The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream


NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Midweek Lenten Service - John 10 - I AM the Good Shepherd. March 18, 2015.
7 PM Central Daylight Time



Mid-Week Lenten Vespers, 2015

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Worship, 7 PM Central Daylight Time 

The Hymn #145 - Jesus Refuge of the Weary           
The Order of Vespers                                             p. 41
The Psalmody                   Psalm 23                  p. 128
The Lections                            The Passion History
                                                 John 10:11ff

The Sermon Hymn #436 - The Lord's My Shepherd                  

The Sermon –     I AM the Good Shepherd
 
The Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace                                            p. 45

The Hymn #660 - Heaven Is My Home            



John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.


I AM the Good Shepherd

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

These words are so familiar to us, so it is good to look at them anew and think about their meaning. We would tell an English student, "Do not move from one metaphor to another." This chapter has Jesus saying "I am the door" and also "I am the Good Shepherd."

But this is not an English exercise but the revelation of God. The I AM sermons are so important that John's Gospel gives them special meaning. The seven I AM sermons are unique to the Gospel, so the Spirit led the Apostle to preserve them for us.



  1. John 6:48 I am that bread of life. KJV
  2. John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. KJV
  3. John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. KJV
  4. John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. KJV
  5. John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: KJV
  6. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. KJV
  7. John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. KJV
There are two important lessons in this single verse - John 10:11. We have no adequate way of translating the first statement and making it sound right. In Greek, it is literally "I AM the Shepherd the Good." But we use good in a different way. Good means not the best in common speech. This word really means "noble." The way in which it is statement really means "I AM the ultimate Shepherd" or "I AM the Shepherd above all shepherds."

Because hundreds of passages about sheep and shepherds are drawn together here, the familiar words are the best, just as we remember them. What is more natural, through the revelation of God, than to think of Jesus as our Good Shepherd. He leads us into green pastures, protects us from evil, and guides us into eternal life, as Psalm 23 teaches us.

Jesus then defines His role as "giving His life for the sheep."

This is where the metaphor does not match human experience. Ordinary shepherds watch over their flocks and lead them to food. They protect them against predators, but they do not die for the sheep. This is another example of John's Gospel taking the definition to a higher level through repetition and clarification. 

Jesus taught this way so His disciples could memorize the sermons and pass them along to believers. All believers, in any language can memorize the short, simple cadences and dwell on their meaning.

The Word of God is efficacious when heard, read, and recalled from memory. It is the same Word and has the same power. That is why faithful hymns have kept Christianity alive during eras of rationalism and apostasy. The liturgy and creeds did the same, which is why the Left wing of the church wants to dump the liturgy and creeds forever.

The same sect that never taught the Book of Concord to its seminarians and "had" to have a feminist creed is the one that raised up Mark Jeske to teach New Age paganism to the masses. The cure for this is faith in Christ, study of the Scriptures, and clarification of doctrine through the Confessions.

Today we had a break when it was not raining, and I had strawberries to plant in the straw bale garden. I got out this bundle of stringy things outside and said, "Wait, I need directions for this," and looked it up on the Net - how to plant strawberries. It told me the dangers of planting too deep and too shallow - with pictures. The Confessions are very much like that.

12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

This may offend some - it always does offend someone. Jesus also contrasts His role as the Good Shepherd with the work of the hired hand. That is also the role of Confessions - they define what is and also the opposite - what is not.

I use that for directions. I look for where I am going and write down what I will see when I have gone too far. If I have been lost on the way to your home, please do not laugh. The method works when I follow it.

We live in an era where the hired hands are shepherds, ordained pastors (shepherds in Latin) and run away instead of protecting their flocks from the wolves. These hired hands refuse to teach about false doctrine and let everything peacefully rot away. 

Many ALC pastors long ago knew the difference between sound doctrine and false doctrine. One told me, "If I let my congregation know what the denomination was doing, i would lose them all." In a few years his conservative ALC church was an ELCA church, owned and controlled by the new Leftists, not the congregation. The "new truths" are now being taught in a parish where Lenski was an honored Biblical expert and another famous Lutheran preached even earlier than that.

14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
This is another one of the overlapping descriptions, which reveal our relationship to God as the same as the Son's to the Father. Jesus knows who the believers are, each and every one of them. And believers know His voice and listen to Him.
This knowledge of Christ comes to us through the work of the Holy Spirit in the Word. It is not persuasion but the power of the Word, and this is so certain that no one can tell us otherwise. In fact, when others try to mock the Faith, it only makes believers more trusting in God. The Spirit testifies that we belong to Him.
This relates to the intimate knowledge of the Father and the Son. The Father knows the Son, and the Son knows the Father, just as He knows us, and we know Him. The Father loves us because we know His Son and love Him.
How is His love shown - He lays down His life for us.

16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
This is not Jesus praying for the World Council of Churches, but His statement that there is only One Church, made up of those who trust in Him alone for their salvation. There can only be One Shepherd, One Fold. Diversity of doctrine is never taught in the Scriptures - there is only One Truth revealed by the Holy Spirit.
This is Isaiah 53 taught again - the Gospel - Jesus lays down His life for the sheep. What more shepherdy chapter is found in the Old Testament than Isaiah 53?
If the disciples did not know this at first, they did by the time they were taught after the Resurrection. Isaiah 53 became the Old Testament Gospel by revelation. It was there all along. It was known but not understood fully. When Jesus became that Suffering Servant, then each verse took on meaning for believers and for preaching the Gospel to Jews. Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah 53. All who believe in Him have forgiveness and everlasting life.