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The Third Sunday of Eastertide

Misericordias Domini

O God, through the humiliation of Your Son You raised up the fallen world. Grant to Your faithful people, rescued from the peril of everlasting death, perpetual gladness and eternal joys; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.



An Overview

The Steadfast Love of the Lord fills the Earth. This is most certainly true! Sometimes we struggle to differentiate between the mercy and love of God and the salvation that He offers. The mercy of God, the love of God, the steadfast kindness of the Lord, all of this fills the earth and we see it in the fact that evil people still recieve their daily bread and unbelievers are clothed, fed, and given a roof over their heads.

We all live in the "pasture" of God's creation, and though we are foolish sheep, we must learn to hear the voice of the good shepherd. If we cannot hear His voice, then we can see that other shepherds are mere hirelings who run away, but the Good Shepherd is the one who can be seen laying His life down for His sheep.

In a beautiful mystery, He lays down His life even for those who are outside His flock, praying that by His word, they will join the one shepherd under the one flock


Artwork: The Good Shepherd; verso: Cloud Studies, Friedrich Olivier. German, late 18th century. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


The Old Testament

Ezekiel 34:11-16

  • The Lord GOD imagines Himself here as a shepherd who seeks out a scattered flock.

  • The Lordly shepherd rescues (11), gathers (13), and feeds (13-14) these sheep.

  • The ESV is hard on the here in verse 16. The Lordly Shepherd does not feed His people "injustice," but rather in justice. On Sundays, you'll hear me (Pastor B) read this as "I will feed them with justice."

Translation Notes

  • v. 13: Hebrew "I will bring them out from the people," Greek: "I will bring them out from the gentiles."

  • v. 16: Hebrew "...the fat and the strong I will destroy." Greek, Latin, Syriac: "...the strong I will watch over."

  • v. 17: Hebrew mishphat can mean justice or judgment.

The Epistle

1 Peter 2:21-25

  • Peter makes it clear that "following Jesus" includes suffering and even death.

  • Following Jesus includes not reviling in return, not threatening, and continual trust in the Father.

  • Peter mimics St. Paul's language (Romans 6) of dying and rising with Christ in verse 24: we must die to sin and live to righteousness.

  • This reading closes with shepherding language, but in the reverse of Ezekiel and John - now it is the sheep who have returned to their Shepherd.

Translation Notes

  • v. 21: "example" Greek: ὑπογραμμόν (hoop-og-ram-MON) something that has been written or spoken ahead of time. I.e., the example is not found in observing, but in hearing (or reading) and then learning

  • v. 24: "straying" this isn't theologically significant, but the root of the Greek word here is πλανάω (plan-AH-oh) where we get words like "planets." The ancients saw that some stars were "wanderers" and thus they were called "planets."

  • v. 25 "Shepherd and Overseer," could also be translated "Pastor and Bishop." I think that Peter is using double entendre here. Jesus is Shepherd and Pastor and Bishop.

The Holy Gospel

John 10:11-16

  • Another example of the I AM statements of Jesus. Here, Jesus is not merely identifying Himself as a shepherd, but He is using the same language as Ezekiel 34 in which the Great I AM imagines Himself as a shepherd. Jesus is the same Lord GOD speaking in Ezekiel 34.

  • Jesus distinguishes this good shepherd from hired hands who run away when danger comes. While certainly reminiscent of the "false shepherds" and "wolves in sheep's clothing" spoken of in Matthew 7, but this is its own sermon from Jesus.

  • The relationship between the Good Shepherd and the flock is paralleled to the relationship between the Father and the Son.

  • The Good Shepherd is willing to sacrifice His own life for the sake of the sheep He guards.

  • The reading this Sunday ends with a reminder that it is not only the sheep of Israel that will be in the Lord's flock, but that there are also sheep "not of this fold" who will be brought into the one flock. This is perfectly and beautifully in line with Ezekiel 34.

Translation Notes

  • n/a

Poetry Used in the Liturgy on Good Shepherd Sunday

  • Psalm 33- The name of this Sunday is derived from Psalm 33. חֶ֥סֶד (Chesed) is a curious word in Hebrew. It is often translated as "Steadfast Love" or "Loving Kindness." It not only means "love" but specifically "love shown to the loveless" or "mercy shown to the needy." Chesed is almost always used when the stronger person in a relationship is acting toward the weaker. This type of Love from the Lord toward the people of God is certainly an embodiment and a sermon on this Chesed.

  • Psalm 23- A beloved Psalm by so many, this Psalm pictures the LORD as a Shepherd who guides His people. As you pray this familiar Psalm, focus on the Sacramental Language within. How does Psalm 23 anticipate the Lord feeding us in His supper? Bathing us in Baptism? Anointing us with His oil? Forgiving our sins? Bringing us to eternal life?

Artwork: The Parable of the Good Shepherd, Philips Galle. Netherlandish, 1565. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Further Reading & Listening

Artwork: The Good Shepherd (The Parables of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ). Engraved and printed by Dalziel Brothers in the style of Sir John Everett Millais. British, 1864. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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