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Weekly Devotion 

Published 4/16/2024
Acts 4:1-12; 1 John 3:16-24; John 10:11-18
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I was always excited watching Jeopardy (or any trivia show) when a bible topic came up. As a lifelong Christian, it was one topic that I was certain I could answer all the questions. I had gone to church and bible study every week and thought I knew the bible very well. Yet, as the questions were unveiled one-by-one, I was stumped. I guess I didn’t know Scripture as well as I thought. Sure, I would get some of them. Yet, I was certain I would be able to answer ALL of them.
Just like I was with those trivia questions, many people are often mistaken about what’s in the Bible and what is not. So often, we hear these sweet sentiments repeated several times so that we take them as Gospel truth. It’s not uncommon for even lifelong Christians to confuse societal sentiment with biblical teaching. Especially when we watch movies or television shows that are supposed to be “based on the bible” yet take great creative license. We can’t always count on teachings being in the bible, just because we’ve heard someone say it.
In our Gospel lesson this week, we learn about the intimate relationship that Jesus has with us. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He cares for his flock in a way that no one else does. “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,” John 10:14. Because the shepherd knows his sheep, he cares for them. He protects them. He defends them from the wolves unlike the hired hand. By his voice, he calls his sheep to him so that he may lead them to pasture.
But this also raises the question, how well do we know our shepherd? Can you distinguish his voice from the voice of others? In our world, we struggle to hear our shepherd call us. His voice just becomes one more in the cacophony of voices. But it’s not because he’s not speaking to us, it’s that we aren’t often listening. It’s important for us to be in God’s word daily. We need to know the difference between our Lord’s voice and all others. Without listening to him, without hearing him speak to us, how can he ever lead us to greener pasture?
Hear your Shepherd call then. Hear the Good Shepherd speak to you as he seeks to tend to your needs. For he knows you better than anyone else. He knows your every need, and he seeks to tend to them. He knows even when you wander away. Yet, the Good Shepherd doesn’t abandon his sheep. He seeks them out even when they wander. For it’s the sheep that wander that are most vulnerable to the wolves and the lions. But hear what the Good Shepherd says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep,” John 10:11. The greatest need we all have is sin. It’s the devil who prowls around like a lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). But Jesus goes to lay down his life for you. Jesus goes to fight the lion, the wolves, to fight Satan and death by going to the cross. Your Shepherd lays down his life willingly for you so that he may call you back to his flock. By his death on the cross, he offers you forgiveness and leads you into eternal life! Just as Jesus laid his life down, so too does he take it back up. He was raised for you that you too may be raised from the dead!
Pastor Sorenson
Almighty God, merciful Father, since You have wakened from death the Shepherd of Your sheep, grant us Your Holy Spirit that when we hear the voice of our Shepherd we may know Him who calls us each by name and follow where He leads; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen!