Jesus Risks His Life For Us

Weekly Missionary Reflection
Easter Week IVI, 25 April 2021

Acts 4:8-12; Ps. 118:1,8-9,21-23,26,28cd,29; 1John 3:1-2; John 10:11-18

The Gospel of John is full of meaning. The depth of its theology and symbolic richness are hard to match for other evangelists. We can summarize John’s message today in 3 main points about: Jesus’ identity, relationship and mission. First, Jesus’ identity. With a jolly formula “I am…” (in Greek: ego eimi), Jesus introduced Himself. He is the Good Shepherd. This metaphor is deeply rooted in the Old Testament. In the OT, the God of Israel is often described as the Good Shepherd (Ps. 23). King David is also mentioned as the good shepherd (2 Sam 5:2). In Ezek. 34 the metaphor of shepherd is also used: the leaders of Israel are bad shepherds, as they are negligent and greedy (vv. 2-10), while God and the Messiah are good shepherds and care for His flock (vv. 11-16, 23). Today Jesus is presented like this LORD, the God of Israel in the OT: He guides, protects, cares for, provides abundance of food, life and serenity for us, the flock He shepherds.

Second, in addition to inheriting the image of the shepherd from OT, the evangelist John also added two new qualities about Jesus as the Shepherd: Jesus knew His flock and He risked His life for them. These two new qualities in Jesus’ identity at the same time affirm His deep relationship with the flock He shepherds. He “knows” each of them. He calls His disciples by name, yesterday and today. He greeted Mary Magdalene by name so that her eyes of faith were opened and she knew the risen Jesus. He comes to us and greets each of us, “judging” our conscience, as He used to greet and speak heart to heart with Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman, the Blind, Martha, and “judge” Pilate. In addition to knowing His sheep, Jesus also laid down His life for us, the flock He shepherds. He actively and freely surrendered Himself, not because He lost nor gave up, but because He loves us and also is obedient to His Father’s “task”. His relationship with His flock is a reflection and consequence of His relationship with God.

Third, Jesus’s identity and relationship mentioned above at the same time have confirmed His mission. He comes to guide and give true life to His flock, and also risks His life for them, not only in peaceful time, but especially when His people are in threats and shocks of life. Jesus cares for His flock more than His own life. That is the good news for us: Jesus, the good Shepherd, will not leave us. He will not let His church to perish by various sufferings, shocks, crisis and threats. He gave His life so that we, His flock, would not be scattered, but united with Him as the only Shepherd (v. 16). This ecumenical message and task remain relevant and challenging: all of His followers, regardless of their church and denomination, are called to unite. The basic of this communion is certainly not the unity of tribes, races, institutions and names of Church, nor organizational skills, but because we have the only Shepherd who risks His life to save all of us!

(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:
Human Right: We pray for those who risk their life by fighting for human right under a dictatorial regime and authoritarianism, and even under critical democratic countries. We pray …

For Indonesian Churches intention:
For health officials: May the medical officials and health researchers be blessed with the virture to be alert, ready and willing to help others, especially in health emergency situation. We pray …

Special Intention for the year of St. Joseph:
May we be full of blessings, like St. Joseph, to have faith in the Son who is sent to restore the Kingdom of God, to the day of His sufferring , death and resurrection beyond the comfort of the world. We pray…

Amen

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