Fourth Easter

The Introduction 

The portrait of Jesus in John’s gospel is unique for many reasons. Ninety percent of the stories in John don’t appear in the other three gospels. And the stories that do appear always lean in the direction of glory. Jesus walks taller in John’s version of things. Jesus never wears swaddling clothes as a helpless babe in a manger. He’s always in control, from the dawn of creation as the Divine Word became flesh for our sake, to the Lordly way he debates the nature of authority with Pontius Pilate. In the garden of Gethsemane, John’s Jesus shows

no agony, does not weep or sweat blood. From the cross he doesn’t cry out about abandonment, nor surrender his spirit. Instead, he offers the regal declaration, “It is finished,” as he retires his mission.

It’s not surprising that Jesus doesn’t assume the role of sacrificial victim in the describing of his relationship to the cross, which he foresees and predicts. John’s Jesus is never seized in the garden; when the mob tries to lay hands on him, they fall to the ground. Jesus dares not kiss his way into betrayal. Rather, Jesus agrees to enter into custody and marches to the cross as Lord of history. This stone, rejected by human arrogance, is the undisguised Rock of Ages. Lord have mercy on those who had eyes and didn’t see!

Why does the church retain both the image of a suffering Lord and a triumphant Saviour in its tradition?

Find images of Jesus in your church or in art that reveal him as the stone rejected by humanity and as the Son of God who lays his life down freely. Contemplate each image in prayer. Consider how your prayer is shaped

by each portrayal.

“The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself/herself, sacrifices himself/herself if necessary”.

The Scripture (John 10: 11-14 Jesus the Good Shepherd)

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd would die for the sheep. The hired hand, who is neither shepherd nor owner of the sheep, catches sight of the wolf coming and runs away, leaving the sheep to be scattered or snatched by the wolf. That’s because the hired hand works only for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me”.

The Story – The Shepherd in You

At our daily work each of us are shepherds. We are in charge of the equality and quantity of work that we do. No one can make us be less than we are. We are responsible for our actions, and as good shepherds we must be willing to put our jobs on the line for the sake of preserving our integrity and the integrity of others – be they our customers, co-workers, bosses, or employees.

Why does the Father love the good shepherd, according to Jesus? Because the good shepherd is willing to lay down his life in order to take it up again. That means he acts without being led by his fears. He acts out of love and respect for the precious gift given him, namely his life, his talents, and his very ability to work.

Where do you see good shepherds in your own life? I see them in the women who watch my daughter at daycare, the people who deliver my mail, the assistants who always keep their humour at the sandwich counter, and my business partners, co-workers, and family members who wouldn’t let a wolf within a hundred metres of the work they do.

The Commissioning

You know us by name, O God, and your care for us is beyond all understanding.
You will go with us as we leave this space.
In the paths of joy, you will celebrate with us.
When hardship and testing are our lot, you will endure with us.
When we are separated from your way or your people, you will bring us back.
When our time passes into your time, your eternal love will come home to us.
Compassionate God, you are always with us! You will never leave us.

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