Easter and the Good Shepherd

Happy Easter to each of you!  In our family, we greet each other Easter morning with: “He is risen!  He is risen indeed!”  I wish I could share my fresh-baked hot cross buns with you for breakfast. (Except — oops — they are bare, as I forgot to slice the crosses on the top of this batch.)

Easter and Good Friday and The Green Sheep have all made me think about the references to sheep in the Bible.  There are many.  For the past 8 months, I’ve been studying the book of Isaiah with a great group of women — a tremendous study.  There’s lots about sheep there, a bit of which I shared in my Good Friday post.

(Photo by mehmetgoren)

Last year we studied the book of John, another wildly wonderful book.  I remembered some talk about shepherds there, so I went back to find it.  In chapter 10, Jesus used some very familiar “people in the neighborhood” (a la Sesame Street, Hebrew style) to teach something about himself.  He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10.11).

(Photo by Jim Richardson)

This reminds me of the 23rd psalm, where David describes the day-to-day shepherding care he received from the Lord.  (And I think it’s cool that David wrote from what he knew, as he was a shepherd before becoming king.)  “The Lord is my shepherd,” he wrote, “I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake”  (Psalm 23.1-3).

So how does this tie to Easter?  Well, Jesus did an extraordinary thing in laying down his life to conquer sin (Good Friday) and then in rising to conquer death (Easter).   Today he LIVES as a guiding, care-taking, restoring shepherd…to those lost sheep like me who call on him.

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