Good Shepherd
Sermons

Misericordias Domini—Easter 3 (Jn 10:11–16; Ps 33:5; 1 Pet 2:25)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

INI + AMEN.

Good Shepherd Sunday. That’s Jesus. We named our school for that! But today, the Third Sunday of Easter, we take special time to fill your hearts and minds, bodies and souls with Good Shepherd Jesus. Because Jesus isn’t just the Good Shepherd of little lambs, but of young and old, each and all.

So, why is He “Good Shepherd”? Well, I guess it wouldn’t be so good to call our God, “Bad Shepherd.” That doesn’t quite fit with what we think about God, but it doesn’t matter what we think “good” or “bad” or even “god” is. The world is full of ideas about “good” and “bad” and even “god.” Your world gets filled up with that junk, your heart and mind, body and soul, too. What matters is what Jesus says and does. All we have is that! If we’re weekly, continually, daily filled and fed with what He’s all about—that’s the life of a sheep, a dear lamb of the Lord’s flock.

((3. What’s the Good Shepherd all about?))

So, what’s Good Shepherd Jesus all about? Well, He cares for His sheep. He’s no hired hand. His sheep are His own. He is His sheeps’. He is theirs. They are His. His voice they know. They rejoice to hear His Word—the only place where His voice is heard. They don’t wander off after other voices. They don’t stray away from the Lord’s good pasture. They follow Him. Gather around Him. Only around Him is His care and love.

But what Good Shepherd Jesus is all about (His care for His sheep) can be reduced to one word. חסד. That little Hebrew Word is everything. It’s what gives Good Shepherd Sunday its name. It’s what gives my blog—where I put my sermons—its name, too. One word doesn’t quite capture it in English, though. Gracious mercy. Steadfast love. Merciful loving kindness. Continual goodness. Or, as we sing after Communion: “Gives thanks unto the Lord for He is good, and His mercy (חסד) endureth forever.”

Good Shepherd Jesus is all about caring for His sheep. And His care for them can be reduced to this one thing: steadfast love.

((2. He fills the world with His steadfast love.))

Now, Good Shepherd Jesus’ steadfast love is near. It’s not far off. As we prayed in the Introit psalm this morning: “The earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.” But what does that mean? Does it mean that wherever you look you can see His steadfast love? That you see His steadfast love in the majestic mountain? The beautiful forest? What about the avalanche, volcano, or wild fire? Or is His steadfast love something else? Somewhere else?

Jesus’ care and love can be reduced to one word: steadfast love. To understand that word, you need to fill it everything the Lord has done to save His people. Any worldly gifts come second to that. What the Lord does to save fills “steadfast love” with all its meaning.

He fills the world with His steadfast love, with Himself! The Lord Himself fills the Blessed Virgin’s womb. Steadfast love. He fills the manger. Steadfast love. “The Shepherd dies for sheep that loved to wander.” Don’t desire daily Word from Him. Live as if they aren’t His and He is theirs. He fills the cross anyway. Steadfast love. “I lay down my life for the sake of the sheep.” Steadfast love. Then he really does “fill the earth with His steadfast love,” fills the earth with Himself. He fills a tomb! Steadfast love. He leaves the tomb empty! Steadfast love.

Good Shepherd Jesus is all about “steadfast love,” and that’s nothing else than all that He’s done—womb to empty tomb—to save you, to make you His sheep.

((1. He fills your world with it, too!))

That’s all nice and fine, but it’s a bit far off. Hard to grasp in the here and now—right now! But Jesus says, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.” That’s you! You’re the “other sheep.” You are a sheep, a lamb of Jesus. So, He doesn’t leave you alone. Jesus doesn’t “flee” or run away. You aren’t alone. But even that’s not close at hand. Not a very tangible promise, nothing to grasp hold of, nothing to sink your teeth into.

Oh, but there is with Jesus. It all comes together in our Epistle Lesson: “the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” That’s Jesus, of course. It is Good Shepherd Sunday, after all. But I’ve got to make it clear what Peter’s doing. You see, “Overseer” is one of the New Testament words for pastor. In fact, so it “shepherd.” But we have another word in English for that: “Pastor.” “Pastor” means “shepherd.”

So, Jesus isn’t just your Good Shepherd, He’s your Good Pastor, too. That’s here and now stuff. And He fills your world with His steadfast love. Through His under-shepherd, under-pastor—me—Jesus makes good on His filling the world with His steadfast love. Congregations and pastors all over the world, of course, but He fills your world with His steadfast love. No matter what happens in your world, the Word and Water of your Baptism stands strong. No matter what happens in your daily life, you have the Word of Life—an absolution—a Word of Forgiveness—from me, but its as if Jesus does it. He sent me to do it. No matter what happened in your week or what you will think will happen this week, you have a Good Pastor Jesus, who feeds you with His own body and blood, to strengthen and keep you as His sheep. Not to mention the daily benefits and blessings of His Word written.

((Conclusion.)

Good Shepherd Jesus. That’s our focus today. He’s that for us daily and much. Even though we wander here, there, and everywhere in our daily lives, He’s always where He’s promised to be. He does what He’s promised. That’s His steadfast love. He’s not far off He fills the world with it, but more importantly He fills your world with it! That’s what this Sunday—actually every Sunday—is all about. GOOD SHEPHERD/PASTOR JESUS FILLS YOUR WORLD WITH HIS STEADFAST LOVE. In the here and now. Through tangible, real world things. Not just some idea of Jesus being with you, some idea of steadfast love.

Everything Good Pastor Jesus did to save you is all bottled up in one word: steadfast love (חסד). When you hear “steadfast love,” that’s what you should think. Christ in the manger. Steadfast love. Christ on the cross. Christ in the tomb. Christ alive outside the tomb. Holy Baptism. Holy Absolution. Devotions read or heard. All of it: steadfast love. There we hear and follow him, but even more! “This is My body, given for you. This is My blood, shed for you. Take, teat; take, drink.” Steadfast love. All of that is GOOD SHEPHERD/PASTOR JESUS, FILLING YOUR WORLD WITH HIS STEADFAST LOVE.

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

INI + AMEN.

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