Fourth Sunday in Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday)
May 3, 2020
First Reading: Acts 2: 42-47
Second Reading: 1 Peter 2:19-25
Gospel: John 10:1-10
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not be in want
The Collect this Morning:
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.
Gospel: John 10:1-10
Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again, Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
In the Gospel of John 9:6, Jesus heals a man born blind, and the Pharisees are investigating the healing done by Jesus and they are still with the crowds that follow Jesus.
The healed man, that was blind, but now see’s, he is one of the sheep who hears Jesus’ voice; and the leaders, the Pharisees, expelled him from the synagogue. They treated him as if he was not part of Israel.
In light of Old Testament background, however, Jesus as the good shepherd, it corresponds with God, in Psalms 23:1;28:9; and Isaiah 40:11, it affirms that the blind man is one of his sheep.
In the Gospel, Jesus wants to make this clear to the leaders of Israel.
“The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and sheep hear his voice.”
As, we read more in the Gospel, it is apparent that Jesus is the gate keeper and he is the true shepherd; he is the one who opens the gate.
Jesus calls his own sheep by name and they hear his voice. He tells the pharisees, when God’s people are all out, he will go ahead of the people, and when they hear his voice, they will follow him. Just as the blind man could not see, but could hear Jesus’ voice.
Jesus was all about teaching love and compassion for others. Teaching that all people are God’s people. The Pharisees knew all the old scriptures and would challenge Jesus, they were hypocrites and he is very direct in his response to them.
The pharisees and others in the crowd, didn’t understand this parable, so, Jesus said to them.
“Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
They will come in and go out, and find pasture.”
(Act 2:42-47) The Apostles’ devoted themselves to teaching and fellowship, to breaking of bread and prayers. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the good will of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
The Apostles were the first to walk through the gate, giving up their livelihood, their possessions and goods and giving all, they had to those in need.
And still, day by day the Lord has added to the numbers of followers who put their trust in the Lord, knowing that he is our Good Shepherd who watches over us day and night, good and bad, we can be assured in these difficult times that we have nothing to worry about, with faith and trust.
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
(Verse 11:1) “I am the good shepherd. The shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
Christ Jesus gave himself for us, he makes it clear to all who are listening that he is the Good Shepherd, he is the gate keeper and he is the gate in which we follow and walk through, he is the way, that will lead all to salvation and eternal life.
Jesus knows our name, he calls us by name and asks us to follow him through the gate, the gate he has so gracious opened for us. The Joy in following Jesus is that he knows us completely, eh is able to lead us effectively and he will give us what we need, when we need it.
Rev. Lola Culbreath