The Good Shepherd
4th Sunday in Easter
Archbishop Loren Thomas Hines
April 25, 2021
Readings: Acts 4: 32-37
1 John 3: 1-8
John 10: 11-16
Psalm 23 is one of the most powerful psalms in the scriptures. The phrase, “The Lord is our Shepherd” alone speaks volumes. We know it by heart, we have even memorized this since we were children. But do we really understand the meaning of Psalm 23? Or do we just say it without really understanding? For if we truly understand it, why are we living in confusion today? We live in packed condos, hi-rise buildings, we are surrounded by traffic jams. There hardly any green pastures.
God intends life to be like we are living in green pastures. Like we are beside quiet and still waters, not rushing in traffic jams everyday just to get to our destinations. We have not really put our trust in God. He restores our soul and guides us to the paths of righteousness. Even if we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we need not fear because God is with us. His rod and staff are there not to pound on us when we make a mistake but to protect us. We must have it instilled in our hearts that a Shepherd is watching over us. A Shepherd who cares for us.
Jesus had to be one with us in order to identify Himself with human beings. He came to the world the right way. He entered through the door. The devil on the other hand came through deception with the sole intention of destroying us. As a true shepherd, Jesus knows His sheep. He knows everything that concerns us. We may think that if we hide secrets from Him, He won’t know, but He knows. We cannot hide from Him. We cannot keep any secrets from Him. Christ is the “Good Shepherd.” The one who would sacrifice His own life for the sheep. In one account, we learned that He would leave 99 sheep behind, confident that they are well, and look for that one sheep who went astray. Do we not understand that He is our Shepherd who will not forsake us? We.ve been indoctrinated by the world’s system to trust in other things, when we are to trust in the Shepherd. If we stay with Him, even if the wolf and bear would try to attack us, we will be saved by our Shepherd. If Jesus Christ has gone through all the troubles that He went through, will He not provide for us?
We may be asking, why are things happening the way they are now. It’s not God’s fault but man’s own doing. Disobedience to His ways will bring consequences to our actions. He came to give us life.
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy: I have come that they may have life, and have it in full.”
1 John 4:10 “This is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
Galatians 4:9 “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles, to which you want to be enslaved all over again?”
He came to give us life by destroying the works of the enemy. “I am the good shepherd I know my own.” A hireling does not own the sheep but the shepherd does.
The world today talks about choosing one’s gender. This is totally contrary to God’s principles. When He created man and woman, one’s gender is established permanently. Man cannot just change genders halfway just because they want to. It’s like being born again. When we become “born- again,” we cannot change our minds and say we want to change our nature and go back to the old ways. 2nd Timothy 1: 12 “That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know who, I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.”
We’ve been given dominion and power to not wait for the problems to come but to solve them before they do, ahead of time. Our hope is in God. He is our Shepherd. He will lead us beside quiet waters and restore our soul. Great care is given to every believer. Isaiah 40: 11 He tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.
Man thinks he can do all things. He thinks He’s so smart that he can control certain things. It is only God who is in control. We need to seek Him as our source. He takes good care of the sheep. There are many times we just need to be silent and let God do the work. This is Easter. Like a caterpillar, we are to transform into a beautiful butterfly.