- Think about someone who has been a guide or helper for you in your life. What did that person do or say that helped you or provided guidance when you needed it?
- This week we are looking at Jesus’ parallel statements “I am the gate” (John 10:7) and “I am the good shepherd” (10:11). In Jesus’ day, animals were often kept in a courtyard that was enclosed by a wall and was attached to a building. The sheep were led into the courtyard through a gate which kept them secure and safe. What sort of contrast does Jesus make between himself as the gate and the thieves & robbers in verses 7-10?
- How does Jesus’ striking statement in verse 10 shed light on His purpose as the gate?
- Jesus changes the picture a bit as He goes on to describe Himself as “the good shepherd” (10:11, 14). The Hebrew Bible – our Old Testament – is rich with images of good shepherds. Name some particularly ‘good shepherds’ in the history of Israel and what made them ‘good’? (You may want to look at Exodus 3:1-6; 1 Samuel 16:11-13; and Psalm 78:70-72.)
- Jesus contrasts the good shepherd and the hired hand in verses 11-13. What are the main differences? What does this tell you about who Jesus is? (To dig deeper, you may want to look at Ezekiel 34.)
- Although it may sound strange to us, there is a relationship that exists between a shepherd and the sheep. The sheep grow familiar with the shepherd’s voice. Jesus says, “I know my sheep and the sheep know Me” (10:14), and also, “the sheep listen to his voice” (10:3). What do you think it looks like for us, as Jesus’ sheep, to have that sort of relationship with Him, our good shepherd?
- Jesus twice mentions the idea of the good shepherd as one who “lays down his life for the sheep” (10:11 and 17). What do you think Jesus meant by this?
- To conclude your study, read Psalm 23 aloud. This is a powerful picture of the Lord as our shepherd. Consider one specific area of your life where you need Jesus to be your shepherd? Talk with Him about that. If you are in a small group, discuss this with one another and pray for one another about these things.