Editor’s note: These devotional thoughts are excerpted and adapted slightly from the sermon series that accompanies CTA’s new theme for Easter preparation, The Shepherd, the Lamb. The sermon series includes six sermons and six sets of discussion questions based on them – all free! They are designed for use with our new product line, The Shepherd, the Lamb. We think you will find much of value here as you help members prepare to observe Good Friday and celebrate our Savior’s Resurrection!
Read Luke 12:22-31 as you begin.
Maybe you’ve heard the story about the old man on his death bed who said, “I’ve had a lot of troubles in my life, but most of them never happened.” Such is the nature of worry. So often we worry about disasters and problems that never end up happening. . . .
Still, our worries are not always unfounded. . . . Night or day, sun up or sun down, we hear in detail about worrisome situations from around the globe. The 24/7 news cycle beckons us to worry about problems in every direction–bombings to the east, fires to the west, earthquakes to the south, disasters to the north.
And even closer to home we face things like job insecurity, car troubles, mushrooming debt, quarrels with coworkers, challenging exams, strife at the dinner table, an unraveling marriage, a rebellious teenager, cancer, and the many questions that surround issues of retirement. In light of all this, listen again to Jesus’ words. (Re-read Luke 12:22-26.) . . .
On one level, all of us have good reasons to worry. Nothing in this life is certain. Nothing in our world is completely secure. Health problems do not just invade other families, they threaten ours, too. Divorce may happen in our community, but marriages dissolve in our very own church, too. Death stalks the sick and elderly in faraway places, but sometimes the young and healthy in our own families feel its sting, also. Nothing in our world is certain. Nothing is completely secure.
In the face of this, our Lord begins by saying, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.” It’s a bold imperative, our Lord’s command: Do not worry. It is hard to misconstrue what he means. It’s hard to miss the fact that disobedience to a direct command like this is sin. We swallow hard when we realize that. But Jesus is not trying to trick us or frighten us. He is our Calming Shepherd. He wants to help us. . . .
In every situation our Lord can help, and he wants to help. Both his power and his willingness calm our hearts. They bring us peace. During his earthly ministry, everywhere Jesus went the world was made right. Sick people – blind, broken, and bleeding people – were healed. The hungry and thirsty with their crying, craving, cavernous bellies were made full. Chaotic moments – swelling seas and terrible tempests – were made peaceful with a word. The dead – sons and daughters, brothers and sisters – were raised.
Then as now, Jesus does more than tell us not to worry. Jesus backs up his Word with his actions. Jesus can help and he wants to help. Jesus demonstrates both his power and his love in our lives today. The Calming Shepherd laid down his life for his sheep. Our Good Shepherd is also the Lamb of God who died for us and rose again. He has defeated sin and death itself. . . .
We are God’s people, sheep in the flock of the Calming Shepherd. We know he will one day keep his promise to return in glory to set all things right once and for all. In the meantime, no matter what happens, we need not fear, for our Lord Jesus promises to work in everything for our ultimate good. There is no need for worry in the flock of our Calming Shepherd.