Fourth Sunday of Easter – April 22, 2018

Texts for the Day

Stewardship

This week, we begin a series on stewardship. The readings this week focus on shepherd imagery. In most cases, a shepherd is a royal image in the Bible. The loving care that a shepherd shows to sheep is compared to the expectation of how a good king will rule. In addition to the assigned readings for the day, here are some passages to read and think about.

1 Samuel 16:1-13 –  It is no accident that David, the future king, is depicted as a shepherd here. Psalm 23 is attributed to David, so what does it mean when the former shepherd, now king, sings, “The Lord is my shepherd?”

Ezekiel 34 – This is one of the longest shepherd passages we have in the Old Testament. God denounces the kings of Israel and Judah for being bad shepherds and taking care of themselves rather than their flocks. Furthermore, God declares that God will be the new shepherd or king and will rule justly.

All of this is in the background when Jesus says in John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd.” While much commentary on these words centers around the image of shepherd itself, Jesus is also making a royal claim. Jesus is the descendant of David. By saying he is the good shepherd, he is claiming not only kingship, but also answering David’s assertion in Psalm 23.

What does this have to do with stewardship? A steward is a servant who has been entrusted with the care of particular possessions or tasks. As servants of the King of Kings, the world has been entrusted to us. What has been entrusted specifically to you? How can you carry out the work of the Good Shepherd in your own life?

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