Sermon for Easter 4 – 5.8.22

+ 4th Sunday of Easter – May 8th, 2022 +

Series C: Acts 20:17-35; Revelation 7:9-17; John 10:22-30

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

“The Good Shepherd’s Voice”

 

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

You can tell a lot about someone by their voice. Are they sad, angry, anxious.  Joyful, excited, or hopeful. Is their voice soothing or harsh, hurtful or comforting. Whatever it may be, we come to know a lot about what someone by their voice.

 

This is also true when we turn to the Scriptures. Today’s gospel reading in John 10 reminds us that God, too, has a voice. God speaks. Jesus fills our ears with his voice by his word.

 

Today Jesus the Good Shepherd comes to us with his voice and speaks his word of promise. The voice of Jesus is the voice of the Good Shepherd. And his voice is full of compassion. Assurance. Mercy. Rescue. Life.

 

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

 

Jesus spoke these words in the temple at Jerusalem, during the Feast of Dedication. We know it as Hanukah. Jewish people gathered to remember a time of deliverance. Almost two hundred years ago, Antiochus Epiphanes had desecrated the Temple. He set up pagan altars to Zeus in the temple and brutally oppressed the Jewish people. They, fought back, however, in the Maccabean revolt. The temple was recaptured and reconsecrated to the Lord. At the Feast of Dedication, Israel gathered in Jerusalem and remembered the overthrow of Israel’s enemies and the rededication of the temple.

 

On this day, however, God in the flesh walks in the Temple. Jesus strolls along the colonnade and looks out, over the people. He sees their joy, and he desires that their joy might be full in Him. So, Jesus recalls another war, an ancient war, and promises His people a greater victory. It is a future victory, His victory. Not in a fight over stones which make up a Temple, but in a fight for their lives, and yours, in his kingdom.

 

While Jesus was walking in the temple, the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

 

You can know a lot about someone by their voice. And this, Jesus says, is the voice of unbelief. They have seen and heard God’s voice in action in Jesus’ teaching and signs. And yet, Jesus says, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 

 

If the voice of the Jews in John reveals their unbelief, what do our voices say about us? What do our words reveal? At times our voices reveal that we are wandering, lost, and straying sheep in need of a shepherd who will deliver us from ourselves. That, like sheep, we have a mean, stubborn, prideful, streak; we’re constantly butting and kicking one another to get our way. All we like sheep have gone astray. Everyone has turned his own way. That’s our problem. We love ourselves and want to be our own shepherds and yet we’re constant failures at being our own shepherds.

 

Still, at other times, our voices reveal that we are wounded sheep in need of rescue us from suffering, pain, agony, sadness, and loss. Past or present trauma brought upon us haunts and cripples. Despair and the daily battle with mental health wears us down. Pain and grief overwhelms us.

 

And into the din of all this noise, Jesus the Good Shepherd, your Good Shepherd, enters in. He speaks. Jesus fills our ears with his voice.

 

“My sheep know My voice.” He says, “I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand”

 

The Devil and the world and our sinful flesh try and claim us, try and fight and snatch us from God’s hand. But Christ promises: “My sheep know My voice.” He says, “I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”

 

Whatever suffering you see, whatever tribulation you touch, whatever evil you endure, Jesus is with you. His voice. His word. His life. He holds you and carries you through.

 

Yes, you can tell a lot about someone by their voice. Jesus’ voice reveals God’s compassion and assurance; his grace and rescue. Jesus’ voice gives you life.

 

Even as Jesus was walking in the colonnade of the temple that day during the Feast of Dedication, he was on his way to overthrow our enemies of sin, Satan, and the grave; he was preparing for the greatest victory and rescue of all in his dying and rising for you. He would return to Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover so that the Good Shepherd would come and lay down his life for you, his sheep. So that Christ the true Passover Lamb, would be sacrificed for you. So that the temple in human flesh would be destroyed but in three days raised up again for you.

 

Jesus does it in the most marvelous, gracious, unexpected of ways. Instead of overthrowing his enemies in violence, Jesus allows his enemies and violence to overthrow him. Jesus hangs on a tree. Endures death itself. The temple of his body was destroyed,  but raised up again three days later. Nothing and no one can defeat Jesus. Not death. Not the devil. Not your sin. And because Jesus stands in victory, so do you. Nothing and no one can snatch you out of his hands.

 

It is his voice you hear today. I know you, and you follow Me. I give you eternal life, and you will never perish, and no one will snatch you out of My hand.”

 

Today, Jesus comes as your Good Shepherd. You recognize His voice. He kneels down, looks you in the eyes, and says, “You are mine. You know My voice. I hold you in My hand and no one can snatch you out of My hand.”

 

Today, here in his house, the Good Shepherd speaks. Jesus fills your ears, hearts, and minds with his voice. The same voice that speaks and forgives you all your sin. The same voice that joins you to his dying and rising in your baptism. The same voice that places his body and blood in the bread and wine for you. The same voice that speaks that you might know his everlasting love.

 

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977