Before his death and resurrection, Jesus promised the disciples he would send the Holy Spirit to be with them after he ascended into heaven. But the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:1-21 was still a great surprise. The Holy Spirit continues to surprise us today as he blows through our lives, fills us with his power, and guides us to love and serve others.
In today’s reading of 1John 5:9-13, it sounds like John is saying the obvious: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so you may know that you have eternal life.” Wouldn’t you assume that people who believe in Jesus know they have eternal life? Well, what if we don’t really know it as deeply as we should? Sometimes, we need spring cleaning so that the things we want to be obvious will really shine through.
In John 15:9-17, Jesus says that as we spend time with him, “the Father will give you whatever you ask in my [Jesus’] name.” Really? How does that work? Have you ever prayed for something and wanted it so much, but then later, in hindsight, you realize that you are so glad God didn’t give it to you? That’s a clue to what’s really going on in this passage: Jesus wants to do some “spring cleaning” in our souls, to change what we desire and ask for.
Pruning is important for growing healthy plants. In John 15:1-8, Jesus talks about the spiritual pruning needed for us to bear the fruit that he wants of us. God wants to use us to multiply hope, love, joy, and peace in our world. If that’s going to happen, then we need to be pruned.
During this Easter season, we are examining our hearts in light of Jesus’ resurrection. We are discovering what spring cleaning needs to be done within us, so we can fully experience the resurrection life we receive from God. Today’s readings also focus on Jesus as our Good Shepherd. Pastor Paige highlights the sacrificial love of the good shepherd in Psalm 23 and John 10:11-18. Jesus, the one who lays down his life for the sheep, shows us how to love. In this sermon, Pastor Paige explores how we can love the people in our daily lives with the good shepherd’s selfless love.