The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd John 10:11-18.   “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”                     One of the common depictions of Jesus is a pastoral scene where a shepherd watches over the sheep. The image portrays a caring shepherd who provides green pastures and calm waters for his flock. When Jesus declares Himself the good shepherd, He is not merely using a common analogy from an agrarian society. This statement is rooted in the Old Testament and carries significant theological implications regarding the identity of Christ and His role in God’s prophetic history.      In the Old Testament, we find the repeated theme that was used to identify the king with the role of a shepherd. This was grounded in the reign of David, who was given the promise that his dynasty would be eternal (1 Sam. 7) and would culminate in the reign of the final Messianic King, who would establish His everlasting kingdom. With David’s roots in being a shepherd, the imagery o

The Source of Truth

Jesus is the Truth John 8:31-38 “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”                   In the last Century, we have witnessed multiple changes that have radically shifted the foundation of our society.  At the start of the 20th century, the Industrial Revolution changed our country from an agrarian society to an industrial society.  In the 60’s, the sexual revolution redefined morality.  At the end of the 20th century, the country again experienced a major shift as the Information age dawned upon us with the rise of the internet.  All this has led us to a radical shift that is occurring today. It is not just a change of morality but a change in how we think and understand what is true.  We are now experiencing a radical shift in our definition of truth.  Truth is no longer universal but personal, individual, and adaptable.  Instead of ask

Jesus Our Provider

The God Who Provides John 6:26-40 “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”             In an insecure world, we seek someone to provide security and stability. Central to the character of God is His providential care for us and for all creation. Christ not only created the universe, but He also sustains all by providing for its needs.  In Hebrews 1:3, we are reminded that Christ “is the radiance of His (God the Father) glory and the exact representation of His nature and upholds all things by the word of His power.  When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”  Christ provides for all our needs, and He cares for us.  In Matthew 6:25-33 Christ challenges us not to worry about the future, for if He provides for the physical needs of the birds of the air, how much more will He provide for our daily needs?             In John 6:26-40, Jesus extends His pro

The Call to Worship

What is Worship John 4:7-26 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”                     What does it mean to worship?  When we go to church, we do so expecting to join the rest of the community of God’s people in worshiping God.  However, often our worship is misguided.  When we worship, we focus on the type of music and the way the music affects us.  We want dynamic, uplifting music that excites us emotionally.  We feel we have not worshipped if a dynamic band does not conduct the music with an uplifting and exciting style.  This places the focus of worship on the worship team and their abilities.  But is that what worship is all about?  Is worship to be defined by and equated with dynamic music?  Or is worship much deeper?                   When Jesus encountered the women at the well, the discussion quickly turned from the need for water and the nature of water to the place and style of worship.  For the woman, the focus of worship was on the loc

The Greatest Prayer

The Greatest Prayer John 3:25-30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”               Okay, it is not really a prayer, but it should be the one prayer we make every day.  The disciples of John came to him concerned about his ministry.  John had enjoyed a popular and successful ministry with many coming from great distances to hear his message.  His name was gaining recognition throughout Israel, with many regarding him as one of the great prophets, even Elijah himself (1:19-23).  However, recently, his popularity was starting to wane, and the crowds were getting smaller.  Instead, there was a new upstart itinerate preacher who was starting to gain popularity, and the people were going to him.  Consequently, the disciples of John came to him, concerned that he was losing his following.  They had been debating over the purification rights practiced by the Jews, perhaps debating the merits of the purification rites practiced by the Jews versus the merits of John’s baptism.  This led to

The Grace of Jesus

The Grace of Christ Luke 23:33-38 “But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”               While Jesus was on the cross, the Gospels record Jesus making seven statements.  Each of them was profound and revealed the love and compassion of Christ that led to His willingness to die on the cross.  His first words on the cross, perhaps, are the most surprising and serve to capture the essence of His ministry.  Having just been nailed to the cross to suffer an intense and painful death, Jesus utters His first words that provide us insight into His compassion and grace towards sinners.  To understand the depth of these words, we need to understand the injustice that was performed.  Jesus was not condemned to the cross because of any violation of the law; instead, He was condemned because of the jealousy of the religious leaders who saw His popularity as a threat to their power over the people.  Even Pilot saw through their false claims but feared

The Joy of the Father

The Joy of God Luke 15:11-32 “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one that we can easily identify with, for it speaks of the love of the father in spite of the actions of the son. Even though the son mistreated and abused his father’s generosity, the father's love remained steadfast. The story begins with a selfish son demanding his inheritance even before his father dies. But it was much more than a simple request to be given his inheritance. When the passage states, “So he divided his wealth between them” (vs 12), the implication is that the father did more than give his son a portion of his wealth; his father divided the money essential to his livelihood. Furthermore, in the Jewish society, the son's request was an unforgivable offense, for it was a public statement that he no longer wished to be associated with the family. Yet surprisingly, t