Summary: A sermon for the 4th Sunday of Easter
4th Sunday after Easter
John 10: 22-30
"My Sheep, Hear My Voice"
"It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one." John 10:22-30, RSV.
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the risen Christ. Amen
At first glance, our gospel lesson this morning seems out of place. This story takes place before the events of the Passion week, before Jesus’ death on the gross, before his resurrection As a matter of fact, the events in this story lead to the events of the past several weeks. So why has this text been placed for us to study this fourth Sunday of Easter?
The last two Sundays we have been looking at the texts that tell us Jesus has risen. We have seen him appear to doubting Thomas. We have seen him appear to the disciples as he made them breakfast on the shore of the lake. The last two Sundays, we have seen that Jesus has indeed risen. We have seen that the promise he made that in three days he would rise had come true. The physical fact of the resurrection has been demonstrate very clearly these last Sundays.
So today we take a step further. We see how the risen Lord affects our lives. In todays text, we, see the consequences of the the resurrection. We see what the resurrection means for our daily living. And since Jesus spelled out very clearly during his three years of ministry on the earth the consequences of his resurrection even before it happened, we need to go back to those texts to see how his resurrection on affects our lives today.
Our text begins as Jesus is walking in the portico of Solomon in the temple in Jerusalem. It was a cold day as John says it was winter. Winter in Jesus’ day meant that the wind came in from the east and it was raw and cold. He was walking in the part of the temple that was enclosed which sheltered him from the raw east wind. As he walked, prayed and meditated, a group of Jews came to him and asked him how long will he keep them in suspense? "If you are the Christ, tell us plainly". They wanted him to come right out and say who he was. But Jesus answers them by telling them he has already told them who he was, but they didn’t listen too well. And if you do not believe my words, you don’t even believe my works, for my works are done in my Father’s name, says Jesus. If you cannot believe my words and if you cannot believe my works then you don’t belong to me. Jesus says you are not one of my sheep. For if you were One of my followers, you would understand my words, you would see in my actions that I want to take care of you, that I want to give You eternal life, that I do indeed love you!
Jesus the shepherd wants to take care of his sheep like the shepherd in the following:
In the Highlands of Scotland, sheep would often wander off into the rocks and get into places that they couldn’t get out of. The grass on these mountains is very sweet and the sheep like it, and they will jump down ten or twelve feet, and then they can’t jump back again, and the shepherd hears them bleating in distress. They may be there for days, until they have eaten all the grass. The shepherd will wait until they are so faint they cannot stand, and then they will put a rope around him, and he will go over and pull that sheep up out of the jaws of death. "Why doesn’t the shepherd go down there when the sheep first gets there? You see they are so very foolish they would dash right over the high edge and be killed if they did!"1