Sermon for Easter 4 – 4.30.23

+ 4th Sunday of Easter – April 30th, 2023 +

Series A: Acts 2:42-47; 1 Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“Your Good Shepherd”

 

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

 

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 

 

“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 

 

As Jesus says these words imagine that he is a locomotive pulling miles of Old Testament freight train cars behind him, each one loaded with words, images, and metaphors of shepherds and sheep.

 

Joseph declared to his sons in Genesis 48 that “God has been my shepherd all my life long.”

 

Through Moses, the Lord appointed Joshua to lead Israel out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.

 

In memorable, beautiful, and comforting words, David sings The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness  for his name’s sake.

 

Here in John 10, our Gospel reading for today, Jesus declares that he is the Good Shepherd and the door of the sheep gate that all of those prophets had foretold, sang, and promised. Not only is Jesus the Good Shepherd. Jesus is your Good Shepherd. Jesus, the Good Shepherd is everything we need, gives us all we need, and gives you life abundantly in his name, in his dying, in his rising.

 

Jesus does all of this the same way he did in the Old Testament, through by His word. By his word YHWH called Israel away from their idolatrous, selfish, self-centered ways. By his word YHWH sent prophets like Ezekiel and Jeremiah to rebuke faithless shepherds who led God’s sheep astray. By his word YHWH promised a Good Shepherd. By his word Jesus spoke against the faithless shepherds of his day as well, the pharisees, for their spiritual blindness, for their self-centered ways, for their leading God’s sheep astray, for their failure to hear, listen, and keep the words of the voice of Jesus the Good Shepherd.

 

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. 

 

Ever noticed how many times throughout the Scriptures our Lord tells us his sheep, his people, to hear. Listen. Keep my words. He says it a lot. And for good reason. It’s easy to close our ears to his voice. Ignore his word. Listen to other voices, especially our own, that will scratch our itching ears. All we like sheep have gone astray, each to his own way.

 

This is why sheep need a shepherd. Without a shepherd to lead us, without our Lord’s voice and word to guide us and give us life, without his laying down his life to save us we wander, get lost, and become easy prey for the devil who prowls like a roaring lion ready to devour us.

This is why Jesus came, to be the Good Shepherd, to be your Good Shepherd. Jesus, the Good Shepherd is everything we need, gives us all we need, and gives you life abundantly in his name.

 

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 

 

Jesus is not one shepherd among many. There is no other shepherd. No other voice. No other word No other way. I am the door of the sheep gate. Anyone else promising you life and happiness and abundance,, whether it’s inside of you or out in the world around you, is a thief and robber, Jesus warns us. He alone is the Good Shepherd. For he alone speaks the words of eternal life. He died for you. He rose for you.

 

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, speaks and ordinary water becomes a refreshing, renewing, regenerating, and rescuing water for your soul and body. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, speaks and by his voice he leads you into the green pastures of his word where his living voice awakens faith in you to desire more of his word and to follow his voice. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, speaks and when he opens his mouth he prepares a table for you in the midst of your enemies of sin and death; ordinary bread and wine overflow with the goodness and mercy of your Good Shepherd’s body and blood. Jesus, the Good Shepherd is everything we need, gives us all we need, gives you life abundantly in his name, and brings you by his grace into the Father’s sheepfold.

 

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 

 

Luther picked up on this imagery when he said that as we read Scripture, we should meditate on it, ruminate on it, like a cow chewing some cud or a sheep chomping on some fresh alfalfa. Haven’t we all at one time or another wanted to hear God speak to us; to have him talk to us; to hear his voice? If you want to know what God says, if you want to hear the voice of God look – and listen – no further than the words of Jesus.

 

When you hear Jesus you hear the Father. When you hear the Good Shepherd you hear the living voice of God himself. Read, mark, learn, inwardly digest his word. Not just here on Sunday mornings, but every day. Hear the voice of your Good Shepherd in your homes, around your dinner table, with your children and grandchildren. The four gospels are full of Jesus’ life-giving, abundantly good and gracious words. And the more you hear Jesus’ words in the gospels and New Testament and throughout the all the Scriptures, the more you hear the voice of your Good Shepherd.

 

And the more you will want to share that voice, that living and life-giving word with your family, friends, and neighbors. Lost sheep need a shepherd too. Tell them where they can hear his voice and receive his gifts, here in the sheepfold of Beautiful Savior.

 

There are plenty of voices out there vying for our attention, calling to our ears. But only one voice has good news, salvation, and true, abundant life now and forever. Jesus, the Good Shepherd is everything we need, gives us all we need.

 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that you may have life and have it abundantly.

 

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, Tuesday and Wednesday
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