We are well into the Easter season, which is seven weeks and seven Sundays of joy that Jesus is risen, and that He reconciles us to God and to each other. Let us rejoice! The Fourth Sunday of Easter is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday.
Acts 4:1-12 is a continuation of last week’s First Reading, the context of which is that a crippled man was healed by the Name of Jesus. The healing drew a great deal of attention, and Peter and John used the healing as an opportunity to proclaim Jesus as the resurrected Lord and Savior. The priests and Sadducees (who deny the resurrection), were very unhappy about the apostle’s teaching, and had them arrested and put before an impromptu trial. Notice when asked about the healing of the crippled man, Peter boldly proclaimed that Jesus – the crucified and risen One – was the source of the man’s healing. Pay special attention to the last verse, there is salvation in Jesus alone; no other religion or person or being brings us to the heavenly Father but Jesus alone. Trust Him alone for salvation.
Psalm 23: This is a favorite psalm of many people, and for good reason. Notice the tender compassion of the Lord our shepherd: He cares for us like a caring shepherd does for the sheep. Notice that the LORD supplies our needs, protects us in time of danger, and leads us to eternal life. All we need in life He supplies. Let us always follow Him.
1 John 3:16-24: The passage continues the theme of 1 John, calling us to love God and to love each other. Christians want to know what God wants us to do, what His commands are for us (we like to know the rules), vs. 23 summarizes what our lives as Christians should look like: “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he commanded us.” How are you doing? Do you believe in Jesus and love one another as we should? Isn’t it wonderful that we can return to the Lord and be forgiven for our falling short of His righteous demands.
John 10:11-18: The Gospel for today sets the theme for this Sunday, it is called Good Shepherd Sunday. Notice the love the Good Shepherd has for His sheep (us), He lays down His life for us. Take time to contemplate His great love for us – He through Whom the universe came to be, He Who rules all, stooped down to rescue His lost sheep from sin, death, and the devil through the giving of Himself. How could be do anything else but follow this Good Shepherd where ever He leads? Let us follow Him into eternal life.