his morning we7re going to conclude that series with a final look at what it means to be a :hristian and how we answer the +So what@ and +$ow what@ ?uestions in our lives.We begin this morning in
where we remember that 5esus is our shepherd and our protector
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.
The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his oice. !e calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
#hen he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his oice.
%ut they will neer follow a stranger& in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recogni'e a stranger(s oice.)
+esus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore +esus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
ll who hae come before me are thiees and robbers, but the sheep hae not listened to them.
I am the gate& whoeer enters through me will be saed. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy& I hae come that they may hae life, and hae it to the full.
he point that 5esus made was that there have always been leaders who claimed to be sent from od, but od7s people didn7t follow them because they knew od7s nature and character. alse leaders want positions of leadership so that they can get money or power or acclaim and fame from the people, but 5esus came, not to
things from the people, but to
for them and
life.But so what@What is it that makes life worth living@ What is it that makes a life stand out among the billions of souls who crowd our planet@ What is it that makes one life make a difference among so many others@And one more time, the Apostle /eter is ready with an answer. 0n
1 Peter 21#!2$,
he says this
or it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unust suffering because they are conscious of 4od.
%ut how is it to your credit if you receie a beating for doing wrong and endure it5 %ut if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before 4od.
To this you were called, because 6hrist suffered for you, leaing you an e7ample, that you should follow in his steps.
“!e committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.)
#hen they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate& when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who udges ustly.
“!e himself bore our sins) in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and lie for righteousness& “by his wounds you hae been healed.)
or “you were like sheep going astray,) but now you hae returned to the 8hepherd and 9erseer of your souls.
/eter says that +
if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before 4od.)
Cou are commended because you have stepped out of the ordinary and into the different. 5esus was different. 5esus is held up as our e6ample of how to live our lives. 5esus suffered for us and we are called to follow in his footsteps. When they insulted 5esus, he did not insult them back. When they beat him, he made no effort to fight back and did not even curse them or threaten them. 0nstead, 5esus trusted od to be the righteous #udge. 5esus trusted od, even as he faced his own death. "