Sunday, May 4, 2014

Time in the Word Easter 4

What does Easter 4’s theme of sheep and shepherd have to do with the Easter season’s message of the resurrection? On the surface, there seems to be no connection. Why couldn’t this theme of Jesus as shepherd serve to assure us of the nature of the risen Lord? Though he has risen in glory and is soon to ascend to the Father, Christ continues with us as a shepherd on earth, a shepherd who knows, cares, leads, and protects his sheep. Though risen in glory and absent in the body, Jesus continues as an abiding presence to care for his people. He is the good shepherd who died for his sheep to rescue them from the wolves. His resurrection confirms his victory and he continues to live as the shepherd of our souls.

Collect for Easter 4: Almighty God, merciful Father, since You have wakened from death the Shepherd of Your sheep, grant us Your Holy Spirit that, when we hear the voice of our Shepherd, we may know Him who calls us each by name and follow where He leads; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

A Prayer for Agriculture: Almighty God, You blessed the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives. Prosper; we implore You, the work of farmers, especially in this planting season. Grant them seasonable weather that they may gather in the fruits of the earth and thus proclaim Your goodness. May we see by this noble vocation that by Your aid we are helping to feed the world and cause all who give thanks over their food to treat those who produce it with honor and respect.

For the Hope of Eternal Life: Almighty and everlasting God, whose Son as assured forgiveness of sins and deliverance from eternal death, strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that our faith in Christ increase daily as we hold fast the hope that we shall not die but fall asleep and on the last day be raised to eternal life.
An Evening Collect for Eastertide: Abide with us, Lord, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. Abide with us and with Your whole Church. Abide with us in the end of the day, in the end of our life, in the end of the world. Abide with us with Your grace and goodness, with Your Holy Word and sacrament, with Your strength and blessing. Abide with us when the night of affliction and temptation comes upon us, the night of fear and despair when death shall come. Abide with us and with all the faithful through time and eternity.

Monday, May 5, 2014Psalm 23:1-3 The Antiphon for next Sunday’s Introit is taken from Vs.1, “The Lord’s my shepherd I shall not want.” Shepherd is a widely used metaphor used for Kings. David as King acknowledges that the Lord is his Shepherd-King. Jesus as the shepherd of His people is expressed most plainly in our Gospel lesson for this coming week.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 Acts 2:42-74 –The sheep witness to the Shepherd. In our first lesson, we have the issue of leadership in the 1st Century Church. What are the qualifications for church leadership? The early church faced the problem of choosing seven leaders. The apostles gave the people three criteria for their selection: good reputation, good common sense, and spirituality. Can these requirements be improved — character, judgment, and faith?

Wednesday, May 7, 20141Peter 2:19-25 – The sheep suffer like the Shepherd. In the second reading, Peter calls people straying sheep. Sheep are associated with straying and wandering off from the shepherd and the flock until they get lost and in danger of their lives. It is our nature to wander into sin, to carelessly leave the leadership of God, and to go our own way. Modern people are known for their mobility, insecurity, restlessness, a lack of roots, and loneliness.

Thursday, May 8, 2014 John 10:1-10 –The sheep follow the Shepherd to life eternal. In next week’s Gospel lesson Verses 7 and 9 teach that Jesus is the door to life and salvation. He is not one of a series of doors to God. In today’s world, the emphasis is upon pluralism — one religion being as valid as the next one. Christianity is considered one of many ways to God. This passage contradicts pluralism. The door to life, to God, to salvation, is Jesus. Is this not the basis for evangelism and missions to non- Christian people? It is not done in the interests of building up a monolithic religious organization in the hope of getting a monopoly, but of sharing good news of salvation through Christ. Jesus says in verse 10 that he came to bring abundant life to all people. What is life? Our existence only makes sense when Jesus is at the center.

Friday, May 9, 2014Psalm 23:4-6 The Psalm portion for this coming week is the much-loved Shepherd Psalm. The benefits of have Jesus as our Shepherd-King is that both goodness and love will literally pursue us. We are given the hope and promise of life with God eternally. We will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Our future has been guaranteed. Because the Shepherd-King Jesus lives forever, we have the hope and guarantee of dwelling with Christ throughout the years of our life.
Saturday, May 10, 2014John 21:15 -This verse is the inspiration for the hymn “I am Jesus’ Little Lamb“{LSB 740} Three times Peter denied his Lord. Three times Jesus asks the question “Peter…do you love me more then these? Thus, the Savior asks us today, “Do you love Me?” “Do we love Jesus more than people, more than your occupation, more than things? (In the case of Peter, these things were the tools of his trade – fishing gear.) The Savior calls us to discipleship, to take up His cross and follow Him. In this Easter season, we are directed by the Savior to affirm the new life He gives us and to share with others the hope that we have in Him. Scripture reminds us “in a twinkling of an eye” we will all be gone – What shall be said of us then? May it be said of us that we remain a sheep of His fold, a lamb of His flock, a sinner of His own redeeming.

THE LUTHERAN HYMNAL © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN WORSHIP © 1982 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

LECTIONARY PREACHING WORKBOOK A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing, Lima OH

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