Bible Stories for Adults
Jesus, Our Good Shepherd
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
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 = Many were able to sling a stone at a hair and not miss
Rod - A 24-30 inch wooden club with a lump of wood at one end, often studded with nails
Shepherds would sling a stone just in front of the nose of a sheep beginning to stray
Normally hung on sash by a leather cord on the other end
Staff - A straight sapling 6-7 feet long (shepherd's crook used in Europe, not Palestine)
Used to protect shepherd and sheep from robbers and wild animals
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
Shepherd would go before his sheep finding the best pathways
He would find shade from trees or rock for the sheep to rest in the shadows
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
Family shepherds would risk their own lives to save a sheep from attack
Hired shepherds had to pay for any missing sheep unless they had proof it was killed
1 Samuel 17:34-36 = David killed a lion and a bear while protecting his father's sheep
Hired shepherds would run away if the danger got too strong
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
Village sheepfolds - Communal folds where flocks of sheep & goats were brought together
A cave or covered area provided shelter during bad weather
Sheep normally stayed in open area in pleasant weather
Strong keyed door was guarded by the porter, who knew the shepherds
Hillside sheepfolds - Used by shepherds when far from town during good, warm weather
Shepherds gathered in morning and gave their own calls to separate their sheep
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 = Write input on board
How do you feel knowing that you are loved and protected by God as a shepherd to his sheep?
Psalm 100 = We want to worship and praise our good and loving Shepherd
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 = He had compassion - they were like sheep without a shepherd
Weren't they being cared for by the leaders that were there to shepherd them?
Jeremiah 50:6 = They are lost sheep, led astray by their shepherds
What happened in last week's story that shows the people's need for a shepherd?
John 9:17, 33-34 = Pharisees excommunicated healed blind man who called Jesus a prophet
Thieves and Robbers (John 10:1-6)
How did Jesus describe these Pharisee's relation to the Lord's sheep?
John 10:1 = They are thieves and robbers who don't enter by the gate
How did the Pharisees differ from the shepherd God wants for His sheep?
John 10:2-5 = Pharisees tried to drive the sheep because they couldn't lead them
Did the Pharisees understand this analogy?
John 10:6 = No, so Jesus continued by explaining it
Who was the watchman who opened the gate for the shepherd in verse 3?
John 1:29-30, 34 = John the Baptist, He recognized Jesus as the Shepherd
How did Jesus "enter by the gate"?
Luke 18:31 = He came in the way God had revealed that His Shepherd would come
I Am The Door (John 10:7-10)
How does Jesus begin His explanation?
John 10:7, 9 = I am the gate, the sheep who enter by the gate will be kept safe
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 = They are thieves coming to kill; Jesus brings full and abundant life
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 = He will even lay down His life for His sheep, not like a hired hand
How else is Jesus like a Good and Loving Shepherd?
John 10:14-15 = He intimately knows His sheep, and they know Him
How did Jesus further differentiate Himself from the hired shepherd?
John 10:17-18 = He lays His life down voluntarily and has authority to take it up again
How did the people respond to this statement that could only be true if Jesus were God?
John 10:19-21 = Some thought He was demon-possessed, others confused
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 = They are the goats who will be separated from His sheep
Who are these sheep that belong to Jesus' flock?
John 10:16 = Some from the pen of Israel, some from other pens of the world
What shepherd did God use to begin gathering His sheep from other folds?
Acts 9:11, 15 = Saul, later called Paul
Who are the shepherds of this new flock?
Acts 20:28 = The leaders of His Church
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 = Jerusalem Temple for Hanukkah (also Feast of Lights)
Had the Jews finally realized who this Good Shepherd really was?
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
John 10:24 = No, they asked Him to plainly tell them who He was
Why had they not been able to understand despite the evidence of His words and works?
John 10:25-26 = They aren't His sheep and don't listen to His voice or recognize Him
What more did Jesus have to say about His sheep?
John 10:27-28 = I give them eternal life and no one can take them from Me
Why is no one able to steal these sheep from Jesus?
John 10:29-30 = The Father won't allow it, and Jesus and the Father are one
How did the Jews respond to His direct answer?
John 10:31-42 = They tried to stone Him for blasphemy
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 = He would punish them for destroying and scattering His sheep
How would God shepherd these people?
Jeremiah 23:3-4 = He'd find His scattered sheep and place loyal shepherds over them
How did the shepherds over God's flock act as hired hands?
Ezekiel 34:1-10 = They cared for themselves, not the flock - They are held accountable
How would God take care of the problem?
Ezekiel 34:11-16 = He would search for His sheep and shepherd them Himself
How sincerely would He search for His sheep?
Luke 15:1-10 = Like a shepherd would leave the 99 to find the one lost sheep
Copyright © 1998 by Kurt Rosenhagen
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