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As a Flower Turns Toward the Sun

The sheep that belong to Me listen to My voice; I know them and they follow Me
Acts 13:14,43-52; Psalm 100:1-2,3,5; Revelation 7:9,14-17; John 10:27-30

Sermon Week Fourth Sunday of Easter Cycle C

Scripture Summary John 10:27

When asked to explain the differences between herding cattle and tending sheep, a Texas rancher explained: You've got to herd Cows. We know they act in predictable ways, shying away from someone waving a stick at them. They also know enough not to get too concerned when they see that stick. They just don’t panic easily.

On the other hand, sheep are not smart enough to herd. Sheep, out of their ignorance, panic easily. To handle sheep, the shepherd must condition them to trust and to follow. You can't herd sheep like cows. You must lead them. For their safety and survival, sheep need to rely on their relationship with the shepherd.

It’s easy to see why Jesus identifies Himself as the Good Shepherd – not the Good Cowboy!

In today's Gospel Lesson, Jesus says, "The sheep that belong to Me listen to My voice; I know them and they follow Me. I give them eternal life" (Jn. 10:27-28).

Jesus depicts His relationship with us in terms of Shepherd and sheepfold which should come to us as no surprise. Jesus frequently employed this imagery because sheep herding was the primary profession of His people. They understood well the relationship between a good shepherd and his flock. What always seems to come to us as a big surprise, however, is this business of not being able to enter into the Good Shepherd's sheepfold except by just one gate. It is one teaching of Jesus that continually surprises us, no matter how many times we've heard it. Let us recall it once more.

The picture is clear and straightforward. The king is on the throne. It is the day of judgment. The king separates the sheep from the goats: the sheep on the right hand go to eternal life; the goats on the left hand go to eternal punishment. You understand, of course, this is a parable. Jesus doesn't intend this as a description of life after death or where we're going. The parable is meant to impart Jesus' view of what life is all about.

Here they are, in symbolism now: the sheep [...]

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