Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Sermon 4/21/13

In today's gospel it is winter, the time commemorating the re-dedication of the temple by Judas Maccabeus in 164 B.C. after it was defiled by the Romans. Interestingly, it is mostly a social event.

It is a short gospel, and sweet without its context. Earlier, Christ talks about being the Good Shepherd but here, with "My sheep hear my voice," Christ is explaining to his Jewish questioners what distinguishes His followers: They hear His voice, follow and He knows them. Christ opponents, on the other hand, see the evidence and will not believe; other motives prevent them from believing. "But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep." (This line has caused a lot of trouble, especially from those predisposed to predestination.)

Then Christ says He will give His believers the "gift" of immortality. There is an intimacy here between Christ and His followers that switches to an intimacy between Christ and His Father. So the Shepherd, the flock and the Father come together. Then He says, "I and the Father are one."

How can anyone doubt what He is claiming? His audience didn't. In the next line they stone Him.

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