Sunday, April 15, 2018

Time in the Word - Easter 4

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 we may know the voice of our Shepherd and follow Him, that sin and death may never pluck us out of Your hand; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Lord God, our shepherd, You gather the lambs of Your flock into the arms of Your mercy and bring them home. Comfort us with the certain hope of the resurrection to everlasting life and a joyful reunion with those we love who have died in the faith; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Anoon time prayer; Gracious Jesus, our Lord and our God, at this hour You born our sins in Your own body on the tree so that we, being dead to sin, might live unto righteousness. Have mercy upon us now and at the hour of our death, and grant to us, Your servants, with all others who devoutly remember Your blessed passion, a holy and peaceful life in this world and through Your grace eternal glory in the life to come, where, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, You live and reign, one God, now and forever.

An afternoon prayer: Heavenly Father, in whom we live and move and have our being, we humbly pray You so to guide and govern us by Your Word and Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget You but remember that we are ever walking in Your sight.

Time in the Word
16-21 April 2018
Preparation for next week, Easter 4

This is Good Shepherd Sunday.  The theme of the Good Shepherd is evident in the Gospel and the Hymn of the Day. An emphasis is made on the power of the Good Shepherd. In the Gospel, Jesus says he has power to lay down his life and to raise it again. How does this fit into the Easter season, a celebration of the Resurrection? Jesu has power to rise from the dead.

Jesus explains the parable of the good shepherd. An explanation is made of what constitutes a good shepherd in contrast to a hireling. Emphasis is laid upon the fact that Jesus’ deasth was voluntary. The shepherd has an intimate knowledge of his sheep. There is one flock with one shepherd. The basic point is that the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 

Monday, 16 April 2018 Psalm 23; Antiphon, John 10:14, 15b – The Fourth Sunday of Easter is also known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” The Introit combines the twenty-third psalm with a portion of Jesus’ words from John 10. One of the key verses of Psalm 23 is verse 3: He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who restores our soul by laying down His life for His sheep. By this sacrificial act, He redeemed us, that we may be righteous in God’s eyes.

Tuesday, 17 April, 2018 Psalm 23 – Sunday’s psalm is the very familiar twenty-third psalm. Children of God have turned to this psalm for comfort for thousands of years, not just because it uses pretty words and phrases in depicting a tranquil scene, but also because it faces the grim realities of life (Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death; the presence of mine enemies) and gives sure, certain hope to all who are members of the Lord’s flock.

Wednesday, 18 April, 2018 Acts 4:1-12 – After their release by the Sanhedrin, before whom they were taken because of their preaching of Jesus and His resurrection, Peter and John return to the band of believers. As they had before the Jewish leaders, Peter and John show how the Old Testament must be interpreted with Jesus in mind. They quote Psalm 2, a coronation psalm, in their prayer, and show how King Jesus fulfilled it.

Thursday, 19 April, 2018 1 John 3:16-24 – The readings from St John’s first epistle continue with this short passage. In it, John contrasts those in the world, who do not know the Father because they have rejected the Son, with believers, who put their trust in Christ, and, thus, have been made the children of God.

Friday, 20 April, 2018 John 10:11-18 – Sunday’s Gospel is the “Good Shepherd” passage from St John’s Gospel. Jesus calls Himself the “good,” or “noble,” Shepherd. He has made us the sheep of His flock by giving His life for us, and He continues to protect us from all who would do us evil or harm. So long as we remain in His fold, nothing, not even the devil, can harm us.

Recall the words of A Mighty Fortress: “And take they our life / Goods, fame, child, and wife / Let these all be gone / They yet have nothing won / The Kingdom ours remaineth.”
Jesus will refer to himself as the good shepherd. Who then are we who believe in him? Are we sheep or shepherds? If we are shepherds, where arte the sheep to be led, fed, and protected? Some congregations indicate on their Sunday bulletins that all members of the church are “ministers”. Who then are the clergy? It seems we may have too many chiefs and not enough braves in the church. A shepherd is one who leads; the sheep follow. Jesus is the chief shepherd (pastor) and his leaders are ordained to be under-shepherds. The rest of us are sheep.

Jesus death and resurrection are not the work of humans. He is no victim of injustice. He is not a martyr to a good cause. He is in control of his destiny. In this passage of Scripture we are reminded that he has the power to die and to return to life. This is God’s work. A work of salvation. The cross is a victory over sin and the resurrection confirms the victory.

Jesus has other sheep. There is nothing sectarian about Jesus. He does not intend to be limited to Israel. He is for the whole world. He died for all humankind. He commissions His disciples to preach the gospel to all nations. He is a universal Savior. He envisions the whole world to be one flock under one shepherd. Because Jesus has “other sheep” the church needs its program of evangelism and missions to gather the other sheep into His fold, the church.

Saturday, 21 April, 2018 The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want (LSB710 436) – Sunday’s hymn is simply – and appropriately – the twenty-third psalm in metrical form, set to a pretty tune. Note thatThe Lutheran Hymnal also has the same psalm used as a canticle, set to a beautiful chant tone (probably Anglican), Hymn 662.

Concordia Self-Study Commentary, © 1971, 1979, Concordia Publishing House. St. Louis
Lutheran Worship, © 1982, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis,
Lutheran Service Book, © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH
Image by Ed Rioja © Higher Things
© Google Images: "The Good Shepherd"

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