The Good Shepherd (19-09-22)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 46:1-2
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Bible Reading: John 10:7-10
Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Over the past few years social media has created the phenomenon of ‘influencers’, people who have built up a reputation in a certain area of knowledge or expertise, and who have generated a following of enthusiasts. The motivation for this may be mixed but it seems to revolve around either the influencer’s need to be noticed or by a desire to make money. Advertisers love influencers who will promote their products and influencers can make a lot of money.
Jesus was an influencer. He taught the people and healed the sick, and crowds followed him. His motivation though was not to boost his own ego or for financial gain, Jesus’ motivation as an influencer was love, love for his Father and love for the people. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
Like a shepherd leading and tending his flock, Jesus cares for his followers, providing for them and protecting them from danger. As we read in Psalm 23, ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me’. (Psalm23:1-4)
There are people whose motivations for influencing us are not good, people who distort the truth, people who put their gain above the good of their followers and who will abandon their followers when it suits them. Jesus describes them as wolves.
I wonder who the people are who influence you. Is it family or friends? Or is it the media, politics, sport, fashion or the arts? What is their motivation? Are they influencing you for good?
The heart of today’s bible verses is that Jesus is the good shepherd. He has our best interests at heart. Let us make sure that he is the one who is influencing our lives.
Lord Jesus, Good Shepherd of your flock, may my life be influenced first and foremost by your love.
Help me to influence others with the love that you have shown me.
The Lord’s my shepherd