Who do we call on, and how do we learn who not to call on? Only three citations, but some big ideas for this Good Shepherd Sunday.
"This Jesus is
‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders;
it has become the cornerstone.’
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”
-- Acts 4:11-12
Verses 11 thru 12 are quoted in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 4: Justification (AP 4.98) where Melanchthon unpacks these verses to mean that "To call upon the name of Christ is to trust in the name of Christ as the cause or the payment on account of which we are saved." This trust is the justifying faith given by the Holy Spirit.
Verse 12 is quoted in Smalcald Articles, Part 2, First Article (SA 2.1.5) as Luther quickly reminds us that the main point of the Reformation was centering the saving faith in Jesus and nowhere else. Anyone who would have us trust and call on any other name for salvation is to be rejected.
"I 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."
-- John 10:16
Part of verse 16 is alluded to in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Introduction (SD Intro.14) as part of the explanation for including the Antitheses. Their rational was from Luther, that "true shepherds" both "pasture or feed the sheep and ward off the wolves, so that [the sheep] may flee from other voices." The Antitheses help us learn from what to flee.
Part of faith formation is learning to trust Jesus and his promises. This formation is both experiential and didactic as we learn when and how to call on Jesus' name while also learning how to discern which voices are from God and which are thieves or hired hands leading us astray or abandoning us and which are those voices that come from God.
- How do we help people hear God's voice among all the voices they hear?
- How do we model calling on Jesus' name for our salvation?