Homily for Good Shepherd Sunday – Becoming God’s humble servant

Updated: Apr 14

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Good morning bus riders!


This is the fourth Sunday of the Easter season, which means we are now at the halfway point towards graduating into a personal ministry as Jesus Christ resurrected in your flesh.


I hope you have been practicing being divine, so when you do enter ministry you will automatically react and not worry about trying remember everything Yahweh teaches you.


Today is called Good Shepherd Sunday, which should be a prompt to practice being a pastor of a flock. All of that is figurative speech … unless anyone here is actually a sheepherder.


<Look for nodding heads.>


From the readings today, it is easy to see why this is called Good Shepherd Sunday. The Gospel of John tells of Jesus saying, “I am the good shepherd." Psalm 23 is the one we all memorized as church children: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”


We all know that one, right?


<Look for nodding heads.>


The Epistle reading from First John has the line, “He laid down his life for us-- and we ought to lay down our lives for one another,” which matches what Jesus said a good shepherd does.


The reading that is harder to see why it is read on Good Shepherd Sunday is the Acts reading, where Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin. Still, Peter did use the word “good” when he rhetorically asked those leaders, “If we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick.”


This is the root meaning behind realizing what the “Good” shepherd means, but it is easy to miss.


Peter was speaking because he and John had been arrested for having healed the man born lame, which was the Acts reading last Sunday.


Today, Peter referred to that healing as a “good deed,” using the Greek word “euergesia” [you-a-gah-see-a].


Now, if you recall, all Peter did was say, “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth walk.” Then, he reached out his right hand to help the lame man stand.


So, Peter explained that as a “good deed” or a “good work,” with Strong’s allowing for it to mean “good action, well-doing, benefiting, or kind service.”


Well, that makes one wonder, “Was Peter a Good Shepherd” because he said those words and reached out to help the man stand?


That question forces us to then realize that Peter gave away all credit by saying, “let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.”


That leads one to think Jesus is the “Good Shepherd,” right?


<Look for nodding heads or quizzical faces.>


Well, hold your horses for a moment, before you think that. Let me explain more about just what Peter said.


Let me first make clear that "Christ" was not the last name of Jesus. That word is Greek for "Anointed one," which matches the Hebrew word "Mashiach," or "Messiah," in meaning. That makes "Christ" a statement of a divine state of being.


Back in the day, there were no last names like there are today. Today, a last name is related to the last name of one’s father. A last name or surname is a statement of heredity and thus family.


When Jesus first saw Peter, after being baptized by John, he called him by his given name: Simon bar Jonah. Simon, the son of Jonah was his name. Jesus said, from now on you are Cephas [Aramaic], or Petros in Greek. His father-given name, meaning "He Who Hears" [Abarim Publications], was then a Jesus-given name, meaning "Stone." In a sense, "Peter" meant Simon was in the name of Jesus, which came from Yahweh.


Jesus was associated with the town of his human father, Joseph. Because Jesus was not known as Jesus bar Joseph, taking the name of his human father’s town was a hidden indication that Jesus was “illegitimate.” After, all, Jesus did not have a human father; so, Joseph acted as the father of Jesus, through marriage to the mother of Jesus.


Joseph was going to call off the wedding, because he could not be a part of raising an illegitimate child; but an angel came to him and said, "Yahweh wants you to do this for Him." Still, the truth could not be stated if Jesus were to be known as the son of Joseph [bar Joseph].


Still, Joseph was born in Bethlehem, and so was Jesus. Because of the edict of Herod the Great, one assumes that after Jesus returned from Egypt he then took an identification "of Nazareth" to throw people off. However, because that would not be the truth that is then not why Jesus would be known as that.


According to Matthew 2:23, prophetic scripture says, “He will be called a Nazorean.” Of course, all the Biblical scholars say there is no such prophecy, implying Matthew made that up. That seems to make Matthew a writer of a lie, but he was indeed telling the truth. The reality is the prophecy is not so much directly stated as such, but an indirect statement that Jesus fulfilled. Let me explain.


A “Nazorean” is really not the same thing as a “Nazarene,” although the same words do indicate one living in the town of Nazareth. That town goes way back in time, as a place that was named as where the Levite priests would train. Nazareth is about fifteen miles from a holy temple atop Mount Carmel.


The naming of Nazareth goes back to God telling Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of dedication to the Lord as a Nazirite,” then there were specific acts that had to take place. Yahweh commanded that in Numbers 6:2. Everything spoken to Moses about “Nazarites” is duplicated in Leviticus 21 (without stating that name), when God said to Moses, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron.” He said that in Leviticus 21:1.


According to the Wikipedia article entitled “Nazarite,” the name “comes from the Hebrew word נזיר‎ nazir meaning “consecrated” or “separated”.” That means a "Nazarite" is a priest of Yahweh, of the high priest variety.


Thus, long story short (and there is more to the story to tell, but …): Jesus being known as a Nazarene, or called Jesus of Nazareth, means Jesus was a consecrated priest of Yahweh.


One must always remember that “Christ” is not a ‘last name’ either. It is a Greek word [“Christos”] that means “Anointed one.” One that is Anointed by Yahweh can be seen as certain to have been “Consecrated” and “Set Apart.” The act of "Consecration" can only come by Yahweh, not man, meaning priests of man [not Ordained by Yahweh] were reflected in the elite of Jerusalem, because they were not Nazorean.


This means that the ‘prophecy’ fulfilled by Jesus (the truth of Matthew 2:23) is he fulfilled the demands of Number 6 and Leviticus 21. Make sure you tell that to the Biblical scholars, the next time you have lunch together.


<Look for smiles and listen for whispers that murmur, “That’ll never happen.>


So, with all that known, listen carefully to what Peter actually said to the Sanhedrin, realizing they [like the Biblical scholars today] never knew he said this. Peter said, “If we are being examined today as to a good work [done for a] human weak, by which he has been healed, let it be known to you and to the people of Israel that in this [healing is done in the] character of Jesus the Anointed one who of Consecration.”


Can you now hear Peter saying, “Yeah, my body acted in a character that says “Yahweh Saves” [the meaning of the name “Jesus”], because I am also an Anointed one of Yahweh, as my soul has been Consecrated as His priest”?


<Look for nodding heads.>


Now, we are back to Peter being like any and all who will be reborn in the name of Jesus Christ.


The physical body known as Jesus of Nazareth did not manifest and heal a man born lame. The physical body of Jesus of Nazareth did not hang out around the temple, talking to pilgrims about the healing of a lame man. The physical body of Jesus of Nazareth was not witnessed by the temple leaders, nor arrested by the temple police. Thus, there was no physical Jesus of Nazareth standing before the Sanhedrin; and, to that end, Peter reminded them, "You crucified [him], whom God raised from the dead."


That is the purpose of the Easter season, as those who should be acting like Peter, who acted like Jesus. The purpose of the Easter season is just what happened in this reading. We are supposed to be practicing being like Peter and John now.


The mandatory readings during this season are from The Acts of the Apostles, where an "Apostle" is a Glorified Messenger [and I mean that as one Anointed by Yahweh]. The Greek word "aggelos" translates as "angel," but means "messenger" of Yahweh.


Do you know what the difference between an angel of Yahweh and an Apostle is?


<Look for raised hands or quizzical faces.>


An angel has no physical body, but an Apostle does. You are expected to be born as human angels of Yahweh, which can also be called His "elohim" or lower-g gods.


That metamorphosis means going into ministry for Yahweh, carrying His message of truth to the world. That means doing things like healing men born lame and asking people who love to hate (in the name of their god), "If you are asking why we did this, then Yahweh wants to know why you did not do this?"


That most certainly says that act by Peter (and John) was a “good deed,” but that now returns us to question, as to who is the “Good Shepherd”? Does being in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth mean Jesus is that?


Jesus is heard to say, “I am the good shepherd.” That is what the Gospel reading from John 10 says; and, Christians believe what they hear read aloud in churches, especially when it is a priest walking into the aisle who is reading those words aloud.


This thought is incorrect, however, because that really is not what Jesus said. It is yet another example of translators making what was written fit a preconception, rather than translating what was said and fitting one’s beliefs to that … as difficult as that may be.


The proof of this not being what Jesus said comes from Psalm 23. We all agreed that we knew that song of praise. It clearly says (according to the translations we memorize), “The Lord is my shepherd.”


Now, I am not sure why the translators see the Hebrew text as written, which says “Yahweh,” and feel a need to change that to some nebulosity that is “Lord.” However, changing "Yahweh" to “Lord” can lead to confusion.


Children raised in Christian churches will hear said (by adults), “Jesus is Lord.” Adult Christians say that because Paul wrote that a few times in his epistles. Without understanding how Paul said "Jesus is Yahweh," they don't explain that to their children. Thus, young brains will make the erroneous assumption that David said, “Jesus is my shepherd,” even though David predated Jesus by hundreds of years.


Because divine Scripture is all true [when not paraphrased without explanation by translators], what David said is true AND what Jesus said is true. That is not a paradox. That is not a contradiction. It simply means seeing the truth of both saying the same thing.


In the Greek written by John, he indicated Jesus said [and I literally translate now], “I am the one shepherd the other good,” following that immediately (after a comma) by saying “the one shepherd the other good.” He then, following another comma mark, writing that Jesus then said, “this soul of him establishes on behalf of those sheep.”


Think about that for a moment.


<Let that sink in for thirty seconds.>


The translation read aloud in Episcopal churches [even knowing the Big Book held before a priest might not have the exact same words as the print-out held by those in the pews] says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”


That is not what Jesus said. It is fitting one’s preconception that Jesus first said, “I am the good shepherd" and then repeating that as if Jesus is who "lays down one’s life for the sheep.” The preconception generating that translation is this: Jesus died so all can be saved.


The error of that makes many people think they never have to ACT like Jesus, because he died for us lost sheep to remain lost.


That is wrong; and, Jesus did not say that.


Relative to what David said [clearly, I might add], “Yahweh [is] my shepherd,” Jesus said, “I am the one shepherd.”


Did you hear that?


<Look for quizzical expressions.>


Jesus said, “Yahweh [is] the one shepherd,” where the repetition of “ho” can mean “the one … the other.” Yahweh is “the one shepherd,” as there is no other “shepherd.”


In the Greek written by John, he capitalized “Egō,” which means John knew Jesus said “I” as a divinely elevated statement of who was speaking. “I” is Yahweh; and, when Moses asked, “Who shall I say sent me?” to the voice he heard by the burning bush, the name “Yahweh” comes from Moses being told, “I AM THAT I AM.” So, Jesus was shortening the name of God to simply “I am.”


Jesus said, “Yahweh [is] my shepherd,” because "I am" [is] "the one shepherd," who speaks through "me" [Jesus]. Jesus then added that God appears in humans [“the other”] so they express Yahweh [like David did, like Jesus did] as “beautiful” – the meaning of “good” [“kalos”].


So, there is absolutely no contradiction. Both David and Jesus said, “Yahweh my shepherd.” Jesus added that Yahweh displays “beauty” upon those who “honor” Him.


In that regard, Jesus repeated that bestowing of “honor,” which can only come from Yahweh, by saying, “this shepherd this character” ["ho poimēn ho kalos"], where he was referring to himself.


That forces one to ponder the word “shepherd” and ask, “What does that mean?”


The Greek word written by John implies a “pastor,” which Jesus was, as an extension of Yahweh on earth. Still, the Hebrew word translated as “shepherd” means one who puts “to pasture, tends, grazes.” The Latin word from which comes “pastor” bears that same meaning.


Thus, what Jesus said about himself means he knew he was the food upon which the sheep needed to be fed.


That is where the meaning of “good” needs to be realized as: “an outward sign of the inward good, noble, honorable character; good, worthy, honorable, noble, and seen to be so.” (Strong’s Usage)


Jesus is the lush green grass that is “good” to eat, not the weeds found in the fields of the temple elite, where their sheep were fed mistranslations and preconceptions, making them all be thin as rails … spiritually.


The weeds are the “hired hands” or those “hired servants,” which means all the “good” they receive is measured in physical things: coins of gold and silver, cash, or paychecks that come with healthcare benefits and tax breaks for clergy. All that “good” stays here on earth when their lives end. They are paid for services rendered; but, when the wolf shows up, nobody pays them enough to lay down their lives for stupid sheep. They run away, money belt still firmly attached.


That brings up how Jesus is supposed to have said, “the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” In my literal translation, the word translated as “lays down” is “tithēsin,” where the root verb says, “I put, place, lay, set, fix, establish.”


When one sees how Yahweh was speaking through His Son, such that Jesus was identified as being Yahweh extended to the physical plane, for the purpose of supplying good spiritual food for sheep, the element that says “establishes a soul” (where a “life” is a “soul,” always “alive” because “souls” are eternal) means Jesus is the prototype for all who would be born again as him.


Jesus did not make that an established condition, Yahweh did. Yahweh sent His Son as a plan that involves a "soul" ["psuché"] that can be reused, over and over again, multiple times at the same time, so the whole wide world can be Jesus reborn … IF.


I want you to take a moment to think about how Psalm 23 says, “The Lord [Yahweh] is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Think about what it means to “not want.”


<Let them think about that for 30 seconds.>


The Hebrew written means “not lacking, not needing, not decreasing.” Now, see that as a “soul” that gives “life” to a body of flesh. When you think about it like that, it says your “soul” will never be found failing Yahweh. To “not want” means to have gained everlasting life.


What do Christians want more than anything? They want to believe they can sin, sin, sin and just say some prayers, eat a cracker and sip some wine and <presto change-o> they are good to go to heaven. Of course, that means wanting everything under the sun afterwards.


To "not want" means giving up on material desires and becoming totally submissive to Yahweh.


Seeing that as being relative to what Jesus said about a good shepherd laying down his life for the sheep, look at how David then said, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.”


Can you see the parallel? Can you see how David was saying that his soul being saved means Yahweh sets him down as green pastures, which means he is laid out as good spiritual food for the sheep?


<Look for signs of introspection.>


The two readings – Psalm 23 and the lesson Jesus taught to the people of the temple – are closely parallel. I ask you to take the time to read them both slowly and see their interconnectivity. I welcome you to read what I have posted as commentaries on all of the readings for today, on my website.


What I want to bring up now are two final things. The first is relative to the quote Peter said to the Sanhedrin. The other is relative to the Epistle reading from First John, where he wrote, “he laid down his life for us-- and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.”


As for what Peter said, he quoted Psalm 118, which was read on Easter Sunday. I referenced it then as Jesus being the round stone that was rejected by the builders, because it could not be useful without corners and flat surfaces. I said a squared cornerstone reflects the tombstone that enslaves a soul in a body of flesh.


Today, Peter quoted David to the Sanhedrin, immediately after telling them, "you crucified, whom God raised from the dead." By Peter saying to ears trained to remember quotes from Scripture, "the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone," he spoke as Jesus resurrected, as the Messenger of Yahweh, telling them, "You just sealed your souls in eternal tombs of reincarnated fleshy bodies; and, you sealed those tombs with cornerstones that will never be capable of being rolled away."


It is vital to see that same message being delivered today, to all who think the same way as did the Jews of the Second Temple. They all had it figured out that there was nothing terrible to look for after death. They counted on it being nothing [a philosophy of the Sadducees] or it being a mill about Sheol or Purgatory until Jesus returns to release all the souls to heaven [a philosophy of Pharisees and Roman Catholics].


Jesus returned on Pentecost, becoming reborn in many that day. Peter and John are two who became the resurrections of Jesus on that day; and, the healed lame man became another who was likewise resurrected. Not being able to see that truth being exposed means blinding oneself to the proposal to marry Yahweh and become reborn as His Son. That refusal means rejecting the Stone that can be Rolled away from one's tomb, when one will surely die. Rejecting that stone means crucifying Jesus of Nazareth all over again, while being a field of weeds no sheep will eat.


As to the reading in First John, which says, "he laid down his life for us-- and we ought to lay down our lives for one another,” that needs deeper inspection. In the verses not read aloud today, the third-person pronoun, “he,” cannot be assumed to be Jesus. In verses 11 – 15, John wrote about Cain murdering his brother, saying that was an indication that evil exists in the world and hatred of a brother makes one’s soul be a murderer.


John used the same Greek words as did Jesus, in the sense that “life” equally means “soul,” and “laid down” equally means “established.” That means the third-person pronoun “he” is not simply Jesus, but all who act righteously, as did Abel. Abel did die at the hand of evil, just as would Jesus much later in time. The world is a place that always loves destroying anything righteous.


That says Yahweh is “he” who made righteousness into a “soul” that was “established” for all who will become the lush green grass of truth, who will feed the sheep as extensions of Yahweh on earth.


I know the bus is due to pull up soon, so I will end here. Just know that there is much more to be seen in the readings presented today.


Know that Yahweh is the one shepherd who is the only source of goodness in the world. You are meant to become the reproductions of Jesus, so you become the extension of Yahweh the shepherd who establishes that soul for the sheep. You are now responsible for laying yourselves down as the green pastures of truth for the world’s sheep to be spiritually nourished.


In Psalm 23 David sang, “He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me along paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” [KJV]


A “restored soul” is a “soul reborn.” It is your soul merged with Yahweh’s Holy Spirit, so you not only were born when your mother gave birth to you; but you were born again, when Jesus became one with your soul.


Being reborn as Jesus is how you can be guided along the paths of righteousness.


Being reborn as Jesus means your soul takes on the birthright of being Yahweh’s Son, able to call Yahweh “Father.”


The Easter season is all about you being reborn as Jesus. It is all about you submitting your self-egos for the Ego of Yahweh. Now that means preparing to become a shepherd in the name of Jesus, the Anointed one of Sacredness.


It is time now to be fertilizing yourself so you will become nice and full of truth when your ministry comes and it is time to sod the fields of the world with good spiritual food that lost sheep love to find.


Amen

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