The Shepherd and the Lamb

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. -John 10:14-16

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  -Matthew 25:31-33

For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness… I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.  As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats. Ezekiel 34:11-12,15-17

Once again, Christ was not only aware but, though subtly, proclaimed his deity repeatedly.  Back in Ezekiel God declared that He was the Shepherd and that He would judge between sheep and the goats.  Along comes Jesus of Nazareth, a lowly carpenter, and he claims that He is the Shepherd and that He will judge between the sheep and the goats.  See the point?  Jesus was claiming not only to be the Messiah but to be the Word of God in the flesh.

Another thing that I just thought of… the Shepherd Himself became the Lamb that was slain so that the other sheep would hear the Shepherd’s voice.

The Beginning and the End

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”   -Revelation 1:8

That is God the Father speaking.  He calls himself the Alpha and the Omega.

In the Old Testament:

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel
and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
“I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.”
-Isaiah 44:6

God calls himself the first and the last.  He is declaring his eternal nature.

He says elsewhere, “Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.” (Isaiah 43:10)

Yahweh is the beginning and the end.  There is no other god, there never has been any other god, just the one.  “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

There is tons of evidence that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh–he’s already called himself “I AM” and he’s been called “God” and “Lord” many times.

Yet at the very end of the Bible he declared something that can be said of no one but God.  Jesus said, as God the Father already declared to John the Revelator earlier:

“Behold, I am coming soon… I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

If it were not clear already, Jesus is declaring his oneness with the Father.  There is no god other than God, so if another is also eternal, then they MUST be ONE.

As John Piper puts it in Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ:

Jesus Christ is the Creator of the universe… the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.  Jesus Christ the Person, never had a beginning.  He is absolute Reality.  He has the unparalleled honor and unique glory of being there first and always.  He never came into being. He was eternally begotten.  The Father has eternally enjoyed “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” in the Person of his Son.

The Emergent Church and the Humanity of Christ

I just finished reading Why We’re not Emergent: By Two Guys that Should Be by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck.  It really made me think about some of the things I have been reading lately.  In the midst of them refuting many of the questionable beliefs that the emergent guys have, I wish they would have at least taken a chapter to point out the good things that the emergent guys are talking about.  Also they should have been a little more clear that not all the emergent guys are heretics.  Because they aren’t.

At the end of the book, they point out that many reformed, traditional, non-emerging churches tend to be like Ephesus from Revelation 2.  The refuse to allow false-doctrine and heresy to come into their fellowship, yet they’ve lost their first love.  At the same time, many of the Emergent churches are more similar to Pergamum–they hold fast to Jesus, but have compromised with idolaters and the sexually immoral–or they’re like Thyatira–they are quick to love and to serve, but they tolerate what Jesus hates.

In other words, many traditional churches hate what Jesus hates but don’t love what Jesus loves.  At the same time, many Emergent churches love what Jesus loves but don’t hate what Jesus hates.

So I would recommend you give this book a read.

…………………………………………………….

In other news, I preached today and will preach again next week.

Leah and I have been listening to the staff training sessions on the Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters Podcast.  I decided that the two part session on the humanity and the deity of Christ was something that my church needs to hear.  So I ganked it.  Yeah, I’m a sermon stealer.  I think we all do it, though.  If someone else has already said something in a great way, why try to say it differently?  Anyway, listen to it, and tell me what you think.  What can I do better?  What did I do well on?  I’m still learning at this stuff.  We had really long music and a really long prayer, so I didn’t start preaching until 12.  Anyway, give it a whirl.

The Humanity of Christ

I’ll give you three guesses what this post is about…

Thats not all it is about… I have a really busy week, but I thought I would give a few quick links/comments to think about for the remainder of election day and the following days.

First, you should check out my beautiful wife’s most recent post about the necessity of community.  She also includes a few nuggets of wisdom about the purpose/misuse of blogging:

I also refuse to use this blog as a daily journal or face book status/twitter “today I ran a marathon”, “I am eating pie” or”my life is completely focused on my political affiliation”

I wish I were eating pie right now.

Also, check out a few thoughts on the election from John Piper.

Also, Andrew Lewis offers a few passages of scripture that should be kept in mind through this election.

Finally, Derek Webb, as usual, has some good things to say in his column in Patrol Mag.

Real and lasting change comes from knowing and loving the folks who live in the houses that sit next to ours rather than saving all of our longing and hope for the voting booth.

And this:

These matters of conscience are serious and should be considered at great length. I have many friends who have considered the issues of this current election in all their nuances and have chosen to vote for either Obama, McCain, or a 3rd party candidate, and I support them in doing so. Again, we are diverse members of one body in our following of Jesus. It would be suspicious if we all reached identical conclusions to such complex problems. So again, maybe there is no conflict of conscience for you in this election. By all means vote. But if there is, be at liberty not to vote.

Our ultimate hope is not in politicians or powers or governments, but in a day coming when all things will be made right. And our ultimate concern isn’t success but faithfulness. So if you find it necessary to abstain from voting in this election because to do so would be a violation of your conscience, be at liberty to remain faithful and leave the worry of success or outcome to God. He, after all, created governments in the first place.