Skip to content

The Fourth Sunday of Easter – Sunday 8th May 2022

May 8, 2022

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Sue Auckland

Our sermon for today is from The Revd. Lyndy Domoney

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

In heavenly love abiding

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

More Modern:

 
 
Prayerful

Peaceful moments of worship

Sermon Text

My Sheep Listen to My Voice. John 10; 22-30 and Psalm 23.
Easter 4 2022

In todays gospel reading we see Jesus in the Temple at the time of one of the annual feasts. We are
told that the Jews had gathered around Him, and challenged His identity. Now Jesus by His actions
and teaching had told and showed them many times Who He was; on one of those occasions –
recorded in v 14 – of this chapter – Jesus had said – “I am the good Shepherd – I know my sheep, and
my sheep know me..” – but – as the saying goes – ‘there are none so blind as those who will not see’ –
and they had chosen ‘not to see’ – chosen to ‘not hear’ – chosen to ‘not follow’ – and He now gives
them the reason for that choice – “because you are not of my sheep”. v 27 “My sheep listen to
My voice; I know them, and they follow me………”
Now perhaps to our thinking, this was a curious self description – but to His listeners, it was one
they could readily identify with – as in those days and in that land – much of which was unsuitable
for agriculture – sheep farming was common – so this image Jesus uses to describe Himself – was
familiar to the people – something they could readily imagine – but not only that – it was familiar
because it was frequently used in the Scriptures [Old Testament] to describe the nature and
character of God – and Jesus – in these word pictures, is declaring – again – His true identity to those
who would listen and hear what He said; then – just in case anyone missed it – He says in v 30 – “I
and the Father are One.” – and it was these words in particular that – on this occasion – enraged His
listeners, in fact we’re told they – “picked up stones to stone Him.”…
It would be good to remember how this ‘shepherd’ image of God was used in the Old Testament –
Isaiah writes in
Isaiah 40; 11 – “He – ie the Sovereign Lord – tends His flock like a Shepherd; He gathers the lambs
in His arms and carries them close to His heart; ……………” we see it in several of the Psalms – eg
Psalm 95; 7; Psalm 100; 3 – beautiful imagery of a loving, caring and intensely personal
relationship.
Matthew [2; 6] in his narrative of the Magi’s visit to Herod to ask directions to find the baby born
King of the Jews – tells us that the chief priests quoted the Prophet Micah’s prophecy concerning
the birth of the Christ to them – “But you Bethlehem, in the land of Judah are by no means least
among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be The Shepherd of my people
Israel” – pointing very specifically to Jesus – who claimed to be THE Good Shepherd; not A good
shepherd – anyone could learn to be a good shepherd – but THE Good Shepherd.
Psalm 23 the Psalm set for today – is probably the most familiar scripture using this imagery;
written by King David – using the imagery of both sheep and Shepherd out of his own experience
of having been a shepherd and caring for his own flock of sheep – but focusing on his understanding
of being a sheep in God’s flock and his personal experience of God’s presence and love.
David – who knew the history of the People of Israel – and had had a personal knowledge of God
most of his life – had found God to be utterly faithful – so he could say –
v 1 “the Lord is my Shepherd – therefore can I lack nothing”. This tells us of his relationship with
God – he then goes on to talk about the specifics of God’s provision. v2 – Of how the good
shepherd knows exactly where to find green pastures – even in the most barren desert – how He
knows where to find life giving water – not stagnant – not too fast flowing; v3 – healing and
guidance; v4a – protection – He knows how to protect His sheep in dark and dangerous places –
and is totally faithful – but 4b – also speaks of Gods’ discipline, love and re-assurance.
David Adam – christian Author and Priest has said –
“ this is not a cozy Psalm – but one that acknowledges that green pastures cannot be taken for
granted; desert, wilderness, hunger, thirst, darkness, death – are all realities – yet it knows these do
not have the last word.” NO – God does! – and the Psalm continues – as……. v5 – speaks of hope –
5b – being set apart for Him, and of the abundance of these ‘overflowing’ blessings – the psalm
ends with the blessing and security – and their eternal quality – FOREVER. ( indeed, everything
King David, you or I could ever need.) – but having said that – we must remember that David –
through his own misdeeds and disobedience could also relate to Isaiah’s comment in ch 53; 6 of his
writings when he said – “All we like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way”
– David did “go his own way” for a time – but when he turned back to God – was sorry for what
he’d done – he experienced the truth of God’s forgiveness and reconciliation as well the blessings.
I am the good shepherd! Jesus is saying that He alone fits the profile constructed by the imagery of
God portrayed in the OT. He has warned His listeners earlier about the havoc someone who does
not truly care for the sheep can cause when left in charge of the flock – “…………. he runs away
(when danger threatens the flock – “ because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”
(ch 10; 12-13) – no provision, no guidance, no protection –
but Jesus assures us in v 29 “..no-one can snatch them [that is His sheep] out of my hand” – once
we make Him our Shepherd – once we put our lives into His hands – He will watch over us – even
when we stray – and bring us back into fellowship with Himself – forgiven and restored.
Jesus says that His sheep know His voice, my prayer is that His sheep would listen to His voice, and
follow where He leads – Jesus is THE Good Shepherd and He has laid down His life for you.
Have you given Him yours – have you chosen to become one of His flock?
Prayer
O Lord Jesus, good and beloved Shepherd –
Stay beside me to defend me,
Within me to guide me,
Before me to lead me,
Behind me to guard me
and above me to bless me,
that with You and in You
I may live and move and have my being – for ever and ever. Amen

From → Worship

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: