It happens about once a week when I will meet someone, and as we talk, we realize we have a common acquaintance. The conversation will then turn to how we know the person, and then there will be that moment when we realize that there is something special happening. What had begun as a brief conversation that perhaps wouldn’t have normally turned into a sacred moment actually became meaningful. All because we have a common friend.
In John 10, Jesus tells his disciples about himself. He uses the opportunity to clarify who he is in relation to others. The hinge of Jesus’s words to his disciples is his knowledge of them. He is the Good Shepherd. He genuinely cares for those entrusted to him. He isn’t a hired hand. He isn’t clocking his work as just any shepherd. He isn’t spending his time just making sure he has the same number of sheep that began with. No, he actually cares and knows those entrusted to him. Not only that, but those entrusted to his care know him as well. This relationship is special. It is authentically one of concern and love. And the ultimate reality of this concern and love is the fact that Jesus will give his entire life to save those he knows and loves.
As Jesus’s disciples in the reality of the resurrection, we have certainty that Jesus knows us and loves us. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when we feel alone and lost, that Jesus is with us. But this knowledge isn’t for us to hoard all to ourselves. We are to share it. Because we know Jesus and he knows us, we have the great opportunity to connect with those around us. It is actually the unifying force (at least it should be) when we meet people in our everyday living.
Perhaps our conversations with others should be marked more with the understanding that we know Jesus and when we meet a stranger, we introduce others to him. Because we have been saved, we share the love of Jesus with all we meet. Then, when we meet one another, we can all share that blessed moment when we have what we think is a coincidental conversation and it becomes a moment of true worship when we realize that Christ is the common bond between neighbors and strangers. Jesus truly is the Good Shepherd that brings those who are entrusted to him together into a beautiful communion built upon God’s covenant love in Christ, our common, yet holy, friend. Amen.