Living the Lectionary – 4th Sunday of Easter

Living the Lectionary is a weekly devotional tool intended to give you ideas for living out the Word of God that we encounter on Sundays in worship. 

ABOUT THE WEEK STARTING April 17th: The Fourth Week of Easter

The Lamb who is the Shepherd. Law: The Bible repeatedly describes the people of God as needing a shepherd. Like sheep, we are led into situations that might be dangerous to us if we do not follow the lead of our shepherd.  Gospel: God sent us a Lamb (one who is like us in our Sheepness, our humanity), who became our Good Shepherd through the suffering of the Cross, giving us perfect confidence.pablo (42)

REFLECTING ON THE READINGS

(readings are linked to text on ESVbible.com – you can read all the readings together here.)

Acts 20:17-35– Shepherds of the Flock– The Apostle Paul gives his last message to the people of Ephesus. In this message, he reinforces the need for local leadership, shepherding of the flock of God. What are the important aspects that stand out to you in Paul’s modeling of what it means to be a shepherd? What do the tasks of shepherding say about your community’s needs? || Paul gives us a previously unrecorded saying of Jesus in this text (“It is better to give than to receive”), what does this saying of Jesus tell you about how Jesus leads His Church? In what ways does He show that it is better to give? How is that giving realized in your local church?

Psalm 23– The Shepherding Lord – Psalm 23 is one of the most memorable and popular Psalms in the entire book of 150 Psalms. What is it about this Psalm, do you think, that connects with the desires and imaginations of so many people? || Psalm 23 does not shy away from the darkness, but overcomes it with something greater.  Whether it is walking the shadow of the valley of death or being surrounded by enemies, there is always something that makes us feel secure in the darkness. What is the darkness around you today, and how does God’s promise to give you security in that darkness while not dismissing it?

Revelation 7:9-17 – The Lamb who is Shepherd – The Lamb, the figure for Jesus in Revelation, is revealed to be the shepherd of the gathered martyrs in heaven. In earthly flocks, the shepherd is a human while the flock is made up of sheep, but God has ordained that Jesus would become a human in order to shepherd us. The elder makes it clear what the sheep of God must go through with Jesus as their shepherd. Which of these things seem most present to you today? Which of the promises seem most appealing to your present situation? || The great multitude of those who have died in the faith before us is an interesting image. Picture in your head what this great multitude looks like.

John 10:22-30– The Shepherd’s Voice – Jesus explains that the Jewish people questioning him cannot hear His truth because their ears are not attuned to His voice, and that their ears are not attuned because they are not His sheep. How does it feel different to hear a familiar voice than an unfamiliar voice? Does God’s Word feel like a familiar voice to you? || Jesus says that His sheep know His voice, that there is something familiar about Him that gives them confidence in the midst of hardship. What is it about Jesus that feels familiar and gives you courage in difficult times?

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