Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter
John 10:1-10; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Acts 2:42-47
Is it possible for a person to go to heaven without faith in Jesus Christ? A lecture hall packed with Lutheran pastors and theologians was stunned into silence when a highly regarded sociologist named Robert Putnam made the following announcement: According to a 2006 survey by FaithMatters, eighty-six percent (86%) of LCMS Lutherans answered “yes” to that question. Lord, forgive us. Either we are no longer listening to your Word, or we’re simply choosing not to believe it.
Sunday’s readings all testify that Jesus Christ is the one and only Savior of the human race, and that only by trusting in his saving work on our behalf can we be rescued from God’s final judgment.
In our Gospel lesson, Jesus calls himself the true shepherd of God’s sheep over against all pretenders who only come to steal and deceive. Jesus is the only door by which all are invited to enter eternal life (Jn 10).
In the Epistle lesson, Peter describes Jesus as the cornerstone of God’s house, upon which every other stone rests. His followers consider it an honor to be called by his name, while those who reject him are offended at the idea that he should be the world’s one and only Savior (1Pet 2).
In the First lesson, Luke describes how the Holy Spirit took a ragtag bunch of misguided fools and forged them into a new and flourishing community of believers – drawn together under the banner of Christ crucified and risen. By the grace and power of God, this circle of salvation continues to widen and include more and more new believers to this day (Acts 2).