Third Sunday of Lent: "I Am the Good Shepherd"

Scripture: John 10:11-21

SERVICE SUGGESTIONS

Call to Worship: Psalm 95

Children' Choir: "The Good Shepherd" Delmonte

Children's Sermon

Our director of children's ministry led the children through the Children and Worship lesson on Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Using an oversized flannel-board and figures, she spoke of the Good Shepherd who seeks out his sheep.

Songs

"Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us" PsH 591, PH 387, TH 599
"Do You Know Your Shepherd's Voice?" (sung by a child following the sermon)
"Humble Praises, Holy Jesus"PsH 484

Sermon Ideas

The setting of this story is conflict. Jesus speaks these words in the midst of a battle between himself, the Pharisees, and a man born blind who has received his sight from Jesus.

In the heat of this conflict, Jesus compares himself to a shepherd and his people to sheep. This is not a flattering comparison for us. Sheep are of limited intelligence, uncreative, and have occasionally wandered into fires. In the book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, the author describes how sheep sometimes become "cast." They roll over onto their backs, their center of gravity shifts, and they find that they are unable to regain their feet. If left in this condition, they will die. While this is not flattering, it is often an accurate description of us.

Shepherds in Palestine do not drive their sheep. Instead, they lead them. They walk in front of them and call them to follow. Not only does Jesus, our Shepherd, lead us, but he is willing to lay down his life for his sheep. He would rather die than allow one of those who belong to him to be hurt or killed.

Jesus also makes a fascinating statement about the size and occupancy of his sheep pen. He has sheep who are not merely of the Jewish sheep pen, but are far off and must be called to him. What a powerful picture of a global church!

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Gerald L. Zandstra is a pastor at Hillside Community Church, Cutlerville, Michigan.