Sunday, May 3, 2020

Easter 4

Easter 4
Good Shepherd Sunday
03 May, 2020
John 10: 1-10
What Jesus Can Mean To You?


The Crucified and Risen Lord Jesus Christ Is Our Good Shepherd

Truly, the Lord is your Shepherd. Even in the valley of the shadow of death. Truly, the Lord leads you beside still waters—even, surprisingly, when the waters of chaos are all around. Truly, the Lord sets a table for us—although we “were straying like sheep.” 

Your Lord Jesus Christ has willingly suffered and died for you. Bearing your sins “in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24–25). 

You are healed by His wounds. (1 Peter 2:24) In His resurrection He gathers you to Himself as your Good Shepherd. By His righteousness you “have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

There’s more. He guards and keeps you in the green pastures of His Church; leading you beside the quiet waters of your Baptism and spreading the feast of His Table before you. 

Since He has called you by the Gospel to be His own dear sheep, you also “hear his voice” and “know his voice” (John 10:3–4) in the faithful preaching of His Gospel. You follow Him by faith. 

When you receive His Gospel, you have the abundant life and common unity of the entire flock under one Good Shepherd, in “the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship” and in “the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).  2

God of all power, You called from death our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep. Send us shepherds to rescue the lost, to heal the injured, and to feed one another with knowledge and understanding.” 3

What does Jesus mean to people? He can range from everything to nothing. People are eager today, with their need to see what Jesus can mean to them. As if to say Jesus is some sort of commodity. Which can be bought sold and marketed in the public square. Yet the real question still lingers.  So what does Jesus mean - to you?

1. He’s a calm voice in the midst of chaos and confusion — v. 3. Today some fear or are at least are skeptical at even listening to the nightly news. Whose advice will you take? Whose voice will you listen to? It seems as if there is a spin on every subject.  Yet, the true Shepherd –as a watchman opens the gate - and the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.

A. The Good Shepherd calls His sheep by name. Not a number. What a comfort! You are not just a registered number. An anonymous digit, to the Shepherd. You do count. You have value. Purpose. And worth.  In this world those with the most toys win. Those with a pedigreed have a better chance of advancing. Those who are well positioned and well connected make the “A” list. They get to the front of the line. Faster.   But in the eyes of Jesus. The one who counts most of all is you. He calls you by name.

B. In Baptism He called you. Are the water and word of Baptism a stern lecture? A spanking for straying? No! He calls you in Baptism. To lead you out. To lead you out of the bondage to the devil. To hell. To death. And sin. He called you in baptism. To bring you to good and safe grazing in His pasture. Jesus calls His sheep out. For pardon and life. Not for condemnation and death.

2. He’s your shepherd — v. 4. When He has brought out all His own. He goes on ahead of them. And His sheep follow Him. Because they know His voice.

A. You don’t have to worry about the future. The Shepherd is ahead of you. Making it good. Glad. And safe for you. In the Shepherd Psalm. Psalm 23. David reminds us, “Thou preparest a table before me.” He grants pasture land before you. Right under the nose of your enemies.

B. Today people are frightened. Frightened by the future. Frightened by the unknown. Frightened by the economy. Frightened by a lack of security. And an unknown future.  Frightened of a virus they cannot see. Which, may lead to death.  

Yet you don’t have to be frightened by death. Christ still goes before you. Even in that experience. He knows the way. Every inch of it. He stands by. With His rod and staff.

3. He’s the door — Jesus said, “I am the gate for the sheep.” (Vs. 7) Do you know why Christ is the only door to the heavenly pasture? A. He went out of a door. The door of His Father’s house. He left that house. To be born in a stable.   To live. Die. And rise again. For your sake. And for your salvation.

B. He had a door slammed in His face. On the bloody cross. Being abandoned by His Father Jesus cried from the cross, “My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” {Matthew 27:46} The Father slammed the door of heaven right in Christ’s face. Jesus pounded on that door. Until His knuckles were bloody. Red. And raw. No answer!

Christ alone was in the fire. And the God-forsakenness of the cross for you. He endured that torture that you might look forward only to the blessings of heaven.

C. He went through the door. The door of death on Good Friday. What makes Jesus the best at death and dying - is that He chose to do what no other man could. Which is - To atone for the rest of us. It was the very fact that, “we like sheep have gone astray” that “we have turned everyone to his own way” that the Lord, “laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” – Isaiah 53

- For any sheep is good at finding a way to die. But only one sheep is good at living. So good. That He rose from the dead; “I lay down My life, that I might take it again.” You see, this Lamb of God didn’t stumble into the grave like us. He went there willingly: “No man takes it from Me… I lay it down of Myself.”

In order to rise victorious. - As your steadfast hope beyond. - And past your inevitable end. - Jesus declares; “I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. “

By virtue of His incarnation; that God became man, Jesus was a sheep. 

By virtue of the vicarious atonement; His mission to die in your place, Jesus was a sacrificial lamb. 

And on account of His victory over sin, death, and hell, Jesus is a Savior; a Shepherd, and Lord.

It’s this. His resurrection. His ability to do what no other could that gives this one sheep the authority to shepherd the rest. Shepherd and guide us into heaven with Him, as King David taught: “The Stone which the builders refused is become the Head.” - Psalm 118:22  4 

D. He came out the door. The door of death on Easter. And by going through that door. And coming out again. He has become your door to the heavenly pasture.

Jesus says that He came to bring abundant life to all people. What is life? There is more than seeing life as mere physical existence. Children of the heavenly Father have the “Life” of God in them. 

Your Good Shepherd doesn’t care to get things out of you. Things like obedience. And love. We are not worth very much of these things. It really wouldn’t pay Him to rob us. The take would be too small. Your Shepherd doesn’t come to get things out of you. He comes to give. To give His life as a purchase price for your pardon and eternal blessings.

Your shepherd is good. Because He lays down His life for the sheep. Instead of beating His sheep for their straying. The Good Shepherd beats Himself. It happened when He died the death of the cross. For the pardon and salvation of His straying sheep. He is good. Because He takes up His laid-down life. 

The only reason we call Christ “Good.” Is because of Easter when He wrestled forever free from the tenacious grip of death. Now to us. His sheep. He says, “Because I live you will live also.” (John 14:19) No other Shepherd can match that promise. Only Christ. The Good Shepherd can say, “I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” (V.10) This is your life. And the Good Shepherd makes it all good!  In Jesus’ Name. 
Passive Sentences –2% 
Readability –89.6%
Reading Level – 2.6

 1. - Comic strip for Easter 4 John 10:22-30, copyright © 4.25.2007 James Weststein Agnus Dei Press  
 2. - LCMS lectionary summary Easter 4 Series A copyright © 2017 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
3. Collect for Easter 4, Lutheran Service Book, copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
4. Pr. Tim Daub, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. Hecla, SD "From Sheep to Shepherd" delivered Misericordias Domini Sunday, 26 April, 2020

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