A Note from Pastor

Our Living Hope - Following the Shepherd


For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21 ESV) He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! Our Good Shepherd Jesus lives so that we would follow in His steps. During this Easter season here at International Lutheran Church we are focused on “Our Living Hope.” Today, Peter reminds us of the example which our Good Shepherd has left for us to walk in so that we would live in Him.

The Fourth Sunday in Easter is Good Shepherd Sunday. Every year at this time we read or sing the 23rd Psalm – some of the most beloved words of Scripture repeated at almost every Christian funeral. We also hear in John 10 the words of Jesus that He is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep. In the Epistle reading from Chapter 2 of 1 Peter, Peter concludes with this important reminder for us to return and follow the “Shepherd and Overseer of our souls.” The example that Peter reflects on, though, is maybe not what we would expect – namely how Jesus suffered in silence.

These words come after a very important section on our new identity in Jesus through Baptism into His Name. We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, called to love not only the brothers, but even those in authority over us. Peter tells us that in our following our Savior and living in the new identity we have in Him we should not be discouraged by suffering, especially the suffering that comes as part of our service to God and neighbor. Peter simply reminds us that Jesus gave us this example – a literal “over-writing” to walk in – namely that just as He suffered for doing what was right, so we will also suffer. We are aliens, exiles and sojourners in this place. Our words and actions may even be seen as evil, just as Jesus’ words and actions were twisted and seen as evil. This does not mean that we should look for ways to provoke those in authority, but rather when we suffer, we do not need to turn away, but rather return to Him who suffered for us.

Consider the source of this pastoral admonition – this gentle guidance. In a moment of daring devotion and nerves of steel, Peter entered the very courtyard where his Lord was being tried. While his Savior was silent in the face of false testimony, Peter’s mouth repeated again, again and again for all to hear, “I don’t know the man!” Peter failed and fell just as Jesus had warned Peter how he would deny his Lord not once or twice but three times. How is it that one can return? How is it that we the unjust can be justified? How is it that we the unrighteous can be made right again? How is it that shifting sand can become solid ground? Peter knew. Peter saw. Peter heard His Lord ask him three time by the shore, “Peter, do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15-19) In Jesus, Peter became a living example of God’s grace and love. Jesus suffered to bring us back to Himself. His gracious act not only changed Peter, but even you and me. “He himself bore our sins upon the tree … by His wounds, you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24) Just as Peter was forgiven, so too God forgives you and me.

Our Living Shepherd brings to us a Living Hope. Our Loving Shepherd restores our souls. His Resurrection brings us back to Himself and makes us His living examples of hope today even as He works in you and me through suffering to the glory and praise of His Name. He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

Pastor Carl

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