A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Upcoming Sunday Scripture Commentary - May 11

May 14 Sermon – “The Perfect Church”

Acts 2:42-47
In our Acts chapter two scripture reading, we are given a description of the beginning days of the early church. It was a community that emphasized worship, fellowship, prayer, signs and wonders, and faith sharing.  These are the four key components for a healthy and vital church.

You can’t leave one or more of these four components out without disturbing the others. They feed off of each other and this leads to growth.

The early church saw themselves as a family where they shared their resources with each other. There was excitement and energy. This leads to even more generosity and vitality.

This scripture is important for the church to reclaim. How are we doing in these four key areas of church vitality?

John 10:1-10
Our Gospel reading is known as the "Good Shepherd" text. As our Good Shepherd, Jesus offers us a relationship of intimacy, guidance, and care. Hear these words from John 10:1-10.

Good shepherds know each of their sheep and the sheep know the shepherd. They won’t respond to another voice because they have learned to trust in the shepherd.

It’s important to see this scripture in the context of the previous chapter. In chapter 9, the main topic was whether Jesus is the Messiah or not. In the Old Testament, the word that was often used to describe the King was the word, “shepherd.” See Ezekiel 34. By saying that he is the shepherd, Jesus is saying that he is also the Messiah.

Who does Jesus mean by saying there are false shepherds? Jesus was most likely referring to rulers in his day who sought to bring about God’s kingdom through violence. The way you can tell if somebody is the true shepherd is if the people respond to his voice. Jesus’ healings show that he is the one who cares about his sheep.

Verse 7 – The shepherd as the gate. See Psalm 121:8 which reinforces this meaning. A shepherd is one who is more concerned with the sheep than with his own interests.

[Note: The resources used for these scripture reading commentaries are based on the Everyone series by NT Wright, The Wesley Study Bible, and the “Montreal-Anglican”lectionary commentaries.]  

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