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The Good Shepherd

Every year the Cedar Springs Post dedicates a whole section to the many special events that occur on Easter Sunday and the days leading up to it. We will often find listings for special sunrise services, mentions of any Easter dramas or special music events, as well as the inside scoop on any Easter egg hunts for the kids. Easter Sunday is certainly the highlight of the Christian calendar and rightfully so. It is a time to remember Jesus’ victory over the darkness; His resurrection from the dead!

But even though we are still a couple of weeks away from those special events, it shouldn’t stop us from reflecting today on the meaning of Easter. These next two weeks give us a wonderful opportunity to prepare our hearts for this special time of year. It gives us chance to really reflect on the work of Jesus and how that affects our lives still today. John 10 is a wonderful place to turn for such reflection. In John 10 it describes Jesus as a good shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep. What a wonderful thing to think about even before Easter. After all, before we celebrate the resurrection, we must first remember Jesus death and burial. How difficult it must have been for Jesus to go through such pain that was required to die upon a cross to pay for our sins.  Yet that is the nature of Jesus as we see in John 10. There you will find that He does not abandon us, instead He cares for us. While a hired hand would run should a wolf come stalking the sheep, Jesus instead stays and protects us.

But perhaps most helpful if we were to begin a pre-Easter reflection from John 10, is the fact that the Shepherd knows His sheep.  Jesus knows us and knows us well. He knows everything about us. I like to think that I know Cedar Springs pretty well, but I’m sure Mayor Watson knows the town much better than I. But not even Mayor Watson knows this town like God does. And that is how well God knows us. It’s kind of like the way that parents know their children. Parents know their kids’ personalities, tendencies and interests. I encountered an example of this a week ago when my son got hurt while playing outside. He came running into the house crying, but before he got to me I could tell how serious it was by the sound of his cry. You see, my son has three levels of cries. The first is the crying he does when he is in trouble and has been sent to bed. The second is when he is hurt, but its not too serious, he’s more scared than anything. And the third level of cry is where he’s really hurt and there is probably blood and he probably needs to go to the hospital. Without knowing what happened outside, I could tell that this was a level 2 category cry, and it was. How did I know? Because I know my son. And that’s how well God knows us, but much more so.

But even more shocking than this is that we know The Shepherd. John 10 says we know His voice. He’s not so vast that we cannot know Him. He’s not so distant that we cannot reach Him. In fact, He is very close. And if we can know His voice, than we are called to follow it. Not just at Easter or two weeks before, but all year long. We have the wonderful privilege of knowing Jesus Christ in our lives. Maybe we have started young and have experienced many years following the Lord like my retired friends Leon and Ruth. Or maybe we are making a decision to follow Jesus today. Either way, we can be certain this Easter that He is a Good Shepherd that has laid His life down for us and He leads us and guides us every step of the way.

Pastor Jim Alblas
Pioneer Christian Reformed Church
3110 17 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs

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