Sunday, March 25, 2012

Easter is Coming

This weekend my husband headed out to our favorite retreat, Murphin Ridge.  It was good to get away to the quiet, where only birds could be heard. This pastoral scene was the view from our room.  The silence was assaulted by some dirt bikes for a short while, reminding us that no place is perfect this side of heaven.

Have you noticed?  Easter is almost upon us. I am reminded by the candy in the grocery isles and the many Midwest church signs peppering our roads. Sometimes life is heavy and seems to cloud our thoughts of the risen Savior even as we approach the celebratory day. This can even happen in our churches. But of course, on the day we will celebrate, if even out of tradition. May we be a people that never forget, especially in our troubles that only the Good Shepherd is worthy of contemplation. We of all people should be meditating on our Savior's life and his death prior to celebration. And of course, raise high his banner on the day of his resurrection.

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.  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.  The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.  I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  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.
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  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 10:7-18

Barnes Notes says this:
Know my sheep - Know my people, or my church. The word "know" here is used in the sense of affectionate regard or love. It implies such a knowledge of their wants, their dangers, and their characters, as to result in a deep interest in their welfare. Thus the word "knoweth," in John 10:15, is in John 10:17 explained by the word "loveth." Jesus knows the hearts, the dangers, and the wants of his people, and his kindness as their shepherd prompts him to defend and aid them.
Am known of mine - That is, he is known and loved as their Saviour and Friend. They have seen their sins, and dangers: and wants; they have felt their need of a Saviour; they have come to him, and they have found him and his doctrines to be such as they need, and they have loved him. And as a flock follows and obeys its kind shepherd, so they follow and obey him who leads them beside the still waters, and makes them to lie down in green pastures.

Matthew Henry's commentary says this:
Christ is a good Shepherd; many who were not thieves, yet were careless in their duty, and by their neglect the flock was much hurt. Bad principles are the root of bad practices. The Lord Jesus knows whom he has chosen, and is sure of them; they also know whom they have trusted, and are sure of Him. See here the grace of Christ; since none could demand his life of him, he laid it down of himself for our redemption. He offered himself to be the Saviour; Lo, I come. And the necessity of our case calling for it, he offered himself for the Sacrifice. He was both the offerer and the offering, so that his laying down his life was his offering up himself. From hence it is plain, that he died in the place and stead of men; to obtain their being set free from the punishment of sin, to obtain the pardon of their sin; and that his death should obtain that pardon. Our Lord laid not his life down for his doctrine, but for his sheep.

Here and here are some new songs offered by Paul Baloche to help in your contemplation of our savior this victorious season.

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Debbie

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