2018-19 RCL-C Fourth Sunday of Easter
Additional Resources for Proclamation & Preaching
Easter 04: May 12, 2019 • Gospel Text: John 10:22-30
Instruct The Ignorant
Proclamation for Today
by Rev. Dr. Clint Schnekloth
A sheep who knows the shepherd’s voice is good at hermeneutics. So much of the world has heard about Jesus Christ, but so much of the world also misinterprets Jesus and his teachings. All the time. And perhaps a large cross-section of those who are trying to listen to Jesus don’t even realize they are interpreting anything at all. In other words, one of the barriers to faith is precisely the inability to hear the plain teaching of Jesus because sublimated interpreting is happening all of the time.
Such interpreting happens for myriad reasons, including our regular tendency towards eisegesis. We want to interpret the teachings of Jesus so they align with what we already think and feel.
It also happens because we are sheep. We, or at least most of us, follow blindly whatever the culture tells us, or even what the pastor preaches about on Sunday, or a friend posts about on Facebook on Monday. In other words, there are many voices, and we actually confuse the voice of Jesus with many other voices, and we do this all the time, as we live in a cacophony of competing voices.
This brings us back to hermeneutics. John Caputo has written a wonderful little book on the subject, which I highly recommend (Hermeneutics: Facts and Interpretation in the Age of Information). In the opening primer on hermeneutics in the book, he writes, “There are no uninterpreted facts of the matter. Every matter of fact is a matter of the interpretation that picks out the facts. Hermeneutics is the theory that the distinction between facts and interpretation bears closer scrutiny.”
So take this brief dialogue in the gospel of John as an instance. Jesus believes he has told the Jews he was the Messiah, but their question indicates they didn’t interpret his statement as such. Jesus then makes the rather remarkable claim that they didn’t understand his statement of “the facts” because they aren’t his sheep, and so not able to “listen to his voice.” This kind of divide happens all the time in our world. Just ask a staunch Republican and a staunch Democrat to tell you their perception of a specific set of events, and notice how very differently each interprets the same set of “facts.”
As Caputo teaches, there are no uninterpreted facts of the matter. As he continues in his primer, “We never reach an understanding of something that is not an interpretation. We can never peal away the layers to get to some pure, uninterpreted fact of the matter. No matter how loudly you proclaim you are just sticking to the facts, you are only raising the volume of your own interpretation. In hermeneutics I like to say, interpretation goes all the way down.”
Jesus appears to agree. So much depends upon who is doing the interpreting in deciding what is heard. Jesus’ own contribution to hermeneutics in this particular teaching is central: he is focused on the relationship between the interpreter and the one being interpreted. Trust and knowing in that relationship makes so much different in what is heard. And the way we build trust, the way we build relationship, is to a considerable degree related to instruction and removing ignorance. The more we know and are known by each other, the better the interpretation.
The following links and resources are not produced or maintained by RCL Worship Resources or Clergy Stuff. However, at the time of this posting, the links were active and considered to be good source material for proclamation for the text for this week. Please scroll down or click on the quick jump menu you find below. Click here for more free RCL worship resources & planning materials.
Historical Exegetical Resources
From Augustine's Tractates on John: Tractate 48: (10:22-42).
From the Geneva Notes
The Center for Excellence in Preaching, resources from Calvin Theological Seminary: Comments & Observations, Textual Points, Illustration Ideas, 2016.
"Resurrection is Protection," Karoline Lewis, Dear Working Preacher, 2016.
Commentary, John 10:22-30, Phil Hamner, A Plain Account, 2016
"The Politics of Hearing and Response," Political Theology Today, 2016.
"A Matter of Belonging," Glenn Monson, Law & Gospel Everywhere, 2016.
"Will You Enter In?" Andrew Prior, 2016.
"What Do You Think the Messiah Should Be Doing?" Nancy Rockwell, The Bite in the Apple, 2016.
Pulpit Fiction, podcast. Reflections of lectionary text, pop culture, current events, etc. Robb Mc Coy and Eric Fistler, 2016.
"Listening for God," Alan Brehm, The Waking Dreamer, 2016.
Commentary, John 10:22-30 (Easter 4C), Karyn Wiseman, Preaching This Week, WorkingPreacher.org, 2013.
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Leading Jesus’ Way is how you become the leader God created you to be. Read this book to learn an actionable model of servant leadership that will positively impact both your personal and professional life. Mark Deterding learned how to lead Jesus’ way from role models, from scripture, and from personal experience.
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Dramatic Reading of the Text
Readers: Narrator, Jews, Jesus
Narrator: At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him,
Jews: “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
Narrator: Jesus answered,
Jesus: “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”