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John 10,22-30

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Dear Bob,

SERMONWRITER FOR EASTER 4C:  The following are SermonWriter materials for Easter 4C, May 2, 2004.  They focus on the Gospel lesson, John 10:22-30, where Jesus' enemies ask him to tell them plainly whether he is the Messiah.


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"EMPTY PULPITS" -- ARTICLE ON THE CHANGING FACE OF MINISTRY

Archie Fugate sent me a link to a Louisville, Ky. newspaper article -- or series -- on the changing face of ministry -- Protestant and Catholic.  To see it, click:
http://www.courierjournal.com/cjextra/2004projects/empty_pulpits/index.html


MISSING ISSUES:  We send materials approximately two weeks in advance.  If you are missing an issue, let us know and we will resend it.  This applies only to current issues (materials for the next two Sundays).  Back issues are unavailable.  Each Sunday morning, we delete the template for that day's materials.  We leave materials posted on the web for about one extra week.


TELL YOUR FRIENDS:  Your colleagues are looking for good resources too.  Please mention SermonWriter to them.  Thanks!

Dick Donovan


TITLE:   To believe or not to believe!


SERMON IN A SENTENCE:   Christ calls us to believe in him, and leaves us free to choose belief or unbelief.


SCRIPTURE:    John 10:22-30


EXEGESIS:  

CHAPTER 10:  THE CONTEXT

John 10:22-30 is a continuation of the Good Shepherd discourse (vv. 1-18), which results in some of "the Jews" accusing him of having a demon (vv. 19-21).  Vv. 22-30 are followed by a rejection of Jesus, including an attempt to stone him (vv. 31-39) and his departure from Jerusalem to "the place where John had been baptizing earlier" (v. 40) where "many believed in him" (v. 42). 

The common lectionary deals with this chapter by spreading it across, not three successive weeks, but three successive years (Easter 4A, 4B, and 4C) -- so we cannot expect our congregations to appreciate its linkage to the rest of the chapter.  It behooves us, therefore, to re-familiarize ourselves with the chapter as a whole so that our preaching this week incorporates the full richness of the chapter.

Rejection is a major theme of this chapter, and is reflected in the hostility of "the Jews" who challenge Jesus to "tell us plainly" (v. 24).  The passages that immediately precede and follow this text (vv. 19-21 and 31-39) deal explicitly with that rejection, although they also make clear that "the Jews" are divided -- some saying that Jesus has a demon (v. 20) and others saying, "These are not the words of one who has a demon.  Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?" (v. 21; see also 8:31; 12:42).

A word about this phrase, "the Jews."  It is not Jewish people at large who oppose Jesus, but Jewish leaders -- Pharisees in particular (7:32, 45; 8:13; 9:40) -- people with power and prestige to protect.  Common people find it easier to believe in Jesus.  The more sophisticated, wealthy, or powerful we become, the more obstacles we encounter on the road to faith. Jesus turns upside down the lives of those who would follow him.  Those who "have it made" are less willing to allow Jesus to disturb their comfortable world.


VERSES 22-24:   IF YOU ARE THE MESSIAH, TELL US PLAINLY

22At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly."


"At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem" (v. 22a).  This Gospel presents much of Jesus' teaching and the resulting controversy as occurring on the Sabbath or on festival days such as Passover and Tabernacles. 
The festival of Dedication is now better known as Chanukah or Hanukkah, and is observed for eight days in the month of Chislev, near our Christmas.  It commemorates the triumph of Judas Maccabeus (Jewish) over Antiochus Epiphanes (Syrian) in 164 or 165 B.C.  Antiochus tried to force Greek philosophy and religion on the Jews.  Failing that, he attacked Jerusalem, looted the temple treasury, and desecrated the altar by sacrificing a pig on it.  Judas Maccabeus and his brothers gathered an army, liberated Jerusalem, cleansed the temple, and rededicated the altar.  The festival of Dedication, observed with the lighting of lamps and rejoicing, commemorates that rededication.

John's mention of the festival of Dedication has meaning beyond marking a particular time.  The temple represents the presence of God with his people, and Jesus is the new temple (2:19-21).  "Like the temple in the Maccabean period, Jesus is about to suffer desecration by pagans, aided and abetted by Jewish apostates" (Bauckham, 531). 

"It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon" (vv. 22b-23).  He has apparently been in Jerusalem since the festival of Booths, more than two months earlier (7:2, 37).  Given the winter climate, Jesus teaches under the cover of the portico rather than outdoors.  His opponents find this an easy place to trap Jesus and to try to force him into incriminating statements (Gossip, 631-632).

The location is significant.  To the Jews, the temple represents the presence of God, but this Gospel sees Jesus as the new temple.  "The gospel of John presents Jesus as being what the temple represented.  Jesus is the very presence of God.  He claimed, 'I and the Father are one' (10:30)" (Lindberg, 52). 

"If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly" (v. 24).  It is a hostile challenge, designed to force Jesus into the open and to bring things to a head.  Anything that Jesus says can and will be used against him. 

The issue of Jesus' messiahship has been raised previously in this Gospel: 

-- Seeing Jesus teach without opposition from the authorities, the people asked, "Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah?" (7:26). 

-- The people responded to Jesus' miracles by asking, "When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?" (7:31). 

-- They thought him to be the Messiah, except that he comes from Galilee rather than Bethlehem (7:41-43). 

-- His opponents asked, "Who are you?" (8:25) and "Who do you claim to be?" (8:53).

-- The parents of the blind man whom Jesus had healed were afraid, because "the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue" (9:22).


VERSES  25-30:   I HAVE TOLD YOU, AND YOU DO NOT BELIEVE

25Jesus answered, "I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name testify to me; 26but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father's hand. 30The Father and I are one."


"I have told you, and you do not believe" (v. 25).  The Prologue to this Gospel says, that the Word "came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him (1:10-11).  We see that acted out in this Gospel lesson.

Jesus proclaimed himself plainly to the Samaritan woman (4:25-26) and the man born blind (9:5, 35-37), but does not do so to these interrogators, because they come seeking, not truth, but grounds for conviction.  They not only ignored the evidence of his works, but also sought to turn those works against him (5:10-18; 9:13-34).  "As Chrysostom put it, they do not believe, not because Jesus is not a shepherd but because they are not sheep" (Craddock, 248).  They are the ones whom Jesus has identified as thieves, bandits, and hired hands who come "only to steal and kill and destroy (10:10a).  As such, they oppose Jesus, who "came that (the sheep) may have life, and have it abundantly" (10:10b).  Thieves and bandits hate good shepherds, because a good shepherd prevents them from carrying out their evil intentions.

Jesus also resists the title of Messiah because the popular idea distorts its true meaning.  "Too often for the questioners, 'Messiah' had nationalistic and political overtones which Jesus would not wish to encourage" (Brown, 406).

Jesus' words and works, however, give compelling testimony to his Godly power.  After healing the man by the pool, Jesus said, "The works that my Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me" (5:36).  Now, after healing a blind man (9:1-41), Jesus says, "The works that I do in my Father's name testify to me" (v. 25).

"but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep" (v. 26).  God leaves us free to believe or not believe.  Jesus' enemies choose not to believe in spite of the clear testimony of Jesus' works.  They persecuted Jesus because he healed on the Sabbath (5:16), and proved blind to the evidence when he healed a blind man (9:35-41).  In the next chapter, his enemies will respond to the resurrection of Lazarus, not by believing, but by conspiring to kill Jesus (11:45-53).

Opposition to Christ is as common today as it was then.  In every time and place, opponents of Christ ignore the work of the church among the vulnerable and the evidence of changed lives.  Such evidence serves only to fire their hatred and harden their hearts.

-- Observe how the church is portrayed in movies and on television. Rarely is it treated sympathetically.  Usually Christians are portrayed as negative and judgmental or are made the butt of a joke. 

-- In academic circles, while professors treat non-Christian religions with great respect, they disparage Christianity.  When our son left home to attend a state university, my wife spoke of it as "sending him behind enemy lines." 

-- The press and courts are often hostile to the church. 

-- In many nations today, Christians are actively persecuted and martyred for their faith.

However, faith is less easily subverted by hostility than by comfort.  The blood of the martyrs is indeed the seed of the church.  The most serious enemies of Christ are those who wear his name badly -- those who proclaim a Prosperity Gospel instead of a Cross -- those who preach love without loving -- those who stain their vestments with their immorality.

"My sheep hear my voice.  I know them, and they follow me" (v. 27).  This verse mirrors portions of the Good Shepherd discourse (10:3-5, 16), and bears careful reading.  We expect Jesus to say that the sheep follow him because they know him, but instead he says that they follow him because he knows them.  We long to be known -- to be understood at the deepest levels.  Profound intimacy bespeaks profound love.  This Gospel makes it clear that Jesus sees to the depth of the heart, and it is no wonder that the sheep perceive that and follow him.

"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish" (v. 28a).  Eternal life in this Gospel is not mere longevity, but is rather life lived in the presence of God. In his High Priestly prayer, Jesus will say, "And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (17:3).  Eternal life involves "a reorientation of the knower, a change of location from one community to another" (Cousar, 304). 

However, eternal life also involves longevity.  Earlier, Jesus promised, "Whoever eats of this bread will live forever" (6:51) and "whoever keeps my word will never see death" (8:51; see also 6:58; 11:25-26).  This cannot mean that Christians will not suffer physical death; by the time of this Gospel, many Christians have been martyred.  "Physical life may be destroyed, but those who are united by faith to the Son of God, those who belong to the flock of the true Shepherd, can never lose real life, for he keeps it secure. `No one', he says, `will snatch them out of my hand.' " (Bruce, 232).

Jesus' opponents, however, are comfortable, and will not risk embracing a new kind of Messiah so that they might enjoy the eternal life that Jesus offers. 

"No one will snatch them out of my hand" (v. 28b).  The security that Jesus offers is not security as the world understands security.  The sheep will not perish and no one will snatch them out of Jesus' hand, but many will die for their faith -- or lose their jobs -- or be denied opportunity -- or suffer ridicule.  What they will not lose is their relationship to the Father and the Son or the salvation that relationship brings. 

"It is one of the precious things about the Christian faith that our continuance in eternal life depends not on our feeble hold on Christ, but on his firm grip on us. We should notice that the teaching of this verse is not that believers will be saved from all earthly disaster, but that they will be saved, no matter what earthly disaster may befall them" (Morris, 463). 

"What my Father has given me is greater than all else" (v. 29a).  Ancient manuscripts differ, making this a difficult verse to translate.  Many scholars, believing that the gift that the Father gives cannot be greater than the Father, prefer a manuscript that reads, "My Father...is greater than all" (Smith, 211).  However, it is possible that Jesus is saying that the sheep that the Father has entrusted to him are truly a precious gift, greater than any other gift -- a gift to be jealously guarded so that no one can snatch it.

"no one can snatch it out of the Father's hand" (v. 29b).  In the previous verse, Jesus promised that no one could snatch it from his hand, but now he promises that no one can snatch it from the Father's hand.  "All that Jesus says and does is merely the embodiment of the Father's will....  This means that it is the Father himself who ultimately stands behind the preservation of Jesus' sheep....  As Paul would say to the Colossian believers, 'your life is now hidden with Christ in God' (Col. 3:3).  There can be no greater security" (Carson, 394).

There is a tension in this Gospel between faith and election.  "To believe is to belong to those who hear Jesus' voice and receive eternal life (cf. 5:24), but one cannot hear Jesus' voice unless one is given to him by God" (O'Day, 676).  While that suggests that God determines who will and will not believe, eliminating choice, we see Jesus calling unbelievers to believe, saying, "Even though you do not believe me, believe the words, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father" (10:38) -- which suggests that unbelievers can choose to believe. 

Henry Ward Beecher, the great 19th century American preacher, resolved the issue (at least for himself) by saying, "The elect are whosoever will, and the non-elect whosoever won't."  Charles Spurgeon, the great British preacher of the same era, prayed, "Lord, save all the elect, and then elect some more." 

This Gospel makes it clear that God holds us accountable for our belief or unbelief.  "Although Jesus lays down his own life for those who follow him (xi 11, 15), he also provokes judgment and thus takes away the life of those who reject him (xi 48)" (Brown, 403).

"The Father and I are one (Greek:  hen)" (v. 30).  "The word for 'one' is the neuter hen not the masculine heir:  Jesus and his Father are not one person, as the masculine would suggest, ...(but rather) are perfectly one in action, in what they do" (Carson, 394).

"There is no longer need to look to the physical building on the Temple Mount to know of God's presence to God's people.  Jesus, who stands before 'the Jews,' points to himself and claims that he is the visible presence of God among them" (Moloney, 315).

These are inflammatory words.  In fact, if Jesus is not the Messiah, they are blasphemous words.  We are reminded of the opening verse of this Gospel, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (1:1).  Later, Jesus will pray that his disciples "may all be one.  As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (17:20-21).  At the heart of this Gospel is the unity between the Father and the Son.  Jesus prays that his disciples become a part of this unity.

"The Jews took up stones again to stone him" (v. 31).  However, they cannot kill him.  When his hour comes, he will give up his life willingly.


SERMON:    

Hamlet said, "To be or not to be.  That is the question!"  He was contemplating suicide -- deciding whether or not to choose life.

Our Gospel lesson today raises a similar but different question -- to believe or not to believe -- to choose belief or to choose unbelief.

The time was shortly before Jesus' death, and his opponents were gathering strength.  They came to Jesus as he taught in the temple, and they said,

"How long will you keep us in suspense? 
If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly."

Jesus answered,

"I have told you,
and you do not believe."

In a sense, Jesus dodged their question.  They wanted a yes-or-no answer to further their purpose, which was getting rid of Jesus.  If Jesus said, "Yes, I am the Messiah," they would have grounds to execute him for blasphemy.  If he said, "No, I am not the Messiah," that would settle the issue another way.  Either way, they would get what they wanted -- no more Jesus.

Jesus dodged their question by telling them that he had already given them the answer -- and he had.  He had healed a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years -- what better testimony could there be to Jesus' Godly power -- but his enemies failed to see the miracle.  They saw only that he healed on the Sabbath and began to persecute him for violating their religious laws.

And then Jesus healed a blind man -- a man who had been blind all his life -- a man born blind -- what better testimony could there be to Jesus' Godly power -- but his enemies failed to see the miracle.  They saw only that he was healing on the Sabbath -- violating the Sabbath, as far as they were concerned.  They failed to see --refused to see-- the wonder of the miracle.  They were blind to Jesus' Godly power.

If you were sick -- seriously ill -- and someone healed you, wouldn't you believe -- not necessarily that they were God, but that they were wonderful!  That's how the formerly blind man felt about it, now that he could see --but Jesus' enemies couldn't see -- wouldn't see -- couldn't believe -- wouldn't believe.

Have you ever met someone who couldn't believe -- wouldn't believe?  I am sure that you have.  They are all around us.

I remember my first serious encounter with someone who couldn't believe -- wouldn't believe.  I was still a high school senior, but had declared my intention to study for the ministry.  That left me vulnerable, because I knew little about the Bible and less about ministry -- but people expected me to know everything.

On this particular evening, another boy and I ended up driving somewhere together -- to another town -- I can't remember why.  The journey gave us a couple of hours together with not much to do but talk -- my old jalopy didn't even have a radio.  The other guy -- his name was Jim, if I recall correctly -- was very bright -- the kind of person whom you would expect to become a college professor or something of that sort.

While we drove, Jim turned to me and said, "I understand that you plan to be a minister."  I said that was true.  He then told me that he did not believe in God, but wanted to know more.  He then challenged me to prove to him that there was a God.

I told him that he didn't need proof from me.  All he needed to do was to look at the beautiful design of the world around him -- from the tiniest atom to the greatest galaxy -- and he would see all the evidence that he needed to see.  But Jim said that he found that argument inconclusive.  He could study atoms and see stars, but that didn't prove anything as far as he was concerned. 

I tried everything to prove that there was a God, but Jim wasn't buying.  I came away from that encounter frustrated -- feeling inadequate.  I felt that Jim had given me a great opportunity, and I had failed.  I remembered that terrible frustration for years. 

That encounter took place nearly half a century ago, and I find myself wondering even today what happened to Jim.  Did he ever find his proof?  I doubt seriously that he did.  There is no proof to meet the standard that he wanted to apply.  That is why we talk about faith.  We believe, if we believe at all, because we decide to believe -- choose to believe.  There is nothing that will prove God to a person who chooses not to believe.  It is all a matter of faith.

If Jim ever became a believer, that most likely happened -- not because someone proved God to him -- but because he encountered a Christian whom he admired.  That will do it, you know.  Nothing is so persuasive as a life well lived -- a life shining with the light of Christ.

We can prove many things, you see, but none that really matter.  Our most important decisions all require a leap of faith.  To choose a husband or wife requires a leap of faith.  To have children requires a leap of faith.  To choose a career requires a leap of faith.  Why should we wonder that belief in Christ requires a leap of faith?

Even in science, where we come closest to being able to prove things, the big questions all require a leap of faith.  Scientists can prove the less important things, but have to continually revise their textbooks with regard to the more important things.  There are few things in a fifty-year-old physics textbook that are still true today.  We have learned so much -- have learned, for one thing, that much of what we knew fifty years ago is no longer true -- should expect that much of what we know today will no longer be true fifty years from now.  Why should we wonder that belief in Christ requires a leap of faith?

My wife and I have friends -- Don and Bridgitt -- who are missionaries to Haiti.  They left the United States for Haiti thirty years ago, and never looked back.  Their son and his wife have joined them on the mission field.  I have always admired them -- and have been glad that God didn't call me to Haiti.  It is a tough place to conduct ministry -- and these days is dangerous.  The government has essentially collapsed, and gangs are running amok, often armed to the teeth.

Don sent me an email early in March.  He said:

"Yesterday the Lord gave me opportunity
to meet with about forty gang members.
Ten of us met with them to try to stop their terrorizing.
It is hard to reason with a person who is in the dark.
A member of our church and I were the only Christians among them.
Thank the Lord for the witness God gave through me to those men,
most of them young -- in their 20s.
I had prayer with them,
and they showed respect as I spoke to them from the word of God.
One asked if it was all right to smoke!
Here I was, moderating a meeting with men
who had firearms in their waistbands.
Glory to God!
Pray that the seed planted will bear fruit
and that we will have another meeting with them."

He signed his email,

"Still standing,
Don and Bridgitt"

Later in March, Don sent another email telling of his frustration with another gang -- unreceptive this time.  Many of those gang members were already dead by the time that Don wrote his email -- shot by rival gangs or neighborhood watch groups.  Don grieves for them as he remembers their unwillingness to listen. 

I was struck by the parallels between Don's experience and our Gospel lesson.  Some believed -- or at least listened respectfully -- while others refused to listen-- refused to believe.

We haven't heard from Don and Bridgitt for three weeks now.  I tried several times to call them, but the phones aren't working.  I pray that they are all right. 

In another sense, I know that they are all right.  In our Gospel lesson, Jesus says,

"My sheep hear my voice.
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.
No one will snatch them out of my hand."

That doesn't mean that Don and Bridgitt are exempt from danger.  It means that, whatever happens, Christ is with them.  They enjoy Christ's love and salvation.  They know that, and it makes them brave.  If I had been in their shoes, I would have flown home long ago, but they have their feet firmly planted in the love of Christ.  They sign their emails,

"Still standing,
Don and Bridgitt"

Which reminds me of a woman whom I met in a hospital many years ago.  She was old and sick and afraid to die.  She spent her days in a state of panic, because she had no faith.  I tried to tell her about Jesus, but she was too panicked to listen.  She was in a good hospital with good doctors and nurses, but she was scared to death. 

I hope that, when my time comes, I will not be like that.  I hope that I will be like Don and Bridgitt -- feet firmly planted in the love of Christ -- brave -- emboldened by faith.

In our Gospel lesson today, we have two kinds of people responding to Jesus.  Some hardened their hearts and refused to believe.  Others heard Jesus' voice and followed -- as a sheep follows the voice of a shepherd.

To believe or not to believe -- that is the question.  What is your answer?


MORE SERMONS ON THIS TEXT:  You might also find the following sermons helpful. 
Ms. Terry Parsons, No title given
http://www.dfms.org/6087_6886_ENG_HTM.htm
Jesus tells his enemies that the real issue is their belief or unbelief.  Ms. Parsons addresses the question, "Do we believe -- and how?"

Bradley Hall, "More Sheep -- More Trouble"
http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon.asp?SermonID=48560&ContributorID=8095
"Those who promise you comfort and ease are not necessarily your friends, and those who put you through difficulty and pain are not necessarily your enemies. But whatever happens, when things go wrong, and you are in trouble, if you listen to the voice of the master, you will be saved."

Fr. Jim Mazzone, No title given
http://members.aol.com/homilies/ceas4.html
Some lovely images of recognizing voices.  "Our challenge today is to hear the voice of Jesus -- to recognize it and to follow it."


TRUE STORY:     

See the stories in the sermon above.


A BIT OF HUMOR:

Bumper sticker in Los Angeles:

"Honk if you believe in anything."


THOUGHT PROVOKERS:  

Belief is not faith without evidence,
but commitment without reservation.

-- Leighton Ford

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Understanding is the reward of faith.
Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe,
but believe that you may understand.

-- St. Augustine

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

One person with a belief
is a social power equal to ninety-nine who have only interests.

-- John Stuart Mill,
English economist and philosopher

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

There are two things to do about the Gospel --
believe it and behave it.

-- Susannah Wesley,
mother of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist church
and Charles Wesley, the great hymnist

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

If you don't believe in God, you aren't a whole person;
you are just a number in a book.
A lot of smart people claim that they can't believe anything
unless they can see it.
Look, friend, you can't see electricity
in that high-tension wire up yonder,
but I dare you to touch it.
No, you can't see that electricity,
but you can see the light.

-- J. J. Johnson

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


HYMNS:   Thanks to the Rev. Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, pastor of Allendale United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg, Florida for the hymns.

KEY:

Baptist Hymnal (BH)
Chalice Hymnal (CH)
Collegeville Hymnal (CO)
Gather Comprehensive (GC)
JourneySongs (JS)
Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW)
Lutheran Worship (LW)
Presbyterian Hymnal (PH)
The Faith We Sing (TFWS)
The Hymnal 1982 (TH)
The New Century Hymnal (TNCH)
United Methodist Hymnal (UMH)
Voices United (VU)
With One Voice (WOV)

Dear Lord, Lead Me Day by Day (BH #459; UMH #411; VU #568)

He Leadeth Me: O Blessed Thought (BH #52; CH #545; LBW #501; UMH #128; VU #657)
I Am Thine, O Lord (BH #290; CH #601; TNCH #455; UMH #419)

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus (BH #305; CH #344, TFWS #2129)

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say (BH #551; CO #453; GC #646; JS #476; LBW #497; LW #348; TH #692; TNCH #489; VU #626)

Jesus, Shepherd of Our Souls (GC #725)

Lead Me, Guide Me (CH #553; GC #574; TFWS #2214)

Lead Me, Lord (CH #593; JS #655; UMH #473)

Lead On, O King Eternal (BH #621; CH #632; LBW #495; PH #447-448; TH #555; TNCH #573; UMH #580; VU #421)
also known as "Lead On, O Cloud of Presence"

Near to the Heart of God (BH #295; CH #581; PH #527; UMH #472)

Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us (BH #61; CH #558; LBW #48; PH #387; TH #708; TNCH #252; UMH #381)

Shepherd Me, O God (TFWS #2058)

Shepherd of Souls (CO #390; GC #840, JS #480; TH #343)

Shepherd of my Heart (GC #641)

Shepherd of Our Hearts (GC #829)

Will You Come and Follow Me (GC #700; TFWS #2130; VU 567)
also known as The Summons

You Satisfy the Hungry Heart (CH #429; CO #389; GC #815; PH #521; UMH #629; VU #478; WOV #711)
also known as Gift of Finest Wheat


SCRIPTURES FOR UPCOMING WEEKS:

We follow the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) and use Gospel texts for Sundays only.  The RCL tracks with the other major lectionaries most of the time, but there are occasional differences.

May 9Easter 5John 13:31-35
May 16Easter 6John 14:23-29
May 23Easter 7John 17:20-26
May 30PentecostActs 2 and John 14
June 6TrinityJohn 16:12-15


BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Barclay, William, The Daily Study Bible, "The Gospel of John," Vol. 1 (Edinburgh:  The Saint Andrew Press, 1955)

Bauckham, Richard in Van Harn, Roger (ed.), The Lectionary Commentary:  Theological Exegesis for Sunday's Text.  The Third Readings:  The Gospels  (Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 2001)

Beasley-Murray, George R., Word Biblical Commentary:  John (Nashville:  Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999)

Brown, Raymond, The Anchor Bible:  The Gospel According to John I-XII (Garden City:  Doubleday, 1966)

Bruce, F. F., The Gospel of John (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1983).

Carson, D. A., The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel of John (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1991).

Cousar, Charles B.; Gaventa, Beverly R.; McCann, J. Clinton; and Newsome, James D., Texts for Preaching:  A Lectionary Commentary Based on the NRSV -- Year C (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994)

Craddock, Fred R.; Hayes, John H.; Holladay, Carl R.; and Tucker, Gene M., Preaching Through the Christian Year C  (Valley Forge:  Trinity Press International, 1994)

Gossip, Arthur John and Howard, Wilbert F., The Interpreter's Bible, Volume 8 (Nashville:  Abingdon, 1952)

Howard-Brook, Wes, Becoming the Children of God:  John's Gospel and Radical Discipleship (New York:  Maryknoll, 1994).

Lindberg, Paul H., Lectionary Bible Studies, "The Year of Luke," Lent-Easter, Study Book, (Augsburg-Fortress, 1976)

Moloney, Francis J., Sacra Pagina:  The Gospel of John (Collegeville:  The Liturgical Press, 1998)

Morris, Leon, The New International Commentary on the New Testament:  The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995).

O'Day, Gail R., The New Interpreter's Bible, Volume IX (Nashville:  Abingdon, 1995)

Sloyan, Gerald, "John," Interpretation (Atlanta:  John Knox Press, 1988)

Smith, D. Moody, Jr., Abingdon New Testament Commentaries:  John (Nashville:  Abingdon, 1999)

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