Sermon for 04.21.24 “He cares”

EASTER 4, APRIL 21, 2024
Text: John 10:11–18
Theme: He cares
Other Lessons: Acts 4:1–12; Psalm 23; 1 John 3:16–24

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The Gospel lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Loving God, we come before You in the spirit of the words from 1 John 3,
where we are taught about the depth of Your love, a love so profound that
Jesus laid down His life for us.
This scripture not only defines love in the ultimate sense but also calls
us to embody that love in our actions and the truth of God’s truth.
We acknowledge, O Lord, that Your love is not merely in word or speech but
in truth and action.
As we reflect on the sacrificial love of Christ, help us to grasp the
breadth and length, the height and depth of such love, and inspire us to
love one another earnestly, following Jesus’ example.
Guide us, Father, to put our faith into action, caring for those in need
and being bearers of Your peace and love in every aspect of our lives.
Help us to live in the assurance that comes from abiding in You and You in
us, through the Spirit You have given us.
We pray for the courage to face the challenges of living out this love in a
world that often rejects selfless acts and sacrificial living.
Strengthen us to be Your hands and feet, showing love not only in words but
through our deeds and truth.
In our worship today, may we be reminded of the confidence we have before
You—that if our hearts condemn us, You are greater than our hearts, and You
know everything.
Help us to rely not on our understanding but on Your vast, unfathomable
love that transcends our doubts and fears. Amen.
(E) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.

(A) This morning, every one of you will hear everything that is said, read,
and sung in this service.
(1) But the reality is, not every one of you will listen to everything that
is said, read, and sung in this service.
(2) Listening is much more involved than just hearing; listening takes
(3) We hear things all the time, but it’s only some of what we hear where
we actually tune in and listen.
(4) With all the technology and social media that is available today, there
is an even greater amount of voices coming at us.
(5) It can be rather overwhelming to know what “voice” to listen to.
(B) Do we always have discernment about who gets our attention?
(1) The answer is no.
(2) It stands to reason that we ought to listen to those who care about us.
(3) But do we always recognize who cares about us?
(4) What I mean is this:
(a) Who really, lovingly care for us?
(b) How do you even know?
(c) Our sermon text for today on this Good Shepherd Sunday speaks to this
quite clearly.
(d) It teaches us that Jesus Is the Shepherd Who Cares for You.
(I) Jesus cares for his sheep, unlike other shepherds.
(A) The people in Jesus’ day had heard a lot from spiritual leaders.
(1) For generations, their people had heard a lot.
(2) Long ago, there had been Moses and the prophets.
(3) They:
(a) Had been faithful, caring voices,
(b) had recorded God’s loving words in the sacred Scriptures.
(4) But in more recent years, actually for four centuries by this point,
the prophets had been silent.
(5) And those who were to teach and interpret those Scriptures faithfully
had become less than faithful.
(6) The Pharisees and the chief priests, mostly Sadducees, had become
self-serving shepherds, protecting their places of honor and caring very
little for the people.
(B) When Jesus came along, His voice was completely different.
(1) It was the voice of someone who cared:
(a) really,
(b) truly,
(c) lovingly cared.
John 10:16 (NASB95)
16 “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also,
and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one
(2) How would they know to whom they should listen?
(a) Because it was not just words, as John says in our Epistle, but it was
demonstrated and backed up through Jesus’ actions—which did speak louder
than words alone.
(C) In John 10, Jesus claims that He is the:
John 10:11 (NASB95)
11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the
(1) Good (Greek: kalos) can also be translated as noble, beautiful, or
(a) Jesus displaying on the outside what He is like on the inside.
(b) The shepherd’s job was not easy.
(1) It was tiring and hazardous.
(c) In the context of Jesus’ statement, the point of contrast is to those
bad shepherds, like the Pharisees and Sadducees, what he calls in our text
John 10:12 (NASB95)
12 “He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the
sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf
snatches them and scatters them.
(1) That person is distinguished by his lack of concern and commitment to
the sheep.
(2) When danger comes, he flees.
(3) He looks out for his own self-preservation and self-interest.
(4) The good shepherd owns the sheep, so he has a commitment to them.
(5) Unlike those other shepherds, Jesus cares for his sheep.
(6) He does everything that is necessary to protect them.
(II) Jesus cares for His sheep so much that He laid down His life for them.
(A) The feature Jesus most highlights as He describes the good shepherd is
that he:
John 10:11 (NASB95)
11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the
(B) Ordinarily, shepherds protect sheep, but they do not die for their
(1) Jesus, the Good Shepherd, cares and loves them so much that He is
willing to come between His flock and danger.
(2) When trouble comes, the hired hand won’t take any risk.
(a) He disappears.
(b) But Jesus is willing to die for His sheep.
(C) In Jesus’ description, the key word is “for”—and it reflects His
commitment to die “for” the sheep in obedience to God’s will.
(1) The Good Shepherd has a profound commitment to the ones He loves. We
might remember a different image from Ephesians 5.
(2) Paul writes:
Ephesians 5:25 (NASB95)
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave
Himself up for her,
(3) Jesus:
(a) Gave up everything,
(b) Surrendered all,
(c) for his Bride.
(d) This is an important point.
(D) Jesus was not a victim of human conspiracies:
John 10:18 (NASB95)
18 “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own
initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take
it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
(1) Jesus gave Himself up to die, but He also took back His life through
His resurrection:
John 10:17 (NASB95)
17 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that
I may take it again.
(2) The resurrection was just as much in God’s plan as was Jesus’
sacrificial death.
(III) Jesus cares for his sheep with acts of kindness.
(A) The term shepherd is what Jesus uses to identify himself.
(1) He really is the true Good Shepherd.
(2) But remember, shepherd is also a term used to describe those other
people who tend to God’s flock, people who have spiritual oversight.
(3) In the First Reading for today, from Acts 4, we see the contrast
(a) those other shepherds, that is, the Jewish authorities who refused to
do what the Lord wanted His way, and
(b) The under shepherds of the Good Shepherd, that is, the apostles, who
were doing something they were called to do by the same Lord but were not
supposed to because the Jewish leaders said no.
(4) Peter and John were under arrest, standing before the Jewish Council.
(a) Their crime? They had just healed a lame man and were preaching to the
crowds how the resurrected Christ had made that happen.
(b) Since these Jewish leaders were the very ones who had crucified Jesus,
Peter’s message “greatly disturbed” them.
(c) They were jealous because of the people’s reaction and upset because
they were proclaiming Jesus to be alive.
(d) It must be incredibly annoying to go to all the trouble of crucifying
someone, only to have His followers pop up to tell everyone that He did not
stay dead!
(B) But Peter is quick to point out the irony of this.
(1) He asks, in effect:
(a) Why are we getting into trouble for doing something kind to someone?
(b) Do we need permission to do something kind to someone?
(c) You’re upset because of an act of kindness?
(d) What kind of people find fault with an act of kindness?
(e) Is that the kind of shepherds you are?
(f) You just saw someone healed.
(g) Peter knew that the Shepherd under whom he served cared for His sheep
by just such acts of kindness.
(h) Guess what? The Lord asks you and me those same questions.
(1) Are we listening or just hearing the words?
(C) So Peter continues:
(1) It is:
Acts 4:10 (NASB95)
10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by
the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised
from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health.
(2) Jesus is the one behind this lovingly kind action.
(3) He’s:
(a) the foundation,
(b) the way,
(c) and the only Person where salvation is found.
(D) The message of the resurrection can and does transform lives.
(1) The ultimate consequence of Easter is when one’s life is radically
changed for the good.
(2) When the message of the resurrection is internalized into people’s
lives, they become different people.
(3) It begins with saving faith in Christ.
(4) Then it continues with acts of kindness just like our caring Shepherd
(IV) Jesus cares for His sheep, that is, “for you”
(A) In John 10, what John shows through Jesus’ words, and what stands out,
is the presence and care of this Shepherd, one unlike all others.
(1) It’s His willingness to lay down His life for His sheep.
(a) The sheep have come to trust their Shepherd because of what they know
through His actions for them, on their behalf.
(b) In all of His interaction with people, Jesus never closes His heart.
(c) Can we say the same?
(B) As important as such words are to us, they take on a whole new level of
importance when it comes to our relationship with God.
(1) That’s why God took the most important message any of us will ever
receive, and He perfectly translated it into human flesh, so that God’s
Word could reach us.
(a) Reach you.
(b) Reach you.
(c) Personally.
John 1:14 (NASB95)
14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory,
glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(C) As He has come among us and is now among us through His Spirit, He

(1) In the same beautiful and profound way that the Son and the Father know
each other, our Shepherd knows us and our needs:
(a) what’s truly important to you,
(b) what’s truly important to me.
(2) As we tune into His voice, not just hearing but listening, we can know
that we are listening to someone who cares.
(3) As He was for David in Psalm 23, the Lord becomes “my shepherd” too.
(4) He can be trusted to:
(a) lead,
(b) guide,
(c) renew,
(d) and restore our lives and spirits.
(e) And even when we are faced with the final enemy, death, we are assured
of His presence with us.
(f) His good words and actions are a comfort.
(g) And He will, as He promised, be with us all the days of our life.
(h) His goal is to lead us home to be with Him in the house of the Lord


(A) How many voices do we hear on any given day?
(1) The answer is, “A lot.”
(2) It’s the voices of people around us offering or giving us their advice,
information, or opinions on what they think we need or need to know.
(3) Then there are the voices of people we listen to on the radio, on
podcasts, on TV, and through social media.
(B) Advertising and marketing begin by stating a problem that is known or
(1) A storyline is introduced as to how our problem or issue can be
resolved by obtaining this or that product.
(2) And then we’re shown how our life or situation in the future will be
better if we buy what they are selling
(C) There are lots of voices out there, lots of things offered, but after
all is said and done, the discerning question from us should be:
(1) Who truly cares about me?
(2) Who really loves me and wants the best for me?
(3) Sadly, the self-serving motivations and expectations of other people
can be the focus.
(4) Think of the sacrifices, compromises, and resources that we have
possibly surrendered to people who may not really care about us.
(D) That is what is so different with Jesus.
John 10:14 (NASB95)
14 “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me.
(1) Jesus’ actions demonstrated that He is for us and for our benefit.
(2) What He wanted for us is what caused Him to give His life lovingly for
(3) He gave His life in place of ours so we could have our greatest
spiritual needs met.
(4) His voice is one we can trust with our life, and when we follow His
voice, He will get us home.
(E) What does God want you to hear?
(1) What does God want you to hear from the voice of our Good Shepherd this
(2) Two words.
(3) Two words that are deeply profound and life changing:
(a) “for you.”
(4) They are two words spoken personally to you by your loving and caring
Good Shepherd.
(a) Spoken in the Words of Absolution.
(b) Spoken in the words in today’s readings.
(c) Spoken in today’s sermon.
(d) Spoken as ordinary bread and wine are given and shed for you—and
extraordinary things take place.
(e) Jesus gives Himself, personally, and says, “for you.”
(F) Your Shepherd goes with you today and every day. He cares for you.
Shalom! Amen.
(G) Let us pray:
Lord, as we continue to walk in the commandments of love and faith, as
Jesus taught us, let our hearts be reassured in Your presence, knowing that
we belong to the truth, and ensure our hearts in Your sight.
We ask all these things in the name of Jesus, who showed us the greatest
love of all, laying down His life for us, that we might live through Him.
(H) Hebrews 13:20–21 (NASB95)
20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of
the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord,
21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which
is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory
forever and ever. Amen.
(I) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
(J) In the Name of the Father…Amen.