Multiple readings, some seemingly in conflict ( KJV):
Psalms 5, 27, 51, 147:1-11
John 10:14-16 (KJV)
I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
I ‘m confused over some of these readings and our overall theme of “Journey to the Cross.” In the Psalms passages, David begs forgiveness but also pleas for “smiting of enemies” (Ps 5); the writer appreciates God’s power, but also God’s desire to be feared (Ps 147). In Jeremiah 25 we have God roaring and putting the sword to the wicked, “striking down evil.”
In Ps 51 David is gentler after his sins with Bathsheba, and writes the memorable line in verse 10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” I have a hard time fully relating to the violence and anger in these readings except for 51. Do they get us 21st century Christians moving toward the cross? Maybe they just highlight the difference from Jesus’ gentler message and calling…and of Paul’s universal message.
In our readings of Romans 10 and 11 Paul carries on the debate (mainly with Peter) over whether proselytizing should be focused on Jews or Gentiles. Paul eventually wins the debate and refers to himself as the “apostle to the Gentiles” in 11:13. Christianity becomes non-insular with the universal message of Christ’s death. Paul writes in 11:15, “…How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” A very different message than the violent undertones of the readings cited above. And Paul’s message is fundamental to our own journey to the cross as Jesus’ sheep in John 10:16.
Dear Lord, give us the wisdom to hear your call to us through Jesus as a message of invitation and love. Give us the will to carry that message to others, the “other sheep” in John 10:16, in our words and the way we live. Amen.