Fourth Sunday of Easter, 12th May

John 10:27–30

“My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and
they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one
will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than
all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father's hand. The Father and I
are one."


These four verses are taken from a long
discourse that Jesus gave in the temple area on the feast of Dedication, the
annual commemoration of the restoration of the temple by the Maccabees in 165
BC. The Jews were questioning his claim to be the Messiah.

Christ, the Son of God, is our shepherd. He
has laid down his life for us, his sheep. As he himself said (John 10:11).
Today he tells us in these verses which have been read, that his sheep know him
as the true shepherd and listen to him. He is more than a temporal king or
ruler who can provide for the welfare of his subjects in this life only. This
is because temporal death is not final. It is the beginning of real life. Those
who are his will remain his for his Father has given them to him and his Father
made him the Shepherd and no enemy can overpower the Father. In the last verse,
Jesus states that God the Father is his support and strength, and more than
that, there is a profound unity between him and the Father.

Today we are told that his sheep know his
voice and that they follow him. We have a simple criterion here for judging the
truth and sincerity of our faith. Do we always know his voice, do we always
follow him?

Have we not been fooled by messages of the
enemies of Christ that we should think of ourselves only and let the weaker or
the milder take what they deserve. Have we ignored the self-appointed teachers
of the new heaven-on-earth who suggest that only earthly power could remove
human miseries and sufferings? Have we not been told that eternal life is an
old-wives tale?

Today we are once more reminded of this one
basic and solid fact of life. We are destined for an eternal life. Our Good
Shepherd, Christ our Saviour, promised to give us this eternal life, if we
listen to his voice and follow him. Any sane man or woman who knows this true
fact of life can turn a very deaf ear to the modern vendors of false, temporary
happiness because “they have not the truth in them” (John 8:44). Amen.