John 10:10-18

Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.



The symbolism of the Good Shepherd would have been well understood by the people who heard Jesus tell the story. Shepherds were common in Israel. Instead of using dogs to herd their sheep they would live so closely to the sheep, and even name them, so that the animals came to recognise the voice of their own shepherd and would run to him when he called them by name. This meant that all the sheep from the village could be kept in a communal fold at night and would be sorted into their own flocks in the morning when the shepherd called them. David often referred to God as shepherd and His people as sheep (Psalms 79:13; 89:1; 95:7 etc) and the psalmist himself had good experience of who a shepherd actually was, which enabled him to compose the 23rd Psalm: I am not afraid, I do not need anything, I am protected, fed, rested, cared for. All is well with my world. When we are cared for in this way by the Good Shepherd we experience abundant life. The true shepherd thinks only of his sheep and does not hesitate to protect – and even lay down his life – for them. Jesus declared Himself to be God when He told His listeners He was the Good Shepherd and

He was prepared to lay down His own life for His flock. The shepherd and his flock live closely together in a beautiful harmony. In this illustration Jesus describes the beautiful unity that exists between God and His people as they increasingly get to know Him. Whilst the King James translation of John’s Gospel uses the word ‘fold’ to describe the place where the sheep dwell, the correct translation of the word should be ‘flock’, thus broadening the picture to include all who would follow Jesus rather than one category of people (denominations, Jews or Gentiles, nationalities etc).

The illustration though reveals the difference between Jesus and a human shepherd. Jesus went to His death voluntarily, whilst a shepherd would fight to preserve both his own life and that of his flock; when a shepherd died trying to protect his sheep, there was nothing more he could do to save them whilst Jesus gave His life to that His flock may have eternal life; once a shepherd died, that was the end for the sheep whilst Jesus gave up his life in order to take it up again and move forward in resurrection power. All that Jesus does as the Good Shepherd is in line with the Father’s will.

What makes you feel safe and contented? Why?

•If someone were to ask you ‘Who are you?’ what would you say to describe yourself? What gives you your identity?
•How does your relationship with Christ help to define who you are?
•Would you say you are living the abundant life Jesus promised? Why/why not?
•How has the pandemic affected your sense of community – within your family, your work environment, socially and within your Christian family?
•The Church was described as ‘scattered’ in the sermon. How does this description make you
•Look back at the early Church. They too were scattered. Was it a good thing – or not? How can the scattering of the Church today be used to grow the Kingdom of God?
•How can the group help you with the struggles you have mentioned during this session?

Pray for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussion time, and in regard to other needs of the group. Pray also for the Church – that the scattering she has experienced will be used by God to strengthen and grow His kingdom.

Spend time this coming week looking at your life as if through a stained glass window. Where do you see abundance? Make a note – and then share with one another next week any difference it made to you.

What story can you tell to others about Jesus this week? Who will you tell?

Coffman, James Burton. “Commentary on John 10”. “Coffman Commentaries on the Bible”. https:// www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bcc/john-10.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999. de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op John 10″. “Kingcomments on the Whole Bible”. https://beta.studylight.org/ commentaries/eng/kng/john-10.html. ‘Stichting Titus’ / ‘Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël’, Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.

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