Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church

A Congregation of Lutheran Church-Canada

Scripture & Sermons

THE 4TH SUNDAY OF EASTER AD 2023 2023-04-30


Acts 2:42-47
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. [43] And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. [44] And all who believed were together and had all things in common. [45] And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. [46] And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, [47] praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

1 Peter 2:19-25
For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. [20] For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. [21] For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. [22] He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. [23] When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. [24] He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. [25] For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

John 10:1-10
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. [2] But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. [3] To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. [4] When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. [5] A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." [6] This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
[7] So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. [8] All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. [9] I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. [10] The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

A few stout pieces of wood, a window, a knob and a lock, I can still picture it in my mind. For eighteen years I went in and out of it. It led out into the world to school and to my friends. It led back in to home - to sleep, to comfort and to safety. The door of my childhood home played a huge role in my life.
The fourth Sunday in Easter is the Sunday when we ponder our Lord Jesus as our Good Shepherd. Our Gospel for today is all about sheep and their sheep pen. As John notes how the disciples didn’t understand what Jesus was saying he tells us that Christ explained it to them. The image of Jesus as a shepherd holding a lamb around His shoulders is so burned into our minds that His answer is quite surprising. We would expect Jesus to get right on with explaining how He is the good shepherd. Now, He does get there in the verse right after our reading, but before He does He tells the disciples that He is also the door of the sheep pen.
Like the door of my childhood home the door of the sheep pen played a huge role in the life of the sheep. That door led out to the green pastures and the still waters where they were fed and nourished and it led in to the warmth and protection of the sheep fold where they rested for the night safe from the wind and wild beasts. As Jesus identifies Himself in the first place as the door of the sheep pen, He is making an important point for His disciples. He is telling them, as He is telling us this morning, all that He has come to be for them, to give to them. He has come to be our door into an abundant life. Through Him we can pass into both the nourishing green pastures and still waters as well as enter into the peace, the rest and the safety of the sheep fold.
The gate into the sheepfold of heaven was nailed together on Calvary by the Roman soldiers with a few stout pieces of wood, a few bronze nails and the flesh and blood of the Holy Son of God. They lifted it up and planted it firmly in the ground on a mighty gate post to stand forever as an entry way for the sheep of God into the abundant life. Our Lord Jesus Christ as He stretched out His arms on the cross joined His life to its lifeless wood to make it into a living door to the feast and the peace of paradise that opens before all who look to Him. The blood of the Lamb marks this door at its top and bottom and on each side so that the Angel of Death will pass over it. All are welcome at this door. None is too dirty, too sinful to enter, because this door cries out for all, “Father, forgive them.”
How deeply our Lord Jesus Christ has humbled Himself to become man to live perfectly for us and then to be nailed to the cross to suffer and die for our sins in our place, that He might become a door for us. How terribly we revolt at the idea of being somebody’s doormat in life and yet here the Lord out of great love for us, humbly, lovingly and patiently becomes a humble gate that can be so easily taken for granted but is so important for our lives. “I am the gate,” the Lord Jesus tells you today, “Through me you will be saved, through me you may go in and out, through me you may enjoy the green pastures of God, through me you may have life - life in all its abundance, life without end, life without suffering, life without sorrow. “I am the gate and I stand open here for you today.”
Our Lord Jesus is the gate, beloved, the only gate. There is no other way in and out to find the green pastures. This is the other truth the Lord wants us to learn and remember. No other faith, no other way of life, no other person, no other thing will give us the abundant life that we long for in this sin broken world. Some preach money. Some preach food. Some preach home. Some preach family. Some preach exercise. Some preach nature. Some preach morality. Some preach pleasure. You name it and some one will preach it. Looking after ourselves, our families and our world are all things that we should do because God has asked us to care for these things, but none will lead to the abundant life God wants for us, because none can save us from sin and death. Only one door exists … only one way… to the abundant life that God created us for in the beginning - our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Lord Jesus is the only way and He stands open before you, but even more than that, He calls out to you today not only as your door but as your shepherd as well.” He calls out to you by name in a familiar voice - a voice you have heard before, a voice that cried out for your forgiveness on Calvary, a voice that has declared that forgiveness to you, a voice that has claimed you as His own in Baptism a voice that directs you here and only here to the one true door, to the flesh and blood of the only begotten Son of the Father, to His own open outstretched arms - the only arms that were ever stretched out on a cross to save you.
“I AM He,” your Shepherd calls out to you, beloved. “I am the great Shepherd of the sheep. I AM your shepherd. Come follow me. I AM here to lead you through my own flesh and blood into an abundant life of communion with our Father in His house forever.” Amen.