Summary: Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd, not because he is kind or gentle, but because he is powerful, vigilant, and self-giving. That comforting metaphor works because Jesus has ascended or, as John’s Gospel puts it, he has returned to the loving and intimate communion he shares with the God he calls his Father. His watchful care is a feature of his power. The care he provides does not mean we are kept safe from all harm in this dangerous world. Rather, it means that we can be confident that he holds our identity, our connection to him, and our participation in Divine love securely. The watchfulness and concern he provides comes as a sharp contrast to the ways our leaders, structures, and societies frequently let us down and treat people as expendable.
I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on John 10:11-18. It was originally a contribution to the “Dear Working Preacher” series. Read the full article at Working Preacher.
Staggering Love (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
Summary: The Apostle Paul is in the middle of an extended discussion about spiritual gifts when he breaks stride to explain the importance of love. It isn’t just that love is an amazing force for good; love is permanent. Love does not energize spiritual gifts; love is the point of all the spiritual gifts. That’s a critical thing for preachers to remember, since preachers as much as anyone else have a responsibility to exercise and build their gifts. They also need to devote themselves to love and urge others to love. Nothing else matters. This is a vital message, too, for people doing ministry during a pandemic in a divided and frustrated society, when loving others is much more difficult than it sounds. Fortunately love never falters.
I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. It was originally a contribution to the “Dear Working Preacher” series. Read the full article at Working Preacher.
Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary
apostle paul charismata covid-19 love preaching selfishness spiritual gifts