Sermon 05-08-2022 4th Sunday of Easter
Psalm 23; Acts 9:36-43; Revelation 7:9-17; John 10:22-30
The 23rd Psalm is a favorite of us all and in this reading we see God is the loving Shepherd and caring Host. At the beginning, the sheep looked to the Shepherd for leadership, guidance, and protection, in the end the guest, now situated securely in the safety of the Lord’s sanctuary, described the abundance of eternal provision. Life faces us with dangers and enemies. We can face life with confidence in God and we gain confidence through our prayers prayed with confident attitudes.
Miracles lead to church growth. Peter and John had already caused great commotion with the healing of the paralytic names Aeneas. Peter was shown the man and he said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat.” Immediately Aenas got up and all those who lived in Lydda an Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. These people had seen him for eight years of his life, laying around and unable to get up, must less stand up and walk. Peter did not heal him, but he revealed who did by calling Aenas, Jesus Christ heals you, stand up and take care of your mat. Peter became the one who called on Jesus’ power to heal, but it was Jesus who healed him.
In the healing of Tabitha (or Dorcas), who was considered a disciple by Peter and maybe a widow as well, for she was intimately involved in doing good works in the community and taking care of the poor. Peter was taken upstairs where she was surrounded by the widows, who were well known as saints in the community for their works and prayers, bringing others to believe in Christ. Peter asked them to leave the room, and then he showed humility and faith (Note: This is mighty work of faith was by the same man whom Jesus had reprimanded for his “little faith” in Matthew 8:26). Peter said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took hr by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then Peter called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive!
In Revelation, we get tiny picture of heaven, whereby everyone is robed in white, washed in the blood of the Lamb. There is praise and worship. The praise here is ascription for God’s intrinsic worth. The gospel is for all, not just one group over another, and this is what is missing from true belief, that all are worthy of salvation, because of their belief in God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Salvation is the point of focus for God the Father and he Lamb, Jesus the Son. Salvation comes only from God’s throne. This expresses the unity of the Father and the Son in the Trinitarian understanding of God and it expresses that God is the Savior. Calling God as Savior tells us what kind of God He is. Jesus will be the Shepherd King protecting and directing God’s faithful who “come out of the great tribulation.”
In the beginning of John’s gospel the Jews approached Jesus and said: “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus Answered them saying, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.” “My sheep listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” The religious leadership and those who followed them, were upset with Jesus because He was willing to break a rule to two, to get His point across to the masses. The leadership thought more of their rules, than in greeting and welcoming the Christ, partly because it would have lessened their position in society, and the rules kept the people coming to them and not some young upstart from Nazareth!
We have seen that God was the loving Shepherd, but as His Son, Jesus Christ, revealed He became the Suffering Servant, in order to have time to reveal God and His character to the people; that the healing miracles were from God through Jesus, and that Jesus passed that along to His own disciples, and they revealed His own character through His teaching and preaching to them and to the people along the way of His earthly ministry, and finally we are given a picture of Heaven and eternal life.
A few weeks ago, we all celebrated Jesus’ victory over death, thus clearing up Who was the Christ and it was not Satan. His time will only be short on earth, but for those who refuse or reject the idea of God and His Son Jesus, they will follow him to the “Lake of Fire.” Jesus’ resurrection on Easter was the final nail in Satan’s plan and he will be joined with only those who could not bring themselves to believe in God through Christ Jesus. For those who do truly believe (meaning you live out your belief in both actions with others and voice), you can look forward to eternal life with the One who first loved you.
So in closing, who do you say that Jesus is in your life? Is he your Lord and Savior and if so, do you live for Him and tell others about Him? Are you obedient to Jesus in your family, in your community, and in your love for others? Do you seek to follow Him in the way you live your life or only when it is convenient? Jesus loves you beloved, more than you will ever know. He went to the cross for our sins, not his own, but rather for our own sins. I simply ask you to think about this, pray about this, and then decide for yourself whom you serve. Amen