On this dark and rainy Nashville morning, the staff and boards of The Upper Room, Discipleship Ministries, and General Board of Higher Education gathered for Lenten worship. Each Wednesday, during Lent 2015, a different worship leader will preach on one of the “I Am” sayings of Jesus in The Upper Room Chapel. As the guest preacher for today’s chapel service, I was honored to be asked to share a word about what it means to follow Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
The passages for today were John 10: 11-17 and Ezekiel 34: 11-16. Both of these “Good Shepherd” texts lead me to ask the question, “Are we going to die?”
In the John text we have Jesus, the One we claim to follow, naming himself as the Good Shepherd and then immediately telling us that the Good Shepherd lays down his or her life for the sheep. There’s a mounting tension happening here between Jesus and the religious leaders of the day, and just prior to Jesus claiming that he is the Good Shepherd, he heals a blind man and receives harsh criticism from the Pharisees for doing so. The passage ends with Jesus accusing the Pharisees of spiritual blindness. Hence, Jesus’ comparison of himself to the Good Shepherd stands in stark contrast to the thieves, the religious leaders, those who claim to care for the people but who enact policies, laws, practices that reveal otherwise.
I can’t help but wonder if following this Jesus who is the Good Shepherd, who lays down his own life for his sheep, who hurls rocks in order to bring us back, means that we, too, are called to lay down our lives for the injured, the lost, the wandering, the weak.
Click here to read all of today’s sermon.
If you are ever in Nashville, Tennessee on a Wednesday, be sure to join us for morning chapel services at 8:30. This special time is not just for staff! We invite all of our Upper Room family . . . and that includes YOU.
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