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Return of the Good Shepherd

At the Shepherd’s arrest, the sheep scattered, just as Jesus had predicted (Matt 26:31). At the time it didn’t make sense, just as now so much doesn’t make sense in our own lives.

Yet today we can see how that dark moment was combined with with so many broken pieces into a mosaic of salvation that depends on the actions of One that calls for the faith of all others.

Now we can also see why the Good Shepherd asks us to trust him– even as we hear of how he was falsely accused, spit on, whipped, blasphemed, slandered, mocked, tortured, and then finally buried in our place.

Now we can see what the scattered sheep couldn’t make any sense of.

Yet, with the report of the women that the grave was empty came a turning point not only in the lives of Jesus friends, but with the whole sweep and goal of human history.

Many of us have seen how a well written  murder mystery can keep us hanging between possible solutions and scenarios. As the plot unfolds clues are scattered within an unfolding storyline. Then a turn of events suddenly makes a place for all of the pieces to come together to convict one and acquit others.

Jesus resurrection and victory over the grave is a moment that began to change the world, one heart at a time. Yet the changes would happen not just because someone had finally risen from the dead. That had happened even in the days of Elijah (1Kings 17:22). It was because with Jesus’ resurrection countless details of the law, prophets, and writings could now come together to explain who Jesus was and why he died.

Jerusalem’s ancient temple of sacrifice would continue to stand for another 40 years as the first followers of Jesus began to tell the whole world that everything in that temple, including the role of the priests, the sacrifices, the symbolic ritual, furniture, its calendar of feasts, and even the very temple building itself all pointed to the long anticipated Savior of the world.

Today many believe that the greatest evidence for the resurrection is that a group of frightened, scattered disciples suddenly were willing to die for a report that would have been a lie– if not true. People may die for what they think to be true. But people don’t tend to die for what they know to be a lie.

But the greatest evidence for the resurrection is not just that one fact, nor that the grave was empty. Jesus’ enemies came up with other ways to explain that– even if those explanations don’t hold up under scrutiny.

The greatest evidence of the resurrection is the way it brings together the countless details of the Bible into a story that flows into and out of the One person who, because he was innocent (and God in the flesh), could be convicted in a way that would satisfy the demands of justice, while letting criminals like Barrabas and us go free…

Now we can read the whole story of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, to see why Jesus is the only person who could ever rightly claim to be showing how much his Father loves us, by giving  his own life for the sheep (John 14:14-18).

Nor could anyone else ever give us so much reason to believe him when he tells us that the resurrection of the Good Shepherd has a future– that will soon be ours.


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15 Responses to “Return of the Good Shepherd”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    This morning is Easter Morning, some modern church people like to call it “resurrection morning”, but I still call it Easter.

    I was watching something the other evening concerning Christ; it may have been “Day of Discovery” in truth I don’t remember now. The thing is that someone made a comment that stuck about the Jews who now were the followers of Jesus and why they didn’t believe the women when they returned from the empty tomb.

    It appears that Jews who believed in a resurrection believed that when it came that the whole world would immediately change and be different. That the Messiah would come set on the throne in Jerusalem and conquer the Romans and all of creation would be in its proper place.

    Outwardly this did not happen Sunday morning, it was just like yesterday morning and a thousand that came before, or it appeared to be so. They could not see any recognizable difference so they doubted the fact that Jesus had arose from the grave.

    I have thought about this for a few days and have to admit, I too look for something different to be present each and every holiday that comes. Be it Easter or Christmas or even Good Friday, I am always looking for something to be different with an air of anticipation.

    When it isn’t I tuck it away and then look for it the next morning, and the next morning and the next.

    I am sorry it is not my desire to bring any down, it is just that while so many children this morning are jumping into jelly beans and hollow chocolate bunnies, and so many are dutifully attending sunrise services, I am like those early Christians men who are looking for that special morning when all of my heartaches fade away and that true and honest joy that I strain for finally occurs and real rest comes from this world.

    I certainly have not seen the risen Christ, yet all of my life I have believed it occurred and am glad it is remembered even if it has become a commercial event. I am glad people talk about it and look into it and hope that in so doing some come to know Jesus of Nazareth as their own personal Savior.


  2. fadingman says:

    Another reason I know Jesus rose from the dead is as the old hymn says: “He lives within my heart”. John 14:17, John 14:23, Romans 8:9

  3. oneg2dblu says:

    steve… you don’t bring us down, but bring us the reality that hope instilled by God within every human heart is still alive and well. As you have said, you didn’t see it today so you hope for tomorrow.
    Let Jesus be in you today and be in your hope for tomorrow. With Great Expectations do we all here await.
    In His Love, Gary Happy Easter!

  4. oneg2dblu says:

    I do believe in my heart that among the many names written in the Book of Life ours will be there, just as
    Hope springs eternal, and Jesus lives among us in the hearts of all who believe and call out to Him. He is Risen, and with him He brings His Grace and Mercy.
    Come Jesus!

  5. mimiya says:

    “I strain for finally occurs and real rest comes from this world.”

    Our real rest will not come from this world…..it is in Christ. That’s what His resurrection was all about! A reprieve, our hope! He provided a way by His grace. He provided a ‘helper’ to dwell in us here….the Holy Spirit! Thank you Jesus!

  6. poohpity says:

    Today is a day of remembrance no matter what one calls it. Many people will hear for the first time today of what Christ did so that we could live in vital union with our God. Some will hear the message again and still not be ready for it to pierce their heart but the Good News will have been told.

    My understanding is that Christ did not go through what he went through to STOP the suffering, pain, troubles and sorrows but to be WITH us as we go through them. To bring us joy and hope even in the midst of our journey down here until we reach our eternal glory. God did not stop the suffering of Christ but used it for a purpose that has everlasting consequences.

    To me Christ ended the hold that sin and death had over us. If our eyes are focused only on this life then we will be robbed of the joy that is ours on this Resurrection Sunday knowing that Jesus is ALIVE and has come to live in each believers heart as a comforter, friend, redeemer, and an Almighty God.

    “He Is Risen Just As He Said” All the forewarning and instruction has come into being and is found through out the Bible and lives in our hearts forever for those who’s heart have been pierced by The Living Word. Alleluia!!!

  7. foreverblessed says:

    The church of my youth, the one I grew up in, was an adventist church, it was christian, but it looked more to the event in the future, the returning of Jesus, and the setting up of His Kingdom, and everything would be well, and OK, and good. But that was in the future! When all sickness is gone, when all sinning is gone, then it will be OK.
    Always looking to something that will happen soon, and forgetting that the most important event has already been:
    when Christ died and rose again:
    It is already happened, Jesus already conquered sin, and death and the adversary is already beaten.
    We now stand in the new life, and Jesus is with us, and in us, now, He is our Shepherd, the One who Is now with us, in our struggles,
    Yes Pooh, so I fully say Yes to what you wrote,
    He is risen and is with us now, Today, if we hear His voice.

  8. Regina says:

    Good Afternoon All,

    Hope all is well in your lives. HAPPY EASTER, BTA friends! He is risen!!! Praise the LORD! He is risen!!! :-)

    Love to all…

  9. davids says:

    Yes, Mart, in a way those disciples were like any other non-believers we meet. Although they knew the reality of Jesus’ life, they also knew the reality of his death.

    Only through his appearances could they understand the true fulfillment of the scriptures. And through the resurrection we too can see the evidence of the fulfillment of the Word.

    Once, I told my doubting daughter what convinced this doubting man to believe. Let’s say I told you some truth from God, and said that the proof of it would be that ten years from now an elephant would walk in front of our house and be struck by an ice cream wagon, and in the meantime I had died but those things came to pass. You would believe that I had foreknowledge of events through God.

    The Holy Spirit must convict every sinners’ heart. But in an age of evidence, the fulfillment of prophecy in the birth, life, actions, death, and resurrection of the Christ can be compelling.

  10. Regina says:

    I SO enjoyed going to church today (and every Sunday for that matter) because I was honored to participate in an awesome Easter production (we have a production every year) on the death, burial and resurrection of our LORD & Savior, Jesus Christ. Steve, I want to comment on your comment… “I certainly have not seen the risen Christ, yet all of my life I have believed it occurred and am glad it is remembered even if it has become a commercial event.”
    I especially agree with your last sentence… “I am glad people talk about it and look into it and hope that in so doing some come to know Jesus of Nazareth as their own personal Savior.”

    After the Easter production, at my church, my Pastor always ends with an invitation (to all) to know Jesus as Savior and LORD, which is, or at least should be, the real reason behind all of the wonderful ways that people choose to celebrate Easter.

    Love to all…

  11. jayh says:

    Help: I find this quote totally confusing..

    ” Today many believe that the greatest evidence for the resurrection is that a group of frightened, scattered disciples suddenly were willing to die for a report that would have been a lie– if not true. People may die for what they think to be true. But people don’t tend to die for what they know to be a lie. ”

    I would appreciate some clarity please, thank you

  12. SFDBWV says:

    Jayh I usually don’t like to answer for another as my explanation can be wrong from their intended purpose, but here goes.

    People today are always looking for proof; even the so called scholars who call themselves Christian still are wasting their time looking for a physical or tangible evidence of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

    Their best evidence is in the fact that the followers of Jesus were so convinced that Jesus had indeed come back to life from His death and burial that they were willing to die for that belief.

    Had the entire story of the resurrection simply been a ruse, the followers of Jesus would have just faded into history and never have been willing to die for a story they had made up.

    However the fact that they not only seen Jesus, but sat and ate again with Him and once again been instructed by Him and then as promised received the Holy Spirit. This actual event in the followers of Jesus empowered them to be willing to die for the story of the resurrection. Hence their life changing attitude and belief in the man Jesus to the point of giving the remainder of their lives and if needed their death for Him.

    The life they led following the resurrection then becomes a proof that what they had witnessed had indeed been true.

    I hope I have helped and not further confused you.


  13. BruceC says:

    Another proof for it all is all the millions of changed lives throughout the world. Also no man could have set out to fulfill the OT prophecies of the OT on his own. The science of probability bears this out. He had to be Who He said He was. The great IAM!!

    But God asks us to come to faith in Christ as little children; not as investigators(although that can lead TO Him.) A child accepts what their Father says and trusts Him.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  14. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    I hope and trust that the Easter celebration has brought you fresh insight and fresh commitment to our Lord for the coming year, until we rejoice again on Resurrection Sunday — and with God’s help, every day until then.

    Mart, you wrote:
    “Now we can also see why the Good Shepherd asks us to trust him– ”
    The key word, it seems to me, is trust! As the years pass, Jesus — who is fully and wondrously foretold, depicted and who finally appears by way of the gospels — calls us to increased awe and worship of him.

    In this journey, both Scripture and experience lead us on to new horizons of hope and possibility in him. Even when we may have the sinking feeling that things are not working out — or events have betrayed us — clinging to him, our Good Shepherd, brings full insight and continued release of a worldly outlook.

    Jesus does not fail.


  15. remarutho says:

    Dear All –

    It is stunning to me that my reading for this morning has been 2 Samuel 7:4-17 and 1 Chronicles 17:3-15. The prophet Nathan brings David the words of the Lord — being the covenant promise that, “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.” Jesus of Nazareth is born into the care of Joseph, a member of the tribe of Judah.

    He is the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16) – the root of Jesse (Romans 15:12 & Isaiah 11:10). He is the branch of David (Jeremiah 23:5) David did not build the temple, but his “house” brought forth the King of the universe, whose body replaces the temple (John 2:19). All those prophecies are fulfilled in Christ’s resurrection.

    The tribes and genealogies do not matter so much as the demonstration of God’s eternal provision in the Good Shepherd, after Abraham, Jesse and David – all shepherds and herdsmen.


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