3900 Winnetka Avenue N., New Hope, MN 55427

April 25, 2021 Fourth Sunday of Easter “Mercy Follows”

FIRST READING              Acts 4:5-12

Peter and John had been arrested the previous day because they were proclaiming the news of the resurrection to the people. In today’s reading, Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit so that he can proclaim salvation in Jesus’ name to the religious authorities.

5The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisoners Peter and John stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10let 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. 11This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ 12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” 

PSALM                       Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters; 3 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 your 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.

SECOND READING              1 John 3:16-24

Jesus’ death on our behalf is the clearest demonstration of divine love. This is the very love we share with others, not just through our words but especially through our deeds. In sharing such love we fulfill God’s commandments.

16We know love by this, that Jesus Christ laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17How 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?

18Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before God 20whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and God knows everything. 21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22and we receive from God whatever we ask, because we obey the commandments and do what pleases God.

23And this is God’s commandment, that we should believe in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and love one another, just as Jesus has commanded us. 24All who obey God’s commandments abide in God, and God abides in them. And by this we know that God abides in us, by the Spirit that God has given us.

GOSPEL READING             John 10:11-18

[Jesus said:] 11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The 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. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I 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. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No 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.”