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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor


The Fourth Sunday Of Easter

Option #1: "What is This Abundant Life?"
(John 10:1-10)
Rev. Wayne Dobratz

This Sunday in the Church Year is called Good Shepherd Sunday. We put our faith in the promises made by our living Lord Jesus who promises the abundant life.

I. It is to have a Good Shepherd--vv1-2

       A. He knows the sheep intimately--Jesus is their Creator/God

       B. He alone has the right to enter the sheep pen--He lays down his life for them--vv9 & 11--"I am the Gate for the sheep"; see also John 14:6 & Matt 20:28

II. It is to recognize and follow His voice--vv3, 4, 16, 27; Ps 95:6-7

Lawrence O. Richards writes in The Teachers Commentary: True Shepherd recognized (John 10:1-6). In Israel sheep were not herded with dogs or by men who walked behind them. The shepherd of the Middle East led his sheep. He knew each one by name, and the sheep recognized his voice. At night several herds of sheep might sleep in the same fold. In the morning, when the one door was unbarred, each shepherd could unerringly pick out his own flock. And each member of that flock would be able to distinguish his shepherd from the others because the sheep would know the shepherd’s voice, just as God’s people recognize Jesus as the living Word of God.

III. It is to live in safety

       A. In this life--Isa 40:11, Ps 78:52-53, Ps 100:3, Isa 40:11-12, Col 2:6-10, Rom 5:1-2

       B. In the life which is to come--Rev 7:17, Rev 21:1-7; see also John 14: 2

Christ is full and sufficient for all his people. He is bread, wine, milk, living waters, to feed them; he is a garment of righteousness to cover and adorn them; a Physician to heal them; a Counselor to advise them; a Captain to defend them; a Prince to rule; a Prophet to teach; a Priest to make atonement for them; a Husband to protect; a Father to provide; a Brother to relieve; a Foundation to support; a Root to quicken; a Head to guide; a Treasure to enrich; a Sun to enlighten; and a Fountain to cleanse. (John Spencer, 1630-1693)


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Option #2: "WatchGod!"
(1 Peter 2:25)
Rev. Kelly Bedard

A. Straying Sheep

       1. A classic case of the blind leading the blind

       2. Not just "going astray," but totally lost and unable to find way back

B. A Staying Shepherd

       1. Blind-sighted--suffered, insulted, died--for the sake of the blind

       2. Returning the blind and totally disabled sheep--us!--to His fold

Notes

1. planao: deceive, err, go astray, seduce, wander, be out of the way; to cause to stray, to lead astray, lead aside from the right way; to go astray, wander, roam about; metaphorically, to lead away from the truth, to lead into error, to deceive;
to be led into error; to be led aside from the path of virtue, to go astray, sin; to sever or fall away from the truth; of heretics; to be led away into error and sin

2. epistrepho: turn, be converted, return, turn about, turn again; transitively, to turn to, to the worship of the true God; to cause to return, to bring back; to the love and obedience of God; to the love for the children; to love wisdom and righteousness; intransitively, to turn to one's self; to turn one's self about, turn back; to return, turn back, come back; tense: second passive aorist indicative

3. poimen: shepherd, pastor; a herdsman; in the parable, he to whose care and control others have committed themselves, and whose precepts they follow; metaphorically, the presiding officer, manager, director, of any assembly:
so of Christ the Head of the church; of the overseers of the Christian assemblies; of kings and princes; the tasks of a Near Eastern shepherd were: to watch for enemies trying to attack the sheep; to defend the sheep from attackers; to heal the wounded and sick sheep; to find and save lost or trapped sheep; to love them, sharing their lives and so earning their trust; during World War II, a shepherd was a pilot who guided another pilot whose plane was partially disabled back to the base or carrier by flying alongside him to maintain visual contact.

4. episkopos: bishop, overseer; an overseer; a man charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly, any curator, guardian or superintendent; the superintendent, elder, or overseer of a Christian church.

5. We were astray. The tense here tells us that we were continually walking around blindly. We had no direction. We were out there on our own, lost. Have you ever been around sheep before? You might think that it is not such a bad thing to be compared to sheep. Why, they are soft and fluffy and cute. True. But dumber than cement. They might loose a poker game with an amoebae. When a sheep is lost, it is dead. Sheep aren't like dogs or cats who can sniff their way home. They just keep eating and walking, and eventually fall over a cliff or are eaten by a wolf. (Evan Baltz)

6. The instinctive navigational ability of common ducks, geese, and swans makes them the envy of the aircraft industry. On their trips south, some of the geese maintain speed of fifty miles per hour and fly 1,000 miles before making their first rest stop. When it comes to navigation, polar bears are no slouches either. A polar bear that is tranquilized, trapped, and released 300 miles away can usually find its way home, even across drift ice that changes constantly and holds no landmarks and few odors. But bears and birds are rank amateurs compared to lowly salmon, who cruise the expanse of the Pacific Ocean for several years before returning (by scent? magnetic field?) to the streams of their birth. (Philip Yancey in "Finding God in Unexpected Places")

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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:31 PM