Readings for the week of April 22, 2018

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.

The First Reading, 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.
Holy Spirit, keep us in faith, trusting in Jesus our Lord and Savior. Give us the boldness of Peter and John to proclaim forgiveness and life in Jesus, and bring more and more people to Jesus because He alone is the Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

The psalm for today is the 23rd psalm. 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.
O Lord, our Shepherd, lead us always to the blessing we need in life, keeping us in Your tender care. And lead us always through Jesus, the Good Shepherd, Who is with us every moment of every day into eternal life. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

The Second Reading is recorded in 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 we doing? Do we 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.
Lord of love, even though we can’t fully comprehend Your love for us, love that would take our sin upon Yourself and die for us, enable us to grow more and more in Your love, and enable us to love others as You have first loved us, and by so doing draw them to You. Amen.

The Gospel for today, John 10:11-18, 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 we do anything else but follow this Good Shepherd where ever He leads? Let us follow Him into eternal life.
Lord Jesus, our Good Shepherd, lead us each day into Your blessings, and keep us in You into eternal life. Thank You that You are the Good Shepherd Who gave Your life to redeem us. Amen.

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