Dear Redeemer Flock,
Intern Mark Fraley, Director of Music Aaron Musser, and your pastor have become quite familiar with “take 2” in recent weeks. We video record content for the weekly YouTube service on Wednesdays (and it gets posted Saturday evenings at 5pm—you can easily click on it from www.redeemermilwaukee.org).
Usually, one of us needs to plead for a “take 2” because we’ve flubbed a word and want another chance to make things more clear. And never fear, Aaron is collecting all our goofs for a great Redeemer Blooper video to be released at a heretofore unscheduled time.
If you look at the assigned gospel for this week, John 10:1-10, you’ll find Jesus trying to use an extended metaphor in verses 1-6. His disciples don’t get it. Verses 7-10 are Jesus’ “take 2,” where he tells them, “I am the Gate.”
10 “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
Jesus lies down in the gap as “the gate” who holds us in. Why? To impede our personal freedom? To play personal favorites? No, the reason (and another Top Ten Bible verse as far as I’m concerned): so we might “have life, and have it abundantly.” The thieves and bandits come to steal away the abundance, the life—the freedom, the enjoyment, the loving relationships (including with self), the meaning and purpose. Jesus wants all of that for us—and his message and ministry were all about preaching and teaching a way of life that can’t help but encourage abundance. You know I’m not talking about material gain, right? For Jesus, it’s about daily bread, sure, but also the soul health to fully take it in—moments of peacefulness, gratitude, other-mindedness—despite our current circumstances.
I’m so glad Jesus is my gate—thieves and bandits may offer smooth talk, but in the end, they want to take, and Jesus wants to give.
Enjoy green pastures and sunshine this weekend, dear flock! Join me for Prayers of the People on ZOOM at 10am on Sunday.
Baa, Pastor Lisa