if so many of us are blind to Jesus after the resurrection. So many of the early witnesses to Jesus resurrection didn't recognize him as the risen Christ. I think of last weeks Gospel about the walk on the road to Emmaus.

Do I, do you, do any of us really recognize Jesus? Am I blind to Jesus?

I say that I recognize Jesus but am I just saying that? Do I really recognize Jesus in my daily living? Do I follow him to pasture and trust him? Do I see Jesus as the resurrected One? Am I tricked by the thief and fall into sin, death and hell?

I think in this is the Easter story. Jesus died in my sin. Jesus rose victorious from my sin.

I spend too much of my life attempting to defeat sin, death and the devil. I can't defeat sin, death and the devil. Only through the gate of Jesus who defeated sin, death and the devil do I have a chance. And in this is the Easter story. If I open my eyes... if I see the gate... if I listen to the Shepherd and ignore the voice of the thief; I will be saved. Not by my action, but by the loving action and grace of God through Jesus Christ, my Gate to salvation and my Shepherd to follow into the pastures of this world.

Thanks be to God!


Open my eyes, my ears, my nose and all of my senses to your presence, Lord Jesus. You are the gate to salvation and I will follow you into this world you have set me in knowing that you alone can lead me in life. As I live this eternal life here and now I look to you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen