THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER – APRIL 10, 2016
TEXT: JOHN 10:11-16; 1 PETER 2:21-25; EZ 34:11-16
THE GOOD SHEPHERD KNOWS YOU!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

To those who are elect…according to the knowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you (1 Peter 1:1-2) Amen.


Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia! It was He who before His crucifixion and resurrection said -“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me. His use of the word “know” here does not mean to merely have information about one another. Jesus is not speaking about theoretical knowledge or speculation. It’s not like saying – “yes – I’ve read the Bible and know some of its content. I’m familiar with the history and reported miracles of Jesus. I know who Jesus is.”


If you asked me if I know Craig Counsel I would have to say – no, not really. I know he’s a native of White Fish Bay. In know he now manages the Milwaukee Brewers. I know of him. I know who he is. But I don’t know him - I’ve never met him. If, however, you asked me if I know my wife, Barbara, I would say “yes” – in a close and wonderful way. While she might not always agree – in some ways – I know her better than she knows herself. And in some ways not always easy for her – she knows me better than I know myself. For two whom God joins as one flesh in His gift of marriage – it is meant to be like that.


The knowledge Jesus speaks of, however, goes beyond that of all human relationships. “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.” This is knowledge that is deep and intimate! This is knowledge supreme - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. Think of that knowledge! Together with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, God the Son spoke creation into being. The earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. Alleluia. By the word of the Lord the heavens were made. Alleluia. Together they created what was good culminating in man (male and female) in their image – and it was very good. Jesus speaks of knowledge supreme! Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. In His shepherding care of us Jesus assuring us that no one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand, Jesus magnified the knowledge He speaks of here to the full, saying, I and the Father are one (John 10:30). There is no knowledge more intimate than between the Father and Jesus.

THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER – APRIL 10, 2016
TEXT: JOHN 10:11-16; 1 PETER 2:21-25; EZ 34:11-16
THE GOOD SHEPHERD KNOWS YOU!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

To those who are elect…according to the knowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you (1 Peter 1:1-2) Amen.


Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia! It was He who before His crucifixion and resurrection said -“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me. His use of the word “know” here does not mean to merely have information about one another. Jesus is not speaking about theoretical knowledge or speculation. It’s not like saying – “yes – I’ve read the Bible and know some of its content. I’m familiar with the history and reported miracles of Jesus. I know who Jesus is.”


If you asked me if I know Craig Counsel I would have to say – no, not really. I know he’s a native of White Fish Bay. In know he now manages the Milwaukee Brewers. I know of him. I know who he is. But I don’t know him - I’ve never met him. If, however, you asked me if I know my wife, Barbara, I would say “yes” – in a close and wonderful way. While she might not always agree – in some ways – I know her better than she knows herself. And in some ways not always easy for her – she knows me better than I know myself. For two whom God joins as one flesh in His gift of marriage – it is meant to be like that.


The knowledge Jesus speaks of, however, goes beyond that of all human relationships. “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.” This is knowledge that is deep and intimate! This is knowledge supreme - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. Think of that knowledge! Together with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, God the Son spoke creation into being. The earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. Alleluia. By the word of the Lord the heavens were made. Alleluia. Together they created what was good culminating in man (male and female) in their image – and it was very good. Jesus speaks of knowledge supreme! Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. In His shepherding care of us Jesus assuring us that no one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand, Jesus magnified the knowledge He speaks of here to the full, saying, I and the Father are one (John 10:30). There is no knowledge more intimate than between the Father and Jesus.

The knowledge between Jesus and you is just like that! Dear Christians, this is a great thing! Jesus knows you like the Father knows Him and they are one in essence. Therefore, through His knowing you and your knowing Him you are also one with Christ and one with the Father. As Jesus prayed for His disciples to be sanctified in the truth He said it this way – I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us…(John 17:20-21). That is knowledge supreme!


Nothing is as vital as this - to be known by Jesus and to know Him. The knowledge He speaks of here is almost identical to the full meaning of the fear of God (Isaiah 11:2). And, as our Introit makes clear, those who fear Him are those who hope in His steadfast love. “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love” (Psalm 33:18). The unmatched knowledge Jesus speaks of is ultimately determined by His steadfast love. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7).


I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. The knowledge Jesus speaks of does not arise from within man but is grounded in God’s knowledge of man and God’s love for man. His love is stronger than death! His love is steadfast! His love is sacrificial – and I lay down my life for the sheep. Thus says the Lord God: Behold I, I myself will search for my sheep…I will I seek out my sheep…I will rescue them…and will…gather them…And I will lead them…I will feed them…and I myself will make them lie down…and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak… (Ezekiel 34:11-16). The knowledge Jesus speaks of is grounded in God’s searching and rescuing and healing and strengthening – as He tends and feeds His sheep. This gracious care comes to us in the flesh of Jesus Christ.


The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. This is how God raised up the fallen world. This is how God saved us from the peril of everlasting death which is our greatest peril. In our ISM Bible reading times the subject of existence beyond the grave surfaces with some frequency. Some scholars have never heard the truth that science and medicine have no authority to speak about that realm. To say – when you’re dead – you’re dead is an astounding statement of faith. It is falsely instructed and misplaced faith – but it is religious faith nonetheless. The voice of the Good Shepherd speaks differently to you – His sheep. When the Son of Man comes in his glory…he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats…the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:31-46). The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep because we have no other rescue from the peril of everlasting death. We confess it with frequency – we justly deserve your present and eternal punishment. But the tempting wolf through the world’s pursuits and pleasures and even through hired hands speaks a different word to turn hearts from the voice of the Good Shepherd to false and imagined comforts.


He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. Until the second coming of Christ, the Church will continue to be plagued by hired hands of one sort of the other – by those in the office of under-shepherd who do not speak the word of Christ to His people. There are temptations aplenty to stop listening to the voice of the Good Shepherd. If we wander from that voice we wander away from life and love Himself. The severest judgment Scripture speaks is for hired hands who lead lambs away from the Good Shepherd’s voice.


And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. You are among the other sheep Jesus looked forward to. He has brought you into His flock through His voice. Yet when He voices His law He shuts your mouth – like a sheep before its shearers is silent. Yet it is not like fluffy wool shorn painlessly off your back but like a two edged sword slicing you up – slaying you – piercing to the division of soul and spirit…discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account (Heb. 4:12-13).


We sang – “perverse and foolish oft I strayed.”  Perverse is a word that well translates the Hebrew for iniquity (awon). It means things for us are twisted – they don’t line up with God’s holiness. When we selfishly view tithes and offerings to God as being shorn of our stuff – our wool – our view is twisted. The Shepherd’s voice speaks of cheerful, generous, proportionate giving. When we refuse to forgive others that is perverse and foolish. The Shepherd’s voice teaches us to pray every day, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. When the wolf (Satan), the world, and our flesh entice hearts with imagined pride in our knowledge or with lust or with worry or with hate or with disbelief, that is twisted. The Good Shepherd’s voice says, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…love your neighbor as yourself.

 

“Perverse and foolish oft I strayed, but yet in love you sought me.”  Only the seeking and forgiving voice of the Good Shepherd gives answer to the naked exposure of our sin and the account we must give. And what beautiful, healing answer He gives. A am the Good Shepherd. I lay down my life for the sheep. It is this gift of love that Moses and the prophets anticipated and testified to. All we like sheep have gone astray and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Is 53:6) He was crushed for our iniquities (53:5) – our twistedness – our perverse misalignment with God’s holy will. It is this gift of love that the last of the Old Testament prophets prepared for – Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

 

I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. Nothing turned Him aside from the cross from being delivered up for our transgressions. Nothing kept Him from rising again for our justification (Rom. 4:25). I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father (John 10:18). Risen from the grave His voice still rings out for – The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (Lk. 19:10). His gracious and forgiving purpose is crystal clear - I came not to call the righteous but sinners (Mt. 9:13). If thinking of the naked exposure of your twisted alignment with His will - of giving an account to God - makes you want to beat your breast and cry out – God be merciful to me the sinner - I tell you this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.


I know my own and my own know me. His knowledge of you expresses itself in agape love! His knowledge of you has brought you into His flock – washing away your sin – clothing the naked exposure of your iniquity with Himself at the font. His knowledge of you tends you with His voice – absolving you – spreading His table in your sight – feeding and forgiving you. He comes to bind up your injuries. He comes to strengthen your weakness.


Your recognition of and reception of His love is the knowledge He speaks of – my own know me. Your trust that His blood cleanses you from all sin is the knowledge He speaks of – my own know me. Your knowledge that only His voice offers reconciliation with God is the knowledge He speaks of – my own know me. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (John 17:3). This is knowledge supreme – oneness with the Father and the Son and the Spirit for eternity.


Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! … Behold the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death.


In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a