Fourth Sunday of Easter

The Risen Lord Is Our Shepherd

These are the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter.

God’s Word for This Week

Jesus is our Good Shepherd. We are his sheep. Our Good Shepherd loves us so much that he gave his life for us. He knows us all by name. He protects us from our enemies. He gives us courage and strength. He continually brings more sheep into his fold. He promises heaven to all who believe in him. How great is the love that God has lavished upon us!

TRADITIONAL FIRST LESSON – Acts 4:23-33

How did the believers in Jerusalem respond when the Sanhedrin ordered Peter and John to no longer preach in Jesus’ name? (See 4:24.)

They responded by turning to God in prayer. What a great example for us today! When we are faced with difficulties, trials, and setbacks in the Church, let’s always take it to the Lord in prayer.

What did they ask for in verses 29 and 30? How did God respond?

They asked for boldness to preach, along with the special gift of healing and miracles. Luke tells us that they received a special measure of the Holy Spirit and preached boldly. We see in other sections of Acts that some were given the gift of healing and miracles.

Evaluate the following statement: As Christians, we should ask for such things today.

God encourages us to ask him for whatever we desire in our hearts, and he promises to give us whatever is for our good. Therefore, it is good and right that we pray for boldness to preach. Through the power of his gospel, God answers our prayers and gives us strength and courage. Today God does not give all the same gifts that he gave to the early church. Gifts such as healings, tongues, and prophecy were given at that time according to their needs. God could still give such gifts today, but we should never expect them or doubt God if he decides not to give them to us.

SUPPLEMENTAL FIRST LESSON – Acts 20:28-32

How did God acquire the church? (See 20:28.)

God acquired the church by buying her with his own blood.

Who are the “savage wolves” whom Paul mentions? (See 20:29.)

The “wolves” to whom Paul refers to are false teachers, men who distort God’s truth and seek to gain followers. They lure away former believers by those distortions.

What is our true hope and strength against such difficult enemies? (See 20:32.)

Our hope and strength against such enemies is God’s Word itself, the same Word that the false teachers distort. God’s Word builds up believers in faith, and it gives us a place among those who are being set apart to lead holy lives for God.

TRADITIONAL SECOND LESSON – 1 John 3:1,2

What have we become because of God’s love?

Though we were rebellious sinners and slaves to sin, God, in his love, has adopted us as his dear children. Through the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, we are now heirs of heaven. We are sons and daughters of the King. Through God’s great love, we have become the greatest rags to riches story ever told!

What does John mean when he says, “what we will be has not yet been made known”?

Though we are sons and daughters of the King, in this world, many times what we are is not so obvious. As believers, we may suffer sickness, poverty, and disaster. Only when we get to heaven will the glory that is ours be fully revealed.

SUPPLEMENTAL SECOND LESSON – 1 Peter 5:1-4

Instead of calling himself an apostle, or even “the leading apostle,” what did Peter call himself?

Peter called himself a “fellow elder” and a “witness to Christ’s sufferings.”

Why does Peter say that Jesus, the Chief Shepherd, will “appear,” not “arrive” or the like?

Peter says Jesus will “appear” because, though we cannot see him, Jesus has not left us. He is right here with us in his Word and sacraments. On the Last Day, we will finally see him when he makes himself visible.

What will you receive when the Chief Shepherd appears?

When the Chief Shepherd appears, we will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

GOSPEL – John 10:11-18

What, above all, proves that Jesus is our Good Shepherd? (See 10:11.)

Jesus proved that he is our Good Shepherd by willingly giving up his life for us his sheep.

What else does Jesus do for us?

Jesus also protects his sheep. He knows and loves each of his sheep personally. His sheep know and love him. He regularly brings new sheep into his flock, too.

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