Great Friday Service | Mount Zion Church | 19 April 2019 | I AM The Good Shepherd | The Great I AM Series | John 10:11-18
Gospel of John recorded 7 “I AM” statements of Jesus Christ. Jesus said: I AM the bread of life; I AM the light of the world; I AM the door; I AM the good shepherd; I AM the resurrection and the life; I AM the way, the truth, and the life; and I AM the true vine. Each statement brings us into a deeper and stronger relation with Jesus as we know more about His love also His plan for us. Now we are going to have a deeper look about the good shepherd. Jesus Christ introduced Himself as a good shepherd. As today we have a great Friday service, this theme will really relate since the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep and Jesus already done it for us, His sheep. We will look into 3 important things of the good shepherd and how we need to have it as well.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. 17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” John 10:11-18 NKJV
THE GOOD SHEPHERD: GIVES HIS LIFE
Being a shepherd is not only about an occupation, but it is more about vocation (vocation: a person’s employment or main occupation, especially regarded as worthy and requiring dedication). Jesus compared a shepherd with a hireling (a person who works purely for material reward). A shepherd will give his life for the sheep, but a hireling will run away when the wolf coming. A hireling is not the real shepherd, he does not own the sheep. But the true shepherd is those who own the sheep! Jesus talked and explained about the ownership. Apostle Paul said: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” We must accept that we were bought at a price and Jesus has the ownership of believers 1Cor.6:19-20. Paul said: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me Gal.2:20.” Since Jesus is the true and good shepherd, and He owns the sheep, He will love us completely and seriously, even He will fight the wolves for us! A hireling does not care about the sheep, but the shepherd has a total care for us. Jesus will never ever forget us! God said how he had inscribed us on the palms of His hands Isa.49:16. God said whoever touches us touches the apple of His eye Zech.2:8.
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life Jn.3:16. Because of love, Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross Phil.2:5-8. He gave His life, so we can have eternal life! The relation between the shepherd and the sheep is a perfect picture to explain how unworthy we are, but because of love Jesus died for us! Some people may have asked why Jesus, who is the Son of God, could be killed by the Roman soldiers. The gospel of John gave us the answer that Jesus has power to lay it down, and He has power to take it again. No one takes it from Him, but He lay it down of Himself.
Jesus said: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Jesus called us as His friends if we do whatever He command us Jn.15:13-14. Jesus lay down His live, He gave that heavenly love so that we can receive it and then share the heavenly love in this rusty world. Jesus called all believers to be the good shepherd as well. All who love Jesus must be a good shepherd Jn.21:15-17. We may start to share His love with lay down something that we have for our friends. We may release forgiveness for those who actually may not deserve to receive it. We may lay down our time for those in need. We may sacrifice our annual leave to support someone in their difficulties. We may donate our saving for someone in disaster. To be honest there are lots of things that we can do to show God’s love to others. We do that NOT ONLY for the humanity’s sake, but for the Christ’s sake.
THE GOOD SHEPHERD: KNOW AND KNOWN
Jesus not only know about us, but He also let Himself be known by His own. God never leave us in darkness. He is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Everything that we need to know already written in the Bible so that we may believe that Jesus is Christ, the Son of God and we may have life in His name Jn.20:31. Jesus Himself already spent all of His time for 3,5 years to be known by His disciple, He lived together with them for 24/7. Jesus shared to His disciples about what He felt, and He did not hide it from them. In the Gethsemane Jesus said to His disciples: “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death Mark.14:34.” He spoke plainly to His disciples, so that they said: “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! Now we are sure that You know all things and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God Jn.16:29-30.” Because of love, God let us know about all His divine plan. What happened since the beginning already disclosed to us so that we can have a strong faith and have a good report Heb.11:1-3. Even His plan for the future already disclosed since the days of Enoch Jud.1:14, also explained in detail in the days of Daniel Dan.12:9-13. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, so that we can know and understand the things to come Jn.16:13.
Heavenly love is about know and being known. Apostle Paul always apply that rule of love in his ministry. His life was opened to everyone, so people may know how to live like Christ. Paul said: “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ 1Cor.11:1.” God called us to extend heavenly love to others. People around us may know and learn about God’s love through our life. We must not be a hypocrite that just showing a fake love in the outside but a lot of junk in the inside. God changed and transformed our life from the inside out, so we may be known by others, impart our life to other fellow believers also non-believers. It will be easier and helpful indeed to learn about Christianity from the example of life rather than from the theory only. The early church grew rapidly and getting bigger day by day as they applied heavenly love and met every day from house to house, not only know about their name each other but they can learn something more from every believers and then support each other. There is no fear in love; perfect love casts out fear 1Jn.4:18. Do not afraid to come closer to the body of Christ, do not afraid to open your life more, do not afraid to get known by others. The Bible always open up the life of anyone, not only their strength but also their weaknesses, not only their achievements but also their failures, nothing was hide so that we can learn what is real love, a heavenly love, a love that always ready to accept others, so they can come as who they are and then ready to be changed by the power of God’s love.
THE GOOD SHEPHERD: ONE FLOCK AND ONE SHEPHERD
Our good shepherd has a heart of unity and He always speak about unity in every single moment. The Bible said: “In the fullness of the times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him Eph.1:10.” The perfect unity is a scheduled agenda in the eternity. The good shepherd will bring together the white sheep and the black sheep (black sheep: a member of a family or group who is regarded as a disgrace to it). The good shepherd will teach all the sheep to have a heart of unity and also get ready to be united. The good shepherd will see that unity as something that very good and pleasant Ps.133:1.
As we called as well to be a shepherd for others, we need to cultivate the heart of unity from now on. A divided kingdom will not able to stand against anything Mrk.3:24-25. We must build a united kingdom of God, we must prepare for a united house. Jesus died upon the cross so that He might reconciled everything and bring us to the perfection of unity with Father God and also with all believers.
14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:14-18 NKJV
CONCLUSION & CHALLENGE
What it’s all about?
Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and He called us to be the shepherd as well. This statement emphasizes the relation as the owner and his owns. Also make us understand how unworthy we are but He already died for us because of His love. The good shepherd laid down His life for the sheep and that’s how we must show and share God’s love to others. The good shepherd knows and known by His own, and that’s how we must open our life to others so that they may learn more about God’s love through our life. And also, the good shepherd bring all flock into one, and that’s why we must have a heart of unity as well.
Insights and impressions:
How wonderful is that when the Chief Shepherd appears, and we will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away 1Pet.5:4. Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd gave His life so that we can be a shepherd as well for others. We must shepherd the flock of God which is among us, serving as overseers, not by compulsion, but willingly, not for dishonest gain, but eagerly; nor as being lords over those, but being examples to the flock.
Let’s reflect the love of God in this wonderful moment as we celebrate the greatest love ever given in this world! Have we realised that we are unworthy, but Jesus died for us and we have a meaningful life in this earth and glorious life in the eternity. Let’s start to share this amazing love to others. Let’s do something that will make people amazed and stunned because people may never expect to see this in this selfish world. The first step of laying down our life for others could be started with giving our time for others. If you never attend any cell group because of fear to get known by others, why don’t you just open your heart and take the heavenly love that will cast out any fear. If you never get attached into any gathering, maybe it’s a good time to start one. Let’s make an opportunity to share Christ to others so that more people can come to the good shepherd. AMEN.