Photo by Thanti Nguyen on Unsplash
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them from My hand.”
INI + AMEN.
((The Lord does what He says.))
Jesus is true to His Word. That’s what He does. He does what He says. It’s what He’s done for your mom and grandma. It’s what He does for you. It’s what He does for me. It’s what He’s done for all people. His is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the Shepherd Lamb. The Lamb who shepherds His people “through the valley of the shadow of death,” that they “may dwell in His house forever.” He is the Good Shepherd Lamb, the Lamb who lays down His life for the sheep. He lays down His life, and He takes His life back again on the Third Day.
He promised it. He did it. The Lord does what He says. “He will swallow up death forever for Yahweh has spoken.” That’s Good Friday. That’s Easter. Jesus died and risen for His sheep. “The Shepherd dies for sheep who love to wander; The Master pays the debt His servants owe Him, Who would not know Him.”
He knows them, though. He said it, it’s true. His empty tomb proves it true. He knows each sheep. “The LORD’s my Shepherd,” His sheep says. The died and risen shepherd Lamb, the true Lamb slain in His sheep’s place, for them, for Delora, for you. He did just as His Father commanded Him. For “God sent His Son into the world to save the world through Him,” through His death and His coming back to life again on the third day.
((His Word carries His voice.))
The Lord’s isn’t just true to His Word. His Word also carries His voice. Whenever you hear His Word, you’re hearing the voice of your Shepherd, His bleating—calling you—to Himself, gathering you around Himself. Delora heard His voice. His voice came to her September 15, 1918: “I baptize you into the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” His voice didn’t stop coming to her. How could it? “No one can snatch them out of My hand,” He promises. He made good on that. He does what He says.
More Shepherd’s voice for her. “I forgive you all your sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” “This is My body, given for you. This is My blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins.” But also our words from John 10 today, they came to her on Palm Sunday, March 30, 1932: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them from My hand.” Those words came to her again this last Friday. Along with His baptismal promise to “keep her going out and her coming in from this time forth and even forevermore.”
His Word carries His voice to you. To lead you back to Himself. To deliver Himself to you. His Word makes you His. Through Him and His Word you are what you are—His Sheep. He claimed you as His own at the Font. He keeps you as His own through His Word. In all the various ways He gives His Word: the Bible, devotions, preaching, His Word of Absolution, and His Word of forgiveness that you speak to each other. And as any good shepherd—in fact, He is the true and only Good Shepherd—He tends and feeds His flock, “preparing a table before you in the presence of your enemies.” In the presence of your enemies—death itself, the devil, your sins, and the world—He delivers His body and blood to you for the forgiveness of your sins.
((What He does and says give eternal life.))
What Jesus says, what He promises, He does. What He says, carries His voice to you. But what He says happens. His Word has power. He created the world through speaking. He raised the dead by speaking. He healed the sick that way, too. He forgives that way, too! His Word doesn’t just promise those things. His Word gives them. Right now. Right into your ears, and His Word gives what it says: forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
The Lord gives His Word in many and various ways so that in many and various ways He’d keep a hold of us: Scripture, preaching, water and word, Absolution, forgiveness, His Supper. Each word is Him holding on tight to you, and no one can snatch you from His nail-scarred hands. No one—not even death—could snatch Delora either. She now is “one of those who have come out of the great tribulation.” Her robe “made white by the blood of the Lamb.” Your robe, too!
Jesus is true to His Word. “The Lord has spoken.” Just like He said, He did. He died, laid down His life. He rose, took His life back up again. He is the Shepherd Lamb. Lamb in His sheep’s place. Shepherd who saves them.
His Word carries His voice. His Word splashed over you, into your eyes, into your ears, His body and blood into your mouth. In many and various ways, working His Word into your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Through His Word He takes hold of you, took hold of Delora. He never lets go. “No one can snatch them from My hand,” He says.
He gives eternal life. Eternal life now, but also eternal life on the Last Day. When His Word and voice go out to wake up our bodies from our graves. “He will shepherd us to streams of living water, and He will wipe away every tear from our eyes.” He will do it. “On that day, the Lord will make a feast, and He will swallow up the pall that is over all peoples. He will swallow up death forever, and He will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.”
Delora will be there. You will be, too. All the Lord’s sheep, who hear His voice by receiving His Word will be there. And we’ll all cry out with a loud voice, we’ll sing, forever sing, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.”
INI + AMEN.