FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
In the gospel reading of this 4th Sunday of Easter, Christ calls Himself the Good Shepherd, that His sheep know Him and He knows them, and that they follow His voice (cf. John 10). Isn’t it true that who and what we follow can make all the difference in life; both here and hereafter. These days, we follow many celebrities on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. The question is how much life can these people give? How much help can they render? In what ways can they save? There is the story of a man who got to the wake service of his friend only to see two people there. He turned to the funeral director and said, “I thought there would have been many more people here because he had over 9,000 friends on Facebook”. Hmm, welcome to the reality of social media! But there is “#ChristJesus” we need to follow, as our Shephard, no matter what. Why?
In the first place, this Shepherd has been around forever. The Bible says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God… and nothing was created without the Word… and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1-14). So “Nothing in all creation is hidden from His sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before His eyes” (Heb. 4:13). This Shepherd knows it all, has seen it all, and nothing surprises Him, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not fall” (Heb. 4:15). Simply put, this Shepherd understands the pains and joys of humanity. He knows the pains of betrayal and abandonment; what makes people cry and what makes them lose it; what loss and bereavement feel like; what fear, anger, wrath, and hatred can do; and what poverty and riches can cause. He also knows the liberating power of love, forgiveness, charity, and care. He knows how things work and how to fix them. No wonder Scripture tells us to “approach the throne of God’s grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for needed help”. When Christ is your Shepherd, you have hired, so to say, an ever-present help in times of great need. I am not saying He will do everything you ask for; I am saying He can do anything for you.
Secondly, with Jesus the Shepherd, we are never lost to His presence. Most of the celebrities we follow on social media don’t even know who we are. Not so with Jesus the Shepherd. He knows you by name; He knows what hurts you and what helps you; He knows what you are good at and what you are struggling with; He knows where you have been and where you are going. You are very special to Him. As Scripture says, “This is what the Lord says— he who created you... He who formed you: ‘I have called you by name; you are mine’”. This Shepherd knows your thoughts even before you speak (Ref. Matthew 9:4; 12:25; Luke 7:36-39). This is the one Person you do not need to impress and in whose presence you do not need to pretend or be what or who you are not.
Above all, this Shepherd wants the best outcomes for you, as Scripture says, “For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11), and “I have come that [you] may have life and have it in its fullness” (John 10:10). Christ wants the best for us; He wants to turn everyday mundane action, in our lives, into a meaningful experience. He can change mourning into dancing, sorrow into joy, weeping into songs. Let us, therefore, take this Shepherd up, on His word, and make Him our Lord and personal Savior.