Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sun. June 26, 2011 (John Neufeld)

John Neufeld’s experience as a senior led him to offer advice in his fresh look at John 10:1-20, a familiar passage to all of us. He noted that every senior needs a reason to get up in the morning; to practice curiosity as long as they can; and they need a sense of humour “because if you don’t laugh, you have to take medicine.” So John 10 made John curious about the obvious conflict raised for the Pharisees in Jesus’ words. The Pharisees had codified the law for so long that no new knowledge could disturb them, and the people themselves had lived a long time under that interpretation of the law - that is, until this new rabbi came along with God’s spirit upon him. John noted that the source of the controversial phrase “I am the good shepherd” (vs 11) came from Ezekiel 34 where Ezekiel speaks against the rulers of Israel saying “You shepherds [rulers] have not strengthened the weak, you have not bound up the injured, you have not healed the sick, you have not sought the lost....” Their apathetic self-seeking was a rich target for Ezekiel, who then says on God’s behalf, that he [God] would instead strengthen the weak, bind up the injured, and heal the sick, because the rulers had failed to do so. The Jews of the day would have known this passage well. When Jesus further says in vs 7 “I am the gate for the sheep”, the people would have known (a) Jesus was one with Yahweh, and (b) that God has returned to usurp the leaders of their power and irresponsibility because they have failed. So difficult was this thought for people that Jesus had to repeat himself. Third, Jesus notes in vs. 16 that “I have other sheep...” One can only imagine how the Chosen People would have reacted to the thought of one world, one flock, and one shepherd. This went completely against their assumptions - no wonder they thought him out of his mind. Though these words seem comfortable to us now, we should not forget their revolutionary intent, for they apply to us too. We are always invited to undertake a radical reexamination of our beliefs and practices. [AP]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, June 26th, 2011 using your browser's preferred media player.



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