Summary: Sermon for the 4th Sunday of Easter, Year C, 2013
John 10: 22 – 30 / Tell Us Plainly
Intro: Many people know the story of Hansel and Gretel who wandered into the woods and found a house built of bread and covered with cakes and candies. Because they were starving, they began to eat the house. Suddenly a woman came creeping out and they were afraid. The old woman said, “Oh, you dear children, come in, and stay with me. No harm will happen to you.” She fed them milk, pancakes, sugar, apples and nuts. Afterwards there were 2 pretty little beds in which Hansel and Gretel lay down thinking they were in heaven. The old woman only pretended to be kind because she wanted to fatten up the children so she could eat them. The moral of the story is that things aren’t always what they appear to be.
I. Verse 24 – “How long will you keep us in suspense?” --- (literally) “How long are you talking our life away?” - In modern Greek, “How will you continue to annoy us?”
A. You have to admit, it is annoying when someone continues to tell you just enough of the truth to entice you; but, not enough to make you believe them. “Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”
B. Can you hear the frustration in the voices of the Jews gathered around Jesus? If you are a parent, you can relate to that frustration. Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you ask your child if they have done something and they claim it was “NOT ME!”?
C. Gentlemen, your wife comes home from a shopping trip with an outrageously ugly new outfit, do you tell her plainly when she asks, “Does this outfit make me look fat?”
II. How does Jesus answer the questioning of the Jews? VS. 25 – 26 “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.”
A. Why did the Jewish leaders not “hear”? Was it because Jesus’ sermons weren’t dynamic and powerful enough? Was it because Jesus didn’t do miraculous things in God’s name?
B. Jesus wasn’t saying what they wanted to hear. --- Jesus challenged them in ways they didn’t want to be challenged, was leading them to do what they didn’t want to do even though it was what God intended.
C. Ladies, when your husband brings home an expensive new gadget that he didn’t need, how do you answer when he says, “Isn’t this the greatest thing you’ve ever seen?” None of us hear what we don’t want to hear.
III. 2 men were walking along a crowded city street. One of the men turned to the other and said, “Do you hear that songbird?” The other man claimed he couldn’t hear it amid the roar of the traffic and the sound of the crowd. The first man took a half-dollar coin from his pocket and dropped it on the ground as he watched as people all around began looking for the coin. He turned to his friend and said, “We hear what we listen for.”
A. The Jews heard the messages and saw the signs; but did not get the message. VSS. 27 – 30 Jesus was bringing the good news from God; but, the Jews didn’t hear it.
B. We have heard his words from the Bible, experienced the presence of Christ in the sacraments, seen his deeds as the Holy Spirit has worked in our lives but we still are hesitant to believe.
C. So many people have no direction, no purpose and wander around aimlessly because they have not let Christ Jesus have control. They don’t look to God for the help preferring to wallow in their own guilt and sin.
Conclu: Allen C. Emery writes in his book, “A Turtle on the Fencepost” of a night he spent with a shepherd and his 2,000 sheep on the Texas plains. They had settled in for the night by a campfire when suddenly they heard the wail of a coyote as it was answered by a call from the other side. Rising quickly, the shepherd tossed some logs on the fire. In this light as Emery looked out at the sheep, he saw thousands of little lights. They were the reflections of the fire in the eyes of the sheep. Instead of looking into the darkness, they were keeping their eyes set toward the shepherd.
We are to keep our eyes on our Shepherd, to be always looking to Jesus and in so doing we find assurance in the words of verse 29, “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”