Jesus The Good Shepherd

On Monday, 4th of July 2022

On Sunday 3rd July, District Apostle Edy Isnugroho conducted the service for the departed in our Tupi church. The divine service was based on Luke 15:4,7. Here, The Lord Jesus described His work of salvation. He introduced Himself as the Good Shepherd, The sheep are the souls of the people. The flock are all the baptized souls, those who belongs to the church of Christ, who believe and follow Him. He will lead them into His kingdom. He describes as 100 sheep.

Now Jesus speaks of a sheep that lost. They have the sacraments, belonged to the flock of Christ and for some reason they strayed from it. There are brothers and sisters, who have moved away from the flock of Christ because their love has grown cold. They were no longer interested in the gospel, in the Church, in Jesus Christ anymore. At some point something went wrong and they do not care anymore. But Jesus continues to love them, even if they made this wrong decision. He still calls them: return to Me! He goes after them.

What we can do, especially now these difficult days: We can reawaken their interest when they look at us and realize that we have not lost confidence, are not afraid, but have trust in God and peace in our hearts. We can consciously highlight the added value of the gospel. We continue to love them, like the love of Jesus Christ. We have our longing, to be together in Christ. Reconciliation with our neighbour, staying in unity despite all differences: This is how we can show what we are interested in – show the lost sheep what Jesus can give us.

He never disappoints

Jesus also speaks of the ‘little ones’ (Matthew 18:10-14). The little ones are the ones who do not have strong faith, maybe they did not quite understand everything; their faith and trust in God were not so great. When came a disappointment, could be an unanswered prayer, or something happened in the congregation that was too much for them and they distanced themselves from the congregation. Jesus Christ did not judge them, He continues to love them and He is calling them to return. We can also help and let them feel that we still love them, that we do not judge, not criticize or condemn them. It hurts us that they are no longer here. Of course they remain free in their decision. Maybe we could apologize to them. There is no reason to leave Jesus because people are imperfect.

In the parable the shepherd has 100 sheep – He goes after the one that is lost and leaves the 99 alone. We should not get upset when we see that the Lord Jesus is taking steps in this or that direction to bring back the lost. That does not mean He is rejecting the 99 sheep. He does not change anything. Let our heart speak and love the lost as Jesus loves them.

Perhaps, we are included in the lost sheep because we have already internally distanced ourselves from the Lord or from the congregation – lost interest, love has grown cold, disappointment, taken offense for some reason. With our bodies we are still there, but in our hearts, we have already distanced ourselves.

The same love

Jesus loves all the sheep with the same love. Whether they are good or even they are wicked and bad, Jesus love all of them with the same love. There is no difference. This is something incredibly great. God is love, that is His nature. God loves all people. Perhaps we think: We are children of God. The dear God is our Father. And so He must loves us more than those who are not children of God, or who are completely evil. No! God loves all people with the same love. What is special about the children of God? They have made the right decisions; they are with God and they are better able to perceive God’s love and have the opportunity to really enjoy it. That makes the difference. The love of God is the same, but the way in which man receives, lives, and experiences it is what makes the difference.

Jesus cares for the sheep that are part of His flock and that have strayed from it. He wants to lead His flock into His kingdom. Let us not leave Him because of human shortcomings or because someone has done something really bad or foolish. It is about the salvation of the soul. Jesus will not disappoint us, He loves us all. Let us remain staying with Him.

A full week in the Philippines

After conducted Apostles and Bishop meeting in Tacloban last week, District Apostle accompanied by Apostle Samuel Tansahtikno visited the working area of Apostle Cleofas Bual in Cebu. On June 29th he conducted divine service in Baring. He placed Evangelist Luis Degrano (66) into a well-deserved retirement. The Evangelist has served the Lord in the ministries of Priest and Evangelist faithfully for 30 years. On the next day he conducted divine service in Lantawan. Here the District Apostle was happy and grateful, because he knew that the old church building was completely destroyed and washed away by Typhoon Odette, but the brothers and sisters remained faithful. Three Priests and one Deacon were ordained there.

He then continued the trip to General Santos, in the working area of Apostle Alfredo Pascual. He visited the congregations of Quilantang and Lagao and conducted divine services there before conducted the divine service for the departed in Tupi.