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       John 10:1-10 - Easter 4:  "A Shepherd To Lead Us"

Leadership. We all want good leadership. Good shepherds to lead us in and out of green pasture. We vote hoping to elect it, we apply for jobs hoping to work for it, and we go to school hoping to be educated by it. But we do not always find it. The trust we place in our leaders can be broken. So what are we to do? John 10 holds the answer.

Look at the picture Jesus gives us here in John 10: This wonderful vivid portrait of a shepherd caring for his sheep. The shepherd would lead his sheep out to distant areas and stay there for days. Being a good shepherd he created a temporary corral, a pen to keep the sheep in when they were not grazing. Using the crude stones of the field a shepherd could quickly put together such a structure and at night he would lay his body down in the opening of this corral making himself the door. No sheep could wonder away at night unless it stepped over the sleeping shepherd and no wolf could come in to do harm without waking the shepherd. He is the gate.

Do you see what is happening here? More than any other duty the goal of the shepherd is to protect the sheep. This is how you know a good shepherd from a bad shepherd. Does the Shepherd. . .does the leader have the best interest of his people at heart? How do you know that he or she is a good shepherd? You know by looking at the sheep.

Looking at Jesus’ teaching here in john 10 I want to ask a few questions and see what the answers might be?

1. What are the needs of the sheep?
2. What are the traits of a bad shepherd?
3. What are the traits of a good shepherd?


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What Is Unique About Christianity?

The story of Jesus sitting and debating the Law with rabbis reminds me of another debate that took place in a comparative religions conference, the wise and the scholarly were in a spirited debate about what is unique about Christianity. Someone suggested what set Christianity apart from other religions was the concept of incarnation, the idea that God became incarnate in human form. But someone quickly said, “Well, actually, other faiths believe that God appears in human form.” Another suggestion was offered: what about resurrection? The belief that death is not the final word. That the tomb was found empty. Someone slowly shook his head. Other religions have accounts of people returning from the dead.

Then, as the story is told, C.S. Lewis walked into the room, tweed jacket, pipe, armful of papers, a little early for his presentation. He sat down and took in the conversation, which had by now evolved into a fierce debate. Finally during a lull, he spoke saying, “what's all this rumpus about?” Everyone turned in his direction. Trying to explain themselves they said, “We're debating what's unique about Christianity.” “Oh, that's easy,” answered Lewis, “it's....


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