Sunday, May 8, 2022

The Sunday Bible Readings and Prayers for Sunday, May 8, 2022 — Fourth Sunday of Easter

 

The Sunday Bible Readings and Prayers
Sunday, May 8, 2022
Third Sunday of Easter
Acts 9:36-43; Psalm 23; Revelation7:9-17; John 10:22-30
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible


Life isn’t always easy. Sometimes, there is chaos, pain and trouble. Even in the most difficult times, we have a God who will lead us beside still waters. God never promises our lives will be easy, but He does promise to be be our very present help and our comfort in times of need.

Introduction & Theme

The resurrected Christ is our one true shepherd—the good shepherd spoken of by the psalmist, who leads God’s flock through fear and trials to rest beside still waters. Christ is the shepherd spoken of in John’s Gospel and in the book of Revelation—the one who leads God’s flock to springs of eternal life, and who wipes away every tear. Christ is our shepherd, and when we hear and follow the call of our shepherd, we belong to God’s flock. No one can snatch us from God’s hand.

Opening Prayer
(Acts 9, Revelation 7)

Loving Shepherd, in the midst of sorrow and loss, you wipe away every tear from our eyes. May the wonders of your love reach down to us this day. As Peter raised Tabitha from the dead, raise us also to new life. Help us cling no longer to the darkness threatening to overcome our world, that we may reside in the glory of the Lamb. Wake us from the slumber that numbs our spirit, even as you nourish us in the strength of your Spirit. May the world see the shepherd living in us, and may we come to dwell in your pastures, which remain ever green. Amen.

Call to Confession
(Revelation 7:10)

The voices of your faithful ones echo in our ears: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” We long to join their words of praise, but feel unworthy. We know that you are our shepherd, watching over us every minute of our lives. We yearn to join the chorus of those worshipping the Lamb, but we feel unsure and insecure. Open us to the one who wipes away every tear, that we may truly rest in green pastures and drink from still waters. For you alone restore our souls. You alone meet us in our time of need. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
(John 10:27-28)

Trust the words of our shepherd: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” Rest secure that our shepherd loves us, and leads us into life.

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
Colossians 4:5-6

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Unbelievers are always watching us, whether we realize it or not, and we do not know when the Lord will present an opportunity for us to influence them. They may ask us about heaven, eternal life, or God, and we must always be ready to tell them the reason for our hope.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Acts of the Apostles
Acts 9:36-43
Peter Raises Tabitha from the Dead


9:36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”

39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.

Commentary
Dorcas raised to life.

Many are full of good words, who are empty and barren in good works; but Tabitha was a great doer, no great talker. Christians who have not property to give in charity, may yet be able to do acts of charity, working with their hands, or walking with their feet, for the good of others. Those are certainly best praised whose own works praise them, whether the words of others do so or not. But such are ungrateful indeed, who have kindness shown them, and will not acknowledge it, by showing the kindness that is done them. While we live upon the fullness of Christ for our whole salvation, we should desire to be full of good works, for the honor of his name, and for the benefit of his saints. Such characters as Dorcas are useful where they dwell, as showing the excellency of the word of truth by their lives. How mean then the cares of the numerous females who seek no distinction but outward decoration, and who waste their lives in the trifling pursuits of dress and vanity! Power went along with the word, and Dorcas came to life. Thus in the raising of dead souls to spiritual life, the first sign of life is the opening of the eyes of the mind. Here we see that the Lord can make up every loss; that he overrules every event for the good of those who trust in him, and for the glory of his name.


From the Psalter
Psalm 23 (KJV)
God our Shepherd


1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Commentary
Confidence in God's grace and care.

"The Lord is my shepherd." In these words, the believer is taught to express his satisfaction in the care of the great Pastor of the universe, the Redeemer and Preserver of men. With joy he reflects that he has a shepherd, and that shepherd is Jehovah. A flock of sheep, gentle and harmless, feeding in verdant pastures, under the care of a skillful, watchful, and tender shepherd, forms an emblem of believers brought back to the Shepherd of their souls. The greatest abundance is but a dry pasture to a wicked man, who relishes in it only what pleases the senses; but to a godly man, who by faith tastes the goodness of God in all his enjoyments, though he has but little of the world, it is a green pasture. The Lord gives quiet and contentment in the mind, whatever the lot is. Are we blessed with the green pastures of the ordinances, let us not think it enough to pass through them, but let us abide in them. The consolations of the Holy Spirit are the still waters by which the saints are led; the streams which flow from the Fountain of living waters. Those only are led by the still waters of comfort, who walk in the paths of righteousness. The way of duty is the truly pleasant way. The work of righteousness in peace. In these paths we cannot walk, unless. God lead us into them, and lead us on in them. Discontent and distrust proceed from unbelief; an unsteady walk is the consequence: let us then simply trust our Shepherd's care, and hearken to his voice. The valley of the shadow of death may denote the most severe and terrible affliction, or dark dispensation of providence, that the psalmist ever could come under. Between the part of the flock on earth and that which is gone to heaven, death lies like a dark valley that must be passed in going from one to the other. But even in this there are words which lessen the terror. It is but the shadow of death: the shadow of a serpent will not sting, nor the shadow of a sword kill. It is a valley, deep indeed, and dark, and miry; but valleys are often fruitful, and so is death itself fruitful of comforts to God's people. It is a walk through it: they shall not be lost in this valley, but get safe to the mountain on the other side. Death is a king of terrors, but not to the sheep of Christ. When they come to die, God will rebuke the enemy; he will guide them with his rod, and sustain them with his staff. There is enough in the gospel to comfort the saints when dying, and underneath them are the everlasting arms. The Lord's people feast at his table, upon the provisions of his love. Satan and wicked men are not able to destroy their comforts, while they are anointed with the Holy Spirit, and drink of the cup of salvation which is ever full. Past experience teaches believers to trust that the goodness and mercy of God will follow them all the days of their lives, and it is their desire and determination, to seek their happiness in the service of God here, and they hope to enjoy his love for ever in heaven. While here, the Lord can make any situation pleasant, by the anointing of his Spirit and the joys of his salvation. But those that would be satisfied with the blessings of his house, must keep close to the duties of it.


From the Apocalypse of John
Revelation 7:9-17
A Multitude Sings Before the Lamb


7:9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

   “Salvation belongs to our God,
   who sits on the throne,
   and to the Lamb.”

11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:

   “Amen!
   Praise and glory
   and wisdom and thanks and honor
   and power and strength
   be to our God for ever and ever.
   Amen!”

13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”

14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”

And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore,

   “they are before the throne of God
      and serve him day and night in his temple;
   and he who sits on the throne
      will shelter them with his presence.
16 ‘Never again will they hunger;
      never again will they thirst.
   The sun will not beat down on them,’
      nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
      will be their shepherd;
   ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
      ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”


Commentary
A song of praise (vv. 9-12); The blessedness and glory of those that suffered martyrdom for Christ (vv. 13-17).

Verses 9-12: The first fruits of Christ having led the way, the Gentiles converted later follow, and ascribe their salvation to God and the Redeemer, with triumph. In acts of religious worship we come nigh to God, and must come by Christ; the throne of God could not be approached by sinners, were it not for a Mediator. They were clothed with the robes of justification, holiness, and victory; and they had palms in their hands, as conquerors used to appear in their triumphs. Such a glorious appearance will the faithful servants of God make at last, when they have fought the good fight of faith, and finished their course. With a loud voice they gave to God and the Lamb the praise of the great salvation. Those who enjoy eternal happiness must and will bless both the Father and the Son; they will do it publicly, and with fervor. We see what is the work of heaven, and we ought to begin it now, to have our hearts much in it, and to long for that world where our praises, as well as our happiness, will be made perfect.

Verses 13-17: Faithful Christians deserve our notice and respect; we should mark the upright. Those who would gain knowledge, must not be ashamed to seek instruction from any who can give it. The way to heaven is through many tribulations; but tribulation, how great soever, shall not separate us from the love of God. Tribulation makes heaven more welcome and more glorious. It is not the blood of the martyrs, but the blood of the Lamb, that can wash away sin, and make the soul pure and clean in the sight of God; other blood stains, this is the only blood that makes the robes of the saints white and clean. They are happy in their employment; heaven is a state of service, though not of suffering; it is a state of rest, but not of sloth; it isa praising, delightful rest. They have had sorrows, and shed many tears on account of sin and affliction; but God himself, with his own gracious hand, will wipe those tears away. He deals with them as a tender father. This should support the Christian under all his troubles. As all the redeemed owe their happiness wholly to sovereign mercy; so the work and worship of God their Savior is their element; his presence and favor complete their happiness, nor can they conceive of any other joy. To Him may all his people come; from him they receive every needed grace; and to him let them offer all praise and glory.


Today’s Gospel Reading
John 10:22-30
Jesus Promises Life to His Sheep


10:22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Commentary
Jesus' discourse at the feast of dedication.

All who have any thing to say to Christ, may find him in the temple. Christ would make us to believe; we make ourselves doubt. The Jews understood his meaning, but could not form his words into a full charge against him. He described the gracious disposition and happy state of his sheep; they heard and believed his word, followed him as his faithful disciples, and none of them should perish; for the Son and the Father were one. Thus he was able to defend his sheep against all their enemies, which proves that he claimed Divine power and perfection equally with the Father.


Here end the Readings

The Nicene Creed

  • We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
  • And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end.
  • And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer


Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Holy Communion


A nondenominational serving of bread and wine
Though no video can truly replace the experience of celebrating together in our places of worship, we know that where two or more are gathered, the Lord is present. This table is open to all who recognize Jesus Christ as healer and redeemer. This table is open to all who work to bring God’s Kingdom here on earth. No one is turned away because of life circumstances. No one is barred from this table. No one seeking God’s abundant grace and mercy is turned aside. We see before us the abundance that a life of faith offers as we respond to God’s everlasting mercy in prayer and deed.

Benediction
(Ps 23, Rev 7, John 10)

Follow the voice of Jesus wherever he leads. Trust that he will nourish and protect you, and fill you with the goodness of God’s love. In the name of the one who calls and guides us, let us go out to love and serve the world. Amen.


What does the Bible say about following Jesus? It tells us to follow Him means to serve him. It tells us to share Him with those around us. It tells us we never walk in darkness and never walk alone. It tells us to take up our cross and walk the path He leads us on. Do you follow?



Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2022, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2021 was Year B. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Morning Prayer for Sunday, May 8, 2022

 

The Morning Prayer
Sunday, May 8, 2022


God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble...The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Psalm 46:1, 7, RSV


Lord, Almighty God of heaven and earth, grant that we may come to you as your children. For you have chosen us through the gospel, and Jesus Christ has obtained mercy for us so that in you we have a refuge in disturbed and evil times. We turn to your Word, Lord God, rejoicing that again and again the whole of Christendom is led back to your Word. Strengthen all those who serve your Word, who look to you and to the grace of Jesus Christ. Grant that everywhere we may have hope and joy in the redemption you will bring in every situation, also in our ordinary practical life. Grant that through this redemption the earth may proclaim your praise and honor your name, your kingdom may come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Sunday, May 8, 2022

 

Verse of the Day
Sunday, May 8, 2022


Colossians 4:5-6
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Unbelievers are always watching us, whether we realize it or not, and we do not know when the Lord will present an opportunity for us to influence them. They may ask us about heaven, eternal life, or God, and we must always be ready to tell them the reason for our hope.

Read the full chapter



Scripture from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.