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|By Norma A. Boeckler|
- For healing, strength, and patience - Kermit and Marie Way, Pastor Jim Shrader, Chris Shrader, Callie and Peggy, C.
- For our country and DEP Trump, as the major trials continue.
- The sound went out, perhaps via the mouse, so we are repeating the sermon and communion tonight.
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KJV John 6:1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. 2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. 3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. 5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, 9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. 15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
Lord God, heavenly Father, who by Thy Son didst feed five thousand men in the desert with five loaves and two fishes: We beseech Thee to abide graciously also with us in the fullness of Thy blessing. Preserve us from avarice and the cares of this life, that we may seek first Thy kingdom and Thy righteousness, and in all things perceive Thy fatherly goodness, through Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God world without end. Amen.
KJV John 10:11 I AM the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I AM the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. 19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. 20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? 21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? 22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. 24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my Father are one. 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. 34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I AM the Son of God? 37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. 39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand, 40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode. 41 And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true. 42 And many believed on him there.
KJV John 10:11 I AM the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
The first few words define the chapter, with I AM the Door being the introduction, and the Good Shepherd giving His life for the sheep as the overall theme. One kind of teaching and preaching Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior is to describe and explain His miracles – nature miracles (stilling the storm, walking on water, changing water into wine, multiplying the loaves and fish), healing miracles (the blind, the deaf, the lepers, the crippled and palsied), and greatest of all - death conquering (the widow’s son, the young girl, Lazarus called out from his tomb). Another significant part of teaching and preaching Jesus Christ is to describe Him as He is, from the beginning, as the Son of God, the Creating Word (Logos), Messiah or Christ, the Son of David, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The I AM sermons define Jesus so clearly that we can see the miracles promoting and sustaining faith in Him, but knowing Jesus as He teaches about Himself is the most productive way we can think about Him, meditate about Him, pray to Him, and rely on Him in all the miraculous, sad, joyous, challenging, and painful parts of our lives. Jesus Himself made this clear in the Gospel of John. The miracles confirm His divinity, and yet those who were there to see and even taste the miracles (wine, bread, fish) were not all converted. Many wanted even more. His teaching about Himself as the Son, as the Voice, Will, and Face of God – that is the most powerful of all.
Does anyone wonder why the rationalists and apostates hate the Fourth Gospel and try to omit it from the New Testament? The Son of God focuses the terror of the apostates and rationalists, thereby showing us the way out of their Castle of Doom (Pilgrim’s Progress). The miracles are very important, because they show us the Son of God at work. Even more important is the nature of the Son of God as the Good Shepherd, which will be the introduction of the sermon book when these are completed – all the connections from the Old Testament: 23rd Psalm, Isaiah 40 and 53, Creation in Genesis 1, etc.
I AM the Good Shepherd means, in the original Greek, I AM (God’s own Name)
· the Shepherd above all Shepherds,
· the Noble Shepherd,
· the Highest and Best Shepherd,
· the ideal Shepherd.
Centuries of illustrations and stained-glass windows have given us the image of the Shepherd holding the lamb and guiding the mother. To clarify His divine role, Jesus also describes two other personalities in Christendom. One is the wolf inside the flock, killing and scattering and wounding the flock. Luther said, “People like wolf-preaching.” There should be no surprise to see a glittering but empty cathedral when the wolf is done. Reversing Luther’s famous quotation – That wherever a cathedral is built, the devil builds a chapel, now we see that wherever a chapel is built, even a spare room in a rented house, the devil builds a cathedral.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd because He laid down His life for the flock. There are many parallels to raising sheep in this chapter and other places, but never did an earthly shepherd give up his own life for a sheep. As great as every single miracle is, the greatest miracle is God’s own Son taking on the sins of the world to stir up faith in our hearts and receive His righteousness. So that is why He is the Good Shepherd, so when we are full of doubts, uncertainty, fears, and qualms, we know – He gave up His life for me. He fashioned the path to eternal life for believers in Him, so we can follow Him in eternal life as we did in this life.
The other character is also familiar in Christendom. He is the hired hand, who connects his pay to the work he has to do. If he wants a pension, a health plan, and the friendship of other hired hands, he does what he is told. He is easily frightened by lupine threats and runs away for safety. He sells gadgets mocking the Christian Faith to show how cool he is, and nobody seems to mind. The crowd likes the weak and timid hired-hand minister, because he is no threat to their mistaken view of Christianity.
14 I AM the Good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Verse 14 should quash doubts more than a thousand miracles might. Jesus us knows us by our Christian names. When we are baptized, our baptismal names become our identity. As one famous LCMS professor said, “Every soul has a name.” The baby and toddler eating ice cream – Jesus knows them, and they know Jesus by the visible Word of Holy Baptism and the teaching and preaching they hear.
Adults explain miracles into oblivion, but children simply declare their faith in Jesus. How did Jesus enter a locked room? Answer from a child – “He is God. He can do anything.” There is more faith in a believing child than in an entire conference of professional Biblical scholars, especially the Vaticanus-Sinaiticus text salesmen.
Verse 15 is not the plan for the World Council of Churches, though they would like to think so. Many have scattered their flocks by saying they must be in one organization, where everyone must believe in the newest fads the ecumenical groups. As Herman Melville saw so long ago, the radical Left churches set Europe and America up for the radical Left politics we see in government and education today. When I argued against them in the 1970s at the local pastors’ conferences, they clergy looked on me with pity and scorn.
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
John’s Gospel repeatedly shows us that God the Father and God the Son teach and command together. The Father commands and yet the Son acts willingly. This reinforces the idea of the Atonement not being forced upon Jesus but willingly accepted the role. Even then, His life was not taken away from Him, but he laid it down and took it up again.
19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. 20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? 21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
As the sectarians say, “Doctrine divides.” Jesus had a great following, among the common people and among the religious nobility. Some came to mock and to oppose. Others came to hear the voice of the Messiah. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were believers from the upper class, and they risked their lives for Jesus.