In many Christian traditions the Fourth Sunday of Easter, which is today, is also referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday. Part of this tradition comes from the lessons assigned for the three-year cycle of the Lectionary. On this Fourth Sunday of Easter, we read the 23 rd Psalm and John 10.
The 23 rd Psalm is a familiar psalm that many have memorized. It is a part of almost every funeral I have ever participated in or attended. “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.” We find great comfort in the words of the psalmist. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil.”
While we may not be quite as adapt at speaking the words of John 10 from memory, we can find assurance when as we read Jesus’ teaching, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.”
Being known and knowing another has more power over us than we realize. We all know what it is to be able to recognize specific voices. I recently read that some believe that babies in the womb are able to recognize the voice of their mother whether she is speaking or singing a lullaby.
Some voices we know right away through the first word we hear spoken. We recognize voices on the telephone or voices calling to us across the room. Sometimes we are aware of what it is about to happen simply by the sound of voice,
especially if it is the voice of a parent and you know you are in trouble!
Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.” It is important to understand that Jesus continued saying, “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.”
Is it possible? On this Fourth Sunday of Easter, listen for the voice of Jesus saying, “I lay down my life for the sheep so there may be one flock, one shepherd.”