Bible Stories for Adults

Jesus, Our Good Shepherd

John 10:1-30

Welcome and Announcements
    Next Week - Jesus Visits Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42)
    Bible Words to Remember:
      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 can snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-28

Opening Prayer

Farming in Palestine
    The land east of the Jordan River was cattle country (like US Southwest) - little land was farmed
      Cattle and other livestock were raised for meat, milk and hides
    The land west of the Jordan River was too valuable for farming to allow cattle pastures
      Livestock was limited to herds of sheep and goats grazing in uncleared wilderness
      Sheep and goats fit well with steep slopes & crags and hard to reach ravines
      Raised for wool, milk and offspring, typically not slaughtered for meat
      A significant part of the population kept such flocks, A dozen up to a hundred

The Shepherd's Baggage
    Shepherds had to travel light to walk the long distances in difficult places
    Scrip - A bag or purse of animal skin holding his lunch (bread, dried fruit, olives, cheese)
    Water Jug - Either a pottery flask or hollow gourd hung from his sash
    Horn of Oil - Carried on sash to mend wounds on injured sheep
    Sling - Weapon of both offense and defense, normally tied to belt
      Judges 20:16
      Shepherds would sling a stone just in front of the nose of a sheep beginning to stray
    Rod - A 24-30 inch wooden club with a lump of wood at one end, often studded with nails
      Normally hung on sash by a leather cord on the other end
      Used to protect shepherd and sheep from robbers and wild animals
    Staff - A straight sapling 6-7 feet long (shepherd's crook used in Europe, not Palestine)
      Used to guide sheep, knock leaves from trees for sheep to eat, help in climbing
    Pipe - A simple musical instrument played to pass time and keep sheep calm
    Cloak - Heavy coat of sheepskin or homespun wool, used as a cover at night
      Worn draped over the shoulders and held in by a sash at the waist
      A sick or injured lamb would fit in the fold above the sash

The Shepherd Knows His Sheep and the Sheep Know Him
    Since sheep usually weren't raised for meat, they lived with families and shepherds for years
    Shepherds gave descriptive names to their sheep like "Brown-leg", "White-nose", "Long-ears" ...
      Shepherds intimately knew each sheep, its individual traits and its special needs
    Sheep recognized the shepherd's voice, shepherds could often call and sheep would come
      If a stranger calls, sheep lift their heads in alarm and, if repeated, run away

A Shepherd's Job is Never Done
    During the day a shepherd would search for the best pasture, typically hidden in mountains
      He would look for still waters - sheep wouldn't drink from flowing streams
      He would find shade from trees or rock for the sheep to rest in the shadows
    Shepherd would go before his sheep finding the best pathways
      A shepherd led his sheep, he didn't drive them - the sheep would follow
    With little grass, sheep were bound to wander
      With the rest of the flock together and safe, the shepherd would go find a missing sheep
      Hired shepherds had to pay for any missing sheep unless they had proof it was killed
    Family shepherds would risk their own lives to save a sheep from attack
      1 Samuel 17:34-36
      Hired shepherds would run away if the danger got too strong

The Sheepfold
    By midafternoon or at the first sign of a storm, the shepherd led the sheep back to the sheepfold
      The shepherd stood in the sheepfold doorway and name off the sheep as they entered
    Sheepfolds - A walled off area with one door and 6-ft tall walls of rock
      Protected the sheep at night from robbers and wild animals
      A cave or covered area provided shelter during bad weather
      Sheep normally stayed in open area in pleasant weather
    Village sheepfolds - Communal folds where flocks of sheep & goats were brought together
      Strong keyed door was guarded by the porter, who knew the shepherds
      Shepherds gathered in morning and gave their own calls to separate their sheep
    Hillside sheepfolds - Used by shepherds when far from town during good, warm weather
      Shepherd lay down across doorway so nothing could get in or out except over his body
        The shepherd was literally the door

Psalms From the Shepherd
    With this new understanding of shepherd life, what new things do you see in Psalm 23?
      Psalm 23
    How do you feel knowing that you are loved and protected by God as a shepherd to his sheep?
      Psalm 100

Like Sheep Without a Shepherd (Mark 6:34)
    Why did Jesus continue to teach and care for people despite being so tired and hungry?
      Mark 6:31-34
    Weren't they being cared for by the leaders that were there to shepherd them?
      Jeremiah 50:6
    What happened in last week's story that shows the people's need for a shepherd?
      John 9:17, 33-34

Thieves and Robbers (John 10:1-6)
    How did Jesus describe these Pharisee's relation to the Lord's sheep?
      John 10:1
    How did the Pharisees differ from the shepherd God wants for His sheep?
      John 10:2-5
    Did the Pharisees understand this analogy?
      John 10:6

    Who was the watchman who opened the gate for the shepherd in verse 3?
      John 1:29-30, 34
    How did Jesus "enter by the gate"?
      Luke 18:31

I Am The Door (John 10:7-10)
    How does Jesus begin His explanation?
      John 10:7, 9
    We can go in and come out - Hebrew phrase describing absolute security and safety
      Inside is safety and salvation; We can follow Him for pasture (to meet our needs)
    How does Jesus contrast Himself with these false shepherds?
      John 10:8, 10

I Am The Good Shepherd (John 10:11-21)
    How does Jesus further describe that He is not just a regular shepherd?
      John 10:11-13
    How else is Jesus like a Good and Loving Shepherd?
      John 10:14-15
    How did Jesus further differentiate Himself from the hired shepherd?
      John 10:17-18
    How did the people respond to this statement that could only be true if Jesus were God?
      John 10:19-21

The Sheep of His Pasture (John 10:16)
    If Jesus' sheep know Him, who are those who don't know Him?
      Matthew 25:32-33
    Who are these sheep that belong to Jesus' flock?
      John 10:16
    What shepherd did God use to begin gathering His sheep from other folds?
      Acts 9:11, 15
    Who are the shepherds of this new flock?
      Acts 20:28
    Pastor (Ephesians 4:11) - Latin for shepherd

The Shepherd is the Son of God (John 10:21-42)
    Where was Jesus 2.5 months later when the Good Shepherd theme is further explained?
      John 10:22-23
      Temple's Court of the Gentiles was between the Royal Porch and Solomon's Porch
        Porches were 40 ft tall and roofed over, People prayed and rabbis taught there
        Jesus walked through Solomon's Porch to keep out of wintry weather
    Had the Jews finally realized who this Good Shepherd really was?
      John 10:24
    Why had they not been able to understand despite the evidence of His words and works?
      John 10:25-26

    What more did Jesus have to say about His sheep?
      John 10:27-28
    Why is no one able to steal these sheep from Jesus?
      John 10:29-30
    How did the Jews respond to His direct answer?
      John 10:31-42

God's Eternal Plan For His Sheep (Jeremiah 23:1-4; Ezekiel 34:1-16)
    How did God feel about the false shepherds who abused His flock?
      Jeremiah 23:1-2
    How would God shepherd these people?
      Jeremiah 23:3-4

    How did the shepherds over God's flock act as hired hands?
      Ezekiel 34:1-10
    How would God take care of the problem?
      Ezekiel 34:11-16
    How sincerely would He search for His sheep?
      Luke 15:1-10

Closing Prayer

Copyright © 1998 by Kurt Rosenhagen

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