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Fourth Sunday of Easter

May 3, 2020 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Easter

Passage: John 10:1–10:10

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: John 10:1-10
Date: May 3rd, 2020; Easter 4; Series A
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • Jesus is our Good Shepherd and we are his sheep.
  • We, God’s people, are often described as sheep in the Bible.  
  • In Isaiah we read “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).  
  • We read in the Gospel of St. Matthew, “When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
  • Although we don’t like to admit it - when we consider our lives we recognize that we are vulnerable like sheep.
  • Suddenly it’s a pandemic.
  • Suddenly it’s a car accident.  
  • Suddenly we are injured or we are diagnosed with an illness.  
  • Suddenly we find ourselves in financial difficulties.  
  • Suddenly we find ourselves constantly fighting with the people we love.
  • Suddenly we find ourselves entangled in sin and we are filled with guilt and shame and there seems to be no hope.
  • Suddenly someone we love dearly is taken from us.
  • Everything was going so well last week - this week it has all changed.  
  • Vulnerable sheep need a shepherd - and the Lord provides. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).
  • Jesus, the Good Shepherd, lays down his life for his sheep.  He lays down his life for you!
  • He doesn’t run away in order to save his own skin when the fight to save you gets tough. 
  • He doesn’t leave us defenceless and alone in this fallen world, but Jesus gave himself up to the wolves in our place.
  • He suffered for us.  He allowed himself to be betrayed, tortured, crucified, and to be put to death. 
  • He made himself a silent, uncomplaining lamb for the world. 
  • St. Peter confesses: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:23-24).
  • By the wounds of the Good Shepherd you have been healed.
  • On the darkest day—a Friday called Good—Jesus delivered you by delivering himself into death. 
  • And the Good Shepherd not only laid down his life for his sheep - he leads them. 
  • The Good Shepherd calls his sheep and they follow his voice. 
  • He not only lays down his life, but he takes it up again. He rises from the dead to lead you.
  • Sheep have impeccable hearing.  Multiple flocks can be merged together at night and then separated in the morning, simply by the shepherd’s calling. 
  • Jesus, speaking of himself as our Good Shepherd, teaches, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (John 10:3-4).
  • Jesus first taught you to recognize his voice in your Baptism.
  • Through his Word and the Lord’s Supper, he continues to teach you and lead you through this sinful world with his voice. 
  • In Psalm 23 we hear that all of the important actions happen by the Shepherd’s work, his doing - not ours. 
  • He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He restores.  He leads.
  • Dr. Martin Luther wrote, “If you wish, therefore, to be richly supplied in both body and soul, then above all give careful attention to the voice of this Shepherd, listen to his words, let him feed, direct, lead, protect, and comfort you. That is: hold fast to his Word, hear and learn it gladly, for then you will be well supplied in both body and soul” (AE 12:157). 
  • The Good Shepherd never forsakes his flock.
  • Even in death he leads us, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). 
  • There might be times when tragedy enters your life leaving you feeling abandoned and wondering if the Good Shepherd has left you.
  • But Jesus promises that no matter what we face in this life - all of his sheep who hear his voice, and enter by him into the sheepfold, will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
  • We hear his voice that promises eternal life and confess, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4). 
  • Jesus is with us in death.  He went through it first to open the way to life for you. 
  • Jesus is with us in mourning.  He wept at Lazarus’s tomb. 
  • Jesus is your Good Shepherd, who comforts you.  He sends to you goodness and mercy. 
  • So, dear friends, hear the voice of your Good Shepherd who laid down his life for you - he declares that all of your sin is forgiven.  Your shame and guilt is removed.
  • Hear the voice of your Good Shepherd who restores the joy of salvation to your soul, who leads you and guides you in his righteousness, who comforts you even under the dark shadows of sin and death. 
  • Hear the voice of your Good Shepherd who will never leave you or forsake you.
  • Because of our Good Shepherd’s boundless and selfless love - received by the faith he supplies - surely goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life, and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

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