Marked for Life
1 John 3:16-24
The image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is probably one of the most cherished symbols in all of Christendom. The community of faith which gathered around John’s gospel in the first century understood that they were a people who were marked for life by the cross of Christ. Contemporary opinion often sees Jesus’ death on the cross as being an event that was forced upon him, or in the least offensive terms one in which he reluctantly participated. Nothing could be further from the truth. We learn in John’s gospel that he willingly laid down his life. All of the suffering and all of the pain were gladly accepted of his own volition. Thus you and I are ready recipients of this great gift. Whatever degree of tragedy incorporated into Jesus’ crucifixion has been far outweighed by the reality and triumph of the resurrection. There are those who see Jesus as the victim, but we Christians understand him to be the victor. Jesus said, “The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” This is how the Good Shepherd gathers his flock. The church gathers in memory of this life given freely for all. There is something in this forfeited life which marks each and every one of us. We gather believing that sacrificial living is the way to live into abundant life. Christian living is life poured out so that it can be refilled from God’s everlasting fountain of grace and mercy. This is what life, what love really looks like. He laid down his life for us!
Blessings in Christ our Good Shepherd,