ESSAY-LIKE SUNDAY MORNING: Today’s lesson was entitled, PROTECTING LOVE. The Scripture was from John 13:1-15. The KEY VERSES were verses 14 and 15 which read, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep?” (NIV).
Once there was a young Missionary who was determined to get out among the people and share the Gospel and hopefully save some souls for Christ. As, his community had recently been receiving a number of Mexican immigrants, he was glad that he had decided to take that Conversational Spanish class that had been offered at the local technical school. “This skill will certainly come in handy”, he’d thought to himself. So, he set out walking through the streets of the city, looking for souls to save.
Almost immediately, he came upon a crew of Mexican men roofing a home. At that moment, however, they were sitting on the porch of the house, having lunch. Here was the perfect opportunity to both save a few souls and practice his newly learned Spanish skills. “Hola!” he greeted them as he approached. “¿Cómo están los buenos caballeros hoy?” [which translated means: “Hello! How are you fine gentlemen today?”]. “Bien. Bien.” came the less-than-enthusiastic, asynchronous responses, of the work crew.
“¿Alguno de ustedes conoce a Jesús”, he asked [translation: “Do any of you know Jesus? (pronouncing Jesus as Hay-sus)]. To which the obvious leader of the crew responded, “Sí, conocemos a un Jesús, ¿puedes describir el tuyo?” [translation: “Yes, we know a Jesus, can you describe yours?”]. “Sí, por supuesto” and with that, the young Missionary began telling the work crew about Jesus Christ and His teachings about love; the miracles He performed; His death; and how He rose again with all power in His hands, so that we might have eternal life. “He is the Good Shepherd!” the young man stated emphatically.
When the young man had finished his discourse, he looked down at the Mexican men sitting on the porch of the house with their lunches in hand; staring up at him in amusement, and said, “Pues, qué piensas” [translation: “Well, what do you think?”] The “leader” chuckled and spoke—now in heavily accented English— “No man, that’s not him. He’s not no shepherd he’s a thief! Jesus Garcia is up-state doing 10-15 for burglary, robbery, forgery, and theft-by-takin’”. The work crew laughed. However, after they’d had a good laugh, they wanted to know more about Jesus Christ. The young Missionary was happy to accommodate them.
This story ended well for all concerned. What about us though? Would we know the difference between Jesus Christ and Jesus Garcia? Or, for that matter, Jones, Manson, Koresh, Long, Franklin, Moon, Applewhite, or Hinn? Would we know the difference between what Jesus Christ actually said and taught and someone propounding false teachings or doctrines?
There’s one way that those claiming to be sheep belonging to the Good Shepherd can be sure that the voice they follow is indeed the voice of Jesus, and that is to know what Jesus said; read the red! Study the red. When I say “the red”, I’m referring to those parts of the Bible that are the actual words of Jesus and are demarcated, in some Bibles, by red lettering.
We should study the character of Jesus so that we can discern what Jesus would or would not do. Jim Jones asked his followers to drink poison and die. Jesus died for US! Would someone who died for us, ask us to die for nothing? Also, Our Jesus was not a thief! So, anyone fleecing their followers cannot be representative of Jesus!
Some “false teachers” say, “Give me all of your money so I can be rich”. Jesus said that a rich man finds difficulty in reaching Heaven. He told the rich, young man to sell everything and give it to the poor, not to Him. He didn’t want money. He told His followers to leave their riches behind. He turned over the table of the money changers. He said store up your treasures in Heaven not on earth. The salacious solicitation of your money and Jesus’ words, are diametrically opposed. They’re paradoxical. They don’t fit, mix, or fuse with each other. They’re like oil and water.
Know the voice and character of the Good Shepherd!