In John 10 Jesus famously says ‘I AM the Good Shepherd’. When we claim Jesus as our Saviour, we join the sheep of His fold; forever secure. In our study buddy groups we’re going to look at what being one of Jesus’s sheep means for our lives, before moving on when we meet on the 31st of January, to look at our Good Shepherd Himself. So, let’s dive into our passage and read John 10 v 1-18.
Q1. Being a sheep in Jesus’s time was a dangerous business – you were a valuable commodity and therefore constantly at risk of being stolen.
- How do the sheep recognise their true shepherd amidst such danger? (v1-3)
- What is their response to their true shepherd? (first half of verse v3)
- How can we be more sensitive to hearing Jesus’s voice in our everyday lives?
Q2. Sheep knew the very tone of their own shepherd’s voice – in fact each shepherd in Jesus’s day had a unique guttural ‘call’ for his sheep. To this noise, and only this noise, would the sheep respond.
- What do the sheep do when they hear their shepherd’s voice? (v4)
- How do they react when a stranger calls them? (v5)
- How can we better follow Jesus’s calling daily in our own lives?
Q3. At night the shepherd would herd his sheep into a safe space and then lie down across the opening to protect them – he literally was ‘the gate’, protecting and guarding them from all dangers.
- What happens to the sheep who enter through Jesus? (first half of v9)
- What is life like for these sheep? (second half of v9-10)
- How can we live our lives fully appreciating the here-and-now freedom and future privilege that we enjoy as sheep of Jesus’s fold?
Q4. Jesus now makes his famous statement, ‘I am the Good Shepherd’ – or literally, ‘I am the Shepherd, the good one’. He is contrasting himself with all who came before and fulfilling all the prophecies and references to the Ultimate Shepherd made throughout the Old Testament (see Psalm 23 and Ezekiel 34 if you have time, or want to do some further reading).
- How does Jesus care for his sheep differently from all others? Why is this? (v11-13)
- What is the relationship like between God, Jesus and us, the sheep? (v14-18)
- How does knowing that we are one flock, part of a family, united forever by Jesus’s willing sacrificial death, encourage and help you today?
- Give thanks to God that he has invited you to be part of his family and made a way for us to be united forever under our Good, and very great Shepherd.
- Confess times when you have not listened to your Good Shepherd’s voice, or have not been obedient to His calling.
- Ask God to fill you to the measure with his enabling Holy Spirit that we may live lives as joyful sheep, safe now and forever under Jesus’s loving care!