Sermon - April 25, 2021 - St. Martin's In the Desert

Sermon – April 25, 2021

4th Sunday of Easter
Acts 4:5-12; Psalm 23; 1-John 3:16-24; John 10:11-18


O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice, we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads, who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen


O Christ, who is the leader of our faith, show us the Way.
O Christ, who suffered for the sake of love, show us the Truth,
O Christ, who has gone ahead of us into the heart of God, show us the Life,
the Life that creates life,
the Life that saves life,
the Life that loves life.

We are on the fourth Sunday of Easter, there is no Resurrection scene as a reading this Sunday, only the image of the way the Risen Lord relates to the world – as a “model Shepherd” relates to sheep. This Sunday is known as Good Shepherd Sunday.” When we think about God as a Shepherd it fits. 

God is our protector! God has unfailing love for the people of God. When Peter and John were preaching, they were arrested and all of the priest, the Sadducees and good old boys asked them by what power or by what name were they doing this and they replied in the name of Jesus Christ – the stone the Jews had rejected.

The stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone. (verse 11). 

Psalm 23 depicts God as the Devine Shepherd whose unswerving love and devotion indicates that every need will be supplied. The shepherd guide’s, refreshes, and nourishes the sheep nothing is lacking. And the shepherd provides only the best for his flock. The Shepherd guide’s the sheep and provides direction and protection in times of uncertainty and danger. The scholars refer to this Psalm as “Song of Trust.” Even when we have trouble all around, God is present and protection. This is sometimes referred to as “Loyal love, “indicating a relationship with all the obligations of deep commitment.  It is a two-2Way relationship but one in which the sheep – US! Are blessed with all of the best God has to offer. 

1 John is a letter to a community of believers where there is dissention and problems. There is wavering in belief in Jesus and even some fear of danger of being a believer. 1John tells them as recipients of the redeeming sacrifice, in turn we should “lay down our lives for one another.” We should show as much love as Christ showed us through self-giving and care of others. This love should be expressed through truth and action and not to mere words. But if we fall short, God’s forgiveness is still available to us, for “God is greater than our hearts.

This shepherd /flock imagery is carried out in the New Testament as well. From John’s gospel today. Jesus declares that t “I am the Good Shepherd” wo not only cares for his sheep, but also lays down his life for them. The laying down of life is the Gospel’s way of describing the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus’s flock all must be included not just a few but everyone. There is to be one flock and one shepherd to receive the benefit of his atoning sacrifice.

We too require leading. In the dynamics of the Good Shepherd – Sheep relationship our self-will needs to be overcome by a power greater than ourselves – by the Shepherd who knows us best, loves us most deeply, and who remain faithful. We are being called by Christ to make a Gospel difference in the world

Prayer For the Day

We praise you, Risen Lord, the good shepherd of your people, who knows us each by name. Guide and correct us by your Holy Spirit, that your people, prone to er and stray like lost sheep, might be brought into sheepfold of the Father, where rue joys are to be found in glory everlasting.   Amen