THE WEEK OF MISERICORDIA DOMINI – SUNDAY
LESSON: JOHN 10:11-16
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11
Pastors can never become any more than the mouth of our Lord Jesus Christ and the instruments whereby He continues to proclaim His Word visibly here on earth. He permits His Word to go out into public so that all may heart it, but the inward acceptance of the Word in the heart is a spiritual experience that takes place through faith. It is a hidden work of Christ. Christ accomplishes this work where He recognizes that it must be accomplished in accordance with His divine discernment and pleasure. That is why He also calls Himself “the good shepherd.”
What is a “good shepherd”? “The good shepherd,” says Christ, “lays down his life for the sheep … And I lay down my life for the sheep.”
This one great act really covers everything. To impress all this upon us, Christ uses a very pleasing illustration. A sheep is really a very foolish creature and usually regarded as a very simple creature. It is proverbial to say of a simple man, “He is a real sheep.” But the sheep possesses one very outstanding quality. It quickly learns to obey the voice of its shepherd, and normally follows no one but its shepherd. It is so constituted that it clings to its shepherd and looks to him for all help and assistance. It cannot help itself, provide pasture or any healing. It is powerless against wolves and is dependent entirely on the help of others.
In this respect, the members of Christ’s kingdom are His sheep. In all their needs, they are dependent on Him and look to Him alone for needed help, support, protection, and their whole welfare.
SL 11:781 (8-9)
PRAYER: We know very well what rich blessedness is ours, Lord God, in being sheep of the Good Shepherd. Preserve us amidst all trials and difficulties here on earth by keeping us ever close to our Good Shepherd, Jesus our Savior. Amen.
Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 3:17-31.