Archive for the ‘John 10’ Tag

Devotion for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year A (ILCW Lectionary)   1 comment

Above:  Good Shepherd

Image in the Public Domain


APRIL 30, 2023


According to the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship (ILCW) Lectionary (1973), as contained in the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) and Lutheran Worship (1982)


Acts 6:1-9; 7:2a, 51-60

Psalm 23

1 Peter 2:19-25

John 10:1-10


God of all power,

you called from death our Lord Jesus Christ,

the great shepherd of the sheep. 

Send us as shepherds to rescue the lost,

to heal the injured,

and to feed one another with knowledge and understanding;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.


Almighty God,

you show the light of your truth to those in darkness,

to lead them into the way of righteousness. 

Give strength to all who are joined in the family of the Church,

so that they will resolutely reject what erodes their faith

and firmly follow what faith requires;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 22


Almighty God, merciful Father,

since you have wakened from death the Shepherd of your sheep,

grant us your Holy Spirit that we may know the voice of our Shepherd

and follow him that sin and death may never pluck us out of your hand;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Lutheran Worship (1982), 52


The lectionary wisely omits 1 Peter 2:18:

Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh.

The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

I realize that the First Epistle of Peter dates to a time and comes from a cultural setting in which the Church was young, small, and not influential.  Nevertheless, I reject any defense that these circumstances excused not denouncing the indefensible.

This is Good Shepherd Sunday.  “Good Shepherd” is a metaphor originally applied to YHWH (Psalm 23; Ezekiel 34) then to Jesus.  Instead of going over shepherds again, I choose to focus on competing translations of one line in Psalm 23.  Divine goodness and mercy may either pursue or attend/accompany one.  Enemies cannot catch up.  After leading many lectionary discussions and comparing translations of Psalms, I have become accustomed to competing, feasible translations of text and lines.  I do not know if I should prefer divine goodness and mercy pursuing me or walking beside me.  Perhaps that does not matter.  Either way, the metaphor provides comfort.










Link to the corresponding post at BLOGA THEOLOGICA



Devotion for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year D (Humes)   1 comment

Above:  Good Shepherd

Image in the Public Domain

Sacred Vocations

MAY 15, 2022


The Collect:

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ,  who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236


The Assigned Readings:

Acts 16:11-34

Psalm 23

2 Thessalonians 3:6-18

John 10:1-18


2 Thessalonians 3:6-18, in context, contains a crucial message:  Do not use waiting for the Second Coming of Jesus as an excuse for idleness.  Mutuality, a value from the Law of Moses, remains germane.  We all depend on are are responsible to and for each other.  As The Book of Common Prayer (1979) reminds us, we depend upon each other’s labor.

Performing the labor God has assigned to us may get us into trouble, as it did in Acts 16:11-34.  If so, perhaps an opportunity for evangelism will arise from the circumstance.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd.  Such a shepherd deserves our best efforts, does he not?  May we, by grace, not fail him.










Devotion for Wednesday After the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   1 comment

Christ Pantocrator I

Above:  Christ Pantocrator

Image in the Public Domain

Deeds as Credentials

MAY 11, 2022


The Collect:

O God of peace, you brought again from the dead

our Lord Jesus Christ, the shepherd of the sheep.

By the blood of your eternal covenant, make us complete

in everything good that we may do your will,

and work among us all that is well-pleasing in your sight,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 33


The Assigned Readings:

Jeremiah 50:17-20

Psalm 100

John 10:31-42


Acknowledge that the LORD is God;

He made us and we are His,

His people, the flock He tends.

–Psalm 100:3, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)


Do we acknowledge God via our deeds and attitudes?  Or does “God” function merely as a mechanism for self-justification?  The genuine God is a truly challenging character.

Our deeds are our credentials, for better and worse.  By them we might glorify God or ourselves.  (The first choice is superior, obviously.)  Sometimes we might labor under the erroneous impression that we are glorifying God.  Indeed, identifying correctly what we are actually doing can prove difficult on occasion.  May we, by grace, perceive and behave correctly.

The proper response to the extravagance of God’s grace is gratitude, which comes with responsibility.  Grace is free yet costly.  Our deeds are our credentials.  Are they credentials of the Golden Rule, of compassion, of love of God and our fellow human beings?  Or are they credentials of self-aggrandisement?  Are they credentials of leaving the world or some part of it better than we found it or they credentials of the opposite?

May we love one another, just as God loves us.










Twenty-Second Day of Easter: Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C   10 comments

Above:  Lamb of God Crozier

Agents of Divine Healing

MAY 8, 2022


Acts 9:36-43 (New Revised Standard Version):

Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request,

Please come to us without delay.

So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said,

Tabitha, get up.

Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.

Psalm 23 (New Revised Standard Version):

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

he leads me beside still waters;

he restores my soul.

He leads me in right paths

for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

I fear no evil;

for you are with me;

your rod and my staff–

they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD

my whole life long.

Revelation 7:9-17 (New Revised Standard Version):

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying,

Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!

And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, singing,

 Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom

and thanksgiving and honor

and power and might

be to our God forever and ever!  Amen.

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying,

Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?

I said to him,

Sir, you are the one that knows.

Then he said to me,

These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

For this reason they are before the throne of God

and worship him day and night within his temple,

and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.

They will hunger no more, and thirst no more;

the sun will not strike them,

nor any scorching heat;

for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd,

and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,

and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

John 10:22-30 (New Revised Standard Version):

At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So 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.

Jesus answered,

I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 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. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.

The Collect:

O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Some Related Posts:

Prayer of Praise and Adoration:

Prayer of Dedication:

Feast of Saints Lydia, Dorcas, and Phoebe, Holy Women (January 29):


Last Sunday in the Revised Common Lectionary, Jesus gave Simon Peter a commission to feed his (our Lord’s) lambs and tend his sheep.  This Sunday we see the empowered Apostle at work, raising from the dead one Tabitha/Dorcas of Joppa, a woman deemed essential in her community.  Restored to life, she could resume her

…good works and acts of charity.

–Acts 9:36b, New Revised Standard Version

The theme of shepherding also carries over from last week.  Tabitha/Dorcas was a shepherd to vulnerable people in Joppa.  Psalm 23, of course, depicts God as a shepherd.  The assigned reading from John 10 follows the Good Shepherd monologue immediately.  In John 10:22-30 Jesus, whose life is in danger, accuses the critics in front of him of not being among his sheep.  (They did want to stone him in John 10:31.)  And martyrs with robes washed white in the blood of the Lamb of God feature prominently in Revelation 7.  Those sheep have found their safe pasture posthumously.

Violence occupies a prominent place in two of the New Testament readings.  Unfortunately, many people over time have acted on their desires to commit violence against those who merely disagree with them.  New England Puritans, in colonial times, executed Quakers, who were, of course, nonviolent.  Anabaptists have faced persecution and/or martyrdom in the Old World since the 1500s.  Persecution has continued in the New World.  I regret that some of this has occurred in the United States, especially during times of war, when the U.S. Government had no patience with conscientious objectors.  Many of my fellow human beings cannot or chose not to abide differences, hence much violence.  Thus others become martyrs, often by the hands of professing Christians.  It was wrong.  It is wrong.

What causes fighting and quarrels among you?  Is not their origin the appetites that war in your bodies?  You want what you cannot have, so you murder; you are envious, and cannot attain your ambition, so you quarrel and fight….

–James 4:1-2a, Revised English Bible

Many of us want conformity, so we despise the nonconformists among us.  We do not understand them, so we hate them. We hate them, so we commit or condone violence against them.  As a lifelong nonconformist (often by default, for peer pressure has less influence on me than on many others), I have suffered emotionally from the taunts of others.  So I identify naturally with the picked-on, the despised, the misunderstood, and the oppressed.  They are of my tribe, whether or not I understand them.  So I attend church happily with heretics, homosexuals, and others who have incurred spiritual wounds in other Christian traditions.

May we–you, O reader, and I–be, by grace, agents of divine healing, not of spiritual harm or even of physical martyrdom.  May we love others, not seek their harm.






Twenty-Second Day of Easter: Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B   15 comments

The Good Shepherd

Loving One Another Can Be Risky

APRIL 25, 2021


Acts 4:5-12 (New Revised Standard Version):

The day after they had arrested Peter and John for teaching about Jesus and the resurrection, the rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired,

By what power or by what name did you do this?

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them,

Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is “the stone that was rejected by you, the builders;/it has become the cornerstone.  There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.

Psalm 23 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1 The LORD is my shepherd;

I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie in green pastures

and leads me beside still waters.

3 He revives my soul

and guides me along right pathways for his Name’s sake.

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I shall fear no evil;

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me;

you have anointed my head with oil,

and my cup is running over.

6 Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

1 John 3:16-24 (New Revised Standard Version):

We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us– and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

John 10:11-18 (New Revised Standard Version):

Jesus said,

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away– and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.

The Collect:

O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Some Related Posts:

Twenty-Second Day of Easter:  Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year A:

Acts 4:

1 John 3:

John 10:

Very Bread, Good Shepherd, Tend Us:

Shepherd of Souls, Refesh and Bless:


We read in 1 John 3 that we ought to “love one another,” as the text tells us, “not in word or speech, but in truth an action.”  In other words, talk is cheap and writing nice sentiments is easy, but loving actively matters.  The Good Shepherd of John 10 lays down his life for the sheep, which is what Jesus did. And, when we turn to the lesson from Acts 4, we need to know that Peter and John are facing charges before the Sanhedrin.  Peter had just healed a crippled beggar at Temple’s Beautiful Gate then delivered a sermon.  Now he faced charges of “proclaiming that in Jesus there is resurrection of the dead.”  Peter, who had recently denied Jesus three times, did not back down this time.  He loved Jesus in truth and action.

Psalm 23 speaks poetically of God setting a table for us in the presence our enemies.  Yes, loving one another will make enemies for us.  What is so allegedly offensive about love?  Despite much rhetoric to the contrary, many of us, in our societies, enjoy privileges derived from unjust inequality.  There will always be some inequality, such as that based on the fact that some people are more talented in certain ways than are others.  This is fine, for absolute equality is not desirable, as constitutes universal mediocrity.  Those who stand out because of their talents have something valuable to teach the rest of us.

But there is artificial inequality, the sort I find offensive.  This results from marginalizing people unjustly, for reasons such as physical disability, sex (usually female), ethnicity, and race.  This treatment of people stifles their opportunities to explore and develop their God-given talents and, in so doing, retards the progress of the society which condones and practices it.

And, when the wages of many are unjustly depressed and the wealth of a relative few is vast and growing, there is a basic instability in an economic system.  We will always have the wealthy and the poor among us for a set of reasons, but a narrower gap between the two economic extremes is healthy for society.  It also comes nearer to reflecting God’s economy, in which there is enough for everybody.

To resist unjust inequality properly is to act out of love for one’s neighbors.  It also threatens the status quo and  is, in some cases, criminal.  Under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, for example, helping an escaped slave gain his or her freedom was a federal felony.  I think also of those courageous Righteous Gentiles (often Christians) in Europe who sheltered Jews at great risk to themselves during the time of the Third Reich.  I hope that, if dire circumstances and the Law of Love ever require, I will have the moral courage to become a criminal in the style of those who sheltered Jews and escaped slaves.

As risky as loving our neighbors can be, we can take comfort that God will set a table for us in the presence of our enemies.  If God is for us, who can be against us and triumph in the end?

May we love one another regardless of the risks.  We are sheep; may we recall what our shepherd has done for us and follow him.




Twenty-Fourth Day of Easter   11 comments

Above:  Icon of Jesus

Grace and Congregational Life

May 2, 2023


Acts 11:19-26 (Revised English Bible):

Meanwhile those who had been scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen made their way to Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, bringing the message to Jews only and to no others.  But there were some natives of Cyprus and Cyrene among them, and these, when they arrived at Antioch, began to speak to Gentiles as well, telling them the good news of the Lord Jesus.  The power of the Lord was with them, and a great many became believers and turned to the Lord.

The news reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem; and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.  When he arrived and saw the divine grace at work, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to hold fast to the Lord with resolute hearts, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.  And large numbers were won over to the Lord.

He went off to Tarsus to look for Saul; and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch.  For a whole year the two of them lived in fellowship with the church there, and gave instruction to large numbers.  It was in Antioch that the disciples first got the name of Christians.

Psalm 87 (Revised English Bible):

The city of the LORD founded stands on the holy hills.

He loves the gates of Zion

more than all the dwellings of Jacob.

Glorious things are spoken about you, city of God.

I shall count Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me;

of Philistines, Tyrians, and Nubians it will be said,

Such as a one born there.

Of Zion it will be said,

This one and that one were born there.

The Most High himself establishes her.

The LORD will record in the register of the peoples:

this one was born there.

Singers and dancers alike say,

The source of all good is in you.

John 10:22-30 (Anchor Bible):

It was winter, and the time came for the feast of Dedication at Jerusalem.  Jesus was walking in the temple precincts, in Solomon’s Portico, when [some of] the Jews gathered around him and demanded,

How long are you going to keep us in suspense?  If you really are the Messiah, tell us so in plain words.

Jesus answered,

I did tell you, but you do not believe.  The works that I am doing in my Father’s name give testimony for me, but you refuse to believe because you are not my sheep.  My sheep hear my voice; and I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.  No one will snatch them from my hand.  My Father, as to what he has given me, is greater than all, and from the Father’s hand no one can snatch away.  The Father and I are one.

The Collect:

Grant, Almighty God, that the commemoration of our Lord’s death and resurrection may continually transform our lives and be manifested in our deeds; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


I grew up in a series of rural United Methodist congregations in southern Georgia.  This formative experience had both positive and negative consequences.  On one hand, I received a helpful theological education almost by osmosis.  On the other hand, I witnessed the dark underbelly of small, rural church life.  No matter how long one belongs to a congregation which consists of interlocking extended families, one is not really a part of said congregation unless one is related closely by genetics or marriage.  And too many times I witnessed one person or a small cadre of people driving away another is a series of pastors as other church members said that they had to live with him, her, or them, so “sorry,” but not really.  I have become somewhat jaded about congregational life, a fact which helps explain why I have remained a lay person.  As churchy as I am, I might seem a natural choice for an order of the clergy (probably the Diaconate), but do not feel attracted or called to it at this time.

So I respond strongly to the description of congregational life in Acts.  And I think about certain troubled people who caused trouble in some of the churches my father pastored and think that they did not act as Jesus’ sheep.  Yet I recall something my father told me:  “Troubled people cause trouble.”  Also, I remember that I need to be slow to judge these matters and people involved in them.  Perhaps these individuals did the best they could, as they understood it.  Maybe they believed they were acting properly.

Nevertheless, my faith survived my youthful church experiences.  That faith is in God, not any human beings or institutions.  And my faith tells me to act as Barnabas, Saul (Paul), and many Christians at Antioch:  engaging in fellowship, rejoicing in the wondrous acts of God, and instructing.  My faith compels me to help create and to nourish positivity and to reject negativity.  It commands me not to give up on organized religion just because I have crossed paths with some severely troubled people with imbalanced egos and destructive (to the congregation) agendas.  They are not my concern, and they and I stand in dire need of grace.


Published originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 6, 2010

Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2023, Episcopal Church Lectionary, May 2

Tagged with , ,

Twenty-Third Day of Easter   11 comments

Gentiles:  The Other Sheep

May 1, 2023


Acts 11:1-18 (Revised English Bible):

News came to the apostles and the members of the church in Judaea that Gentiles too had accepted the word of God; and when Peter came up to Jerusalem those who were of Jewish birth took issue with him.

You have been visiting men who are uncircumcised,

they said,

and sitting at table with them!

Peter began by laying before them the facts as they had happened.

I was at prayer in the city of Joppa,

he said,

and while in a trance I had a vision:  I saw something coming down that looked like a great sheet of sailcloth, slung by the four corners and lowered from heaven till it reached me.  I looked intently to make out what was in it and I saw four-footed beasts, wild animals, reptiles, and birds.  Then I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter, kill and eat.’  But I said, “No, Lord!  Nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’  A voice from heaven came a second time:  ‘It is not for you to call profane what God counts clean.’  This happened three times, and then they were all drawn up again into heaven.  At that very moment three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where I was staying; and the Spirit told me to go with them.  My six companions here came with me and we went into the man’s house.  He told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house who said, ‘Sent to Joppa for Simon Peter.  He will speak words that will bring salvation to you and all your household.’ Hardly had I begun speaking, when the Holy Spirit came upon them, just as upon us at the beginning, and I recalled what the Lord had said:  ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’  God gave them no less a gift than he gave us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  How could I stand in God’s way?’

When they heard this their doubts were silenced, and they gave praise to God.

This means,

they said,

that God has granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles also.

Psalm 96 (Revised English Bible):

Sing a new song to the LORD.

Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Sing to the LORD and bless his name;

day  by day proclaim his victory.

Declare his glory among the nations,

his marvellous deeds to every people.

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;

he is more to be feared than all gods.

For the gods of the nations are idols every one;

but the LORD made the heavens.

Majesty and splendour attend him,

might and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the LORD, you families of nations,

ascribe to the LORD glory and might;

ascribe to the LORD the glory due to his name.

Bring an offering and enter his courts;

in holy attire worship the LORD;

tremble before him, all the earth.

Declare among the nations,

The LORD is King;

the world is established immovably;

he will judge the peoples with equity.

Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad,

let the sea resound and everything in it,

let the fields exult and all that is in them;

let all the trees of the forest shout for joy

before the LORD when he comes,

when he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world with justice

and peoples by his faithfulness.

John 10:1-18 (Anchor Bible):

(Note:  The Episcopal Lesser Feasts and Fasts lists 10:1-10 as the Gospel reading for Year C and 10:11-18 as the Gospel reading for Years A and B.  I have merged these.)

[Jesus said,]

Truly I assure you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a bandit.  The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep; for him the keeper opens the gate.  And the sheep hear his voice and he calls by name those that belong to him and leads them out.  When he has brought out [all] his own, he walks in front of them; and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice.  But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.

Although Jesus drew this picture for them, they did not understand what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said [to them again],

Truly I assure you, I am the sheepgate.  All who came [before me] are thieves and bandits, but the sheep did not heed them.  I am the gate.  Whoever enters me will be saved; and he will go in and out and find pasture.  A thief comes only to steal, slaughter, and destroy.  I came that they may have life and to have it to the full.

I am the model shepherd: the model shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, catches sight of the wolf coming, and runs away, leaving the sheep to be snatched and scattered by the wolf.  And this is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.

I am the model shepherd: I know my sheep and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.  And for these sheep I lay down my life.  I have other sheep, too, that do not belong to this fold.  These also must I lead, and they will listen to my voice.  Then there will be one sheep herd, one shepherd.  This is why the Father loves me: because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.  No one has taken it away from me; rather, I lay it down of my own accord.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to lay it down again.  This command I received from my Father.

The Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given your Church the great joy of the resurrection of Jesus Christ:  Give us also the greater joy of the kingdom of your elect, when the flock of your Son will share in the final victory of its Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.


The other sheep who did not yet belong the fold in Jesus’ analogy were Gentiles.  The Apostle Peter extended his mission to include Gentiles, surprising himself and scandalizing others.  This was a common reaction at the time.  Indeed, if one reads the three verses past John 10:18, one notices that some Jews accused our Lord of being demon-possessed and out of his mind, although others rejected this interpretation.

Scandalous grace extends to all who will respond favorably, exposing as useless human attempts to make people seem worthy.  Peter realized this after his vision.  As he said, he could not stand in God’s way.  So I challenge everyone (beginning with myself) to ask oneself the following questions:  Am I standing in God’s way?  If so, in what way?  Then I challenge everyone (beginning with myself) to get out of the way and to stay there.


Published originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 6, 2010

Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2023, Episcopal Church Lectionary, May 1

Tagged with , ,

Thirty-Third Day of Lent   12 comments



Friday, March 31, 2023

Collect and lections from the Episcopal Lesser Feasts and Fasts Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints


Follow the assigned readings with me this Lent….

Kenneth Randolph Taylor


Jeremiah 20:7-13 (Revised English Bible):

You have duped me, LORD,

and I have been your dupe;

you have outwitted me and prevailed.

All the day long I have been made a laughing-stock;

everyone ridicules me.

Whenever I speak I must needs cry out,





I am reproached and derided all the time

for uttering the word of the LORD.

Whenever I said,

I shall not call it to mind

or speak in his name again,

then his word became imprisoned within me

like a fire burning in my heart.

I was weary with holding it under,

and could endure no more.

For I heard many whispering,

Terror let loose!

Denounce him! Let us denounce him.

All my friends were on watch for a false step,


Perhaps he may be tricked;

then we can catch him

and have our revenge on him.

But the LORD is on my side,

a powerful champion;

therefore my persecutors will stumble and fall powerless.

Their abasement will be bitter when they fall,

and their dishonour will long be remembered.

But, LORD of Hosts, you test the righteous

and search the depths of the heart.

To you I have committed my cause;

let me see your vengeance on them.

Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD;

for he rescues the poor

from those who would do them wrong.

Psalm 18:1-6 (Revised English Bible):

I love you, LORD, my strength.

the LORD is my lofty crag, my fortress, my champion,

my God, my rock in whom I find shelter,

my shield and sure defender, my strong tower.

I shall call to the LORD to whom all praise is due;

then shall I be made safe from my enemies.

The bonds of death encompassed me

and destructive torrents overtook me,

the bonds of Sheol tightened about me,

the snares of death were set to catch me.

When in anguish of heart I cried to the LORD

and called for help to my God,

he heard me from his temple,

and my cry reached his ears.

John 10:31-42 (Revised English Bible):

Once again [some of] the Jews picked up stones to stone him [Jesus].  At this Jesus said to them,

By the Father’s power I have done many good deeds before your eyes; for which of these are you stoning me?

The Jews replied,

We are not stoning you for any good deed, but for blasphemy: you, a man, are claiming to be God.

Jesus answered,

Is it not written in your law, “I said: You are gods”?  Is it those to whom God’s word came who are called gods–and scripture cannot be set aside.  Then why do you charge me with blasphemy for saying, “I am God’s son,” I whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world.?  If my deeds are not the deeds of my Father, do not believe me.  But if they are, then even if you do not believe me, believe the deeds, so that you may recognize and know that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.

This provoked them to make another attempt to seize him, but he escaped from their clutches.

Jesus withdrew again across the Jordan, to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and stayed there while crowds came to him.

John gave us no miraculous sign,

they said,

but all that he told us about this man was true.

And many came to believe in him there.

The Collect:

O Lord, you relieve our necessity out of the abundance of your great riches: Grant that we may accept with joy the salvation you bestow, and manifest it to all the world by the quality of our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.


One New Testament ethic teaches that one knows a tree by its fruit and the quality thereof.  The same principle applies to human beings, with attitudes and deeds as the produce.

In this day’s readings obedience to God (certainly good fruit) leads to danger from fellow human beings.   Sometimes this peril is life-threatening, leading the psalmist to refer to Sheol. [Note: The psalmist’s reference to Sheol is to a pre-Heaven and Hell concept of the afterlife.  In widely accepted ancient Near Eastern cosmology the world was flat, with a subterranean underworld–Sheol, or “the Pit,” to the Hebrews–and water below the earth and above the dome of the sky.  The St. Joseph Edition of the New American Bible contains an illustration of this on the page opposite Genesis 1.] The experiences of Jeremiah, the psalmist, and Jesus contradict prosperity theology, which teaches that faithfulness leads to happiness and prosperity.  (In the North American context witness many television evangelists, namely Robert Tilton and the Reverend Ike.)

Out of these readings I derive three main points.

First, may each of us bear good fruit indicative of God.  This is possible by grace.

Second, may we who are blessed with religious liberty support as best we can (at least with prayer) our fellow Christians who face persecution.  Many of them live in predominantly Islamic cultures in Asia, where there was no Enlightenment.  Yet history and current events reveal the identities of other persecutors.  Protestants have persecuted each other and Roman Catholics.  Roman Catholics have persecuted Protestants and Eastern Orthodox.  Eastern Orthodox have persecuted Roman Catholics and Protestants.  And Atheistic regimes  have persecuted Christians of all stripes, to the present day.

Third, let us remember Jesus’ command to pray for persecutors and enemies, too.  He led by example.


Written on March 14, 2010