Psalm 23; John 10:11-18

For the last three Sundays we have had scriptures which dhow us direct encounters with Jesus. This Sunday in Easter we have the good shepherd. What does this have to do with encountering Christ? Sometimes it is in our searching that we can find the answer.

One of the commentators for this week pointed out that we so often read this and our focus goes to what is a bad shepherd. We scapegoat the hirelings as a bad shepherd and then we don't pay attention to what are the qualities of a good shepherd and this has everything to do with encountering Jesus.

First the shepherd lays down their life for the sheep. So often we get caught up in likeness too. We hear this and try to hold it up as something we can do. Jesus is the good shepherd. We loose the thread of encounter when we start to look at this differently. Are we afraid of measuring up, are we still trying to rate good and bad? I don't know. What does it mean to us that Jesus laid down his life for us? Do we avoid exploring this because we don't want to be indebted to anyone? This doesn't change the fact that a choice was made to care for us as sheep. This is different for each of us just as it is different for each of the disciples. This means we each have to encounter what it means that someone loved us enough to lay down their life for us.

This week I read an article about the "dones". Their done with church, done with being lectured at, done with being told what to believe, do they stop coming to church. The article asked if they would return and the answer was no, they are gone. This relates because of authenticity. We need to fully struggle with the text and the ideas that come from the word. It is just like this good shepherd today. This is why asking what does it mean to you that Jesus lay down his life for you is a question to answer. Because only in answering and listening to one another will all the varied colors of encounter be revealed. Only in this way can we know Christ in all the varied ways he comes into each of our lives.

Try to keep the focus, it is easy to loose as you struggle with this question. Keep asking yourself until the answers start to come, what does it mean that the good shepherd chose to lay down his life for you? Or maybe even for all? Where does this lead you? Do you dare to take the inner journey?