God’s Word for Today
Good Shepherd Sunday reminds us of the special relationship we enjoy with our Savior. Those whom he has called as his sheep readily recognize his care and concern. Even in suffering, his sheep experience his gracious care and follow him.
First Lesson (Acts 6:1-9; 7:2a,51-60)
- What qualifications did the church look for in the men it chose to assist the apostles? (v. 3)
- What relationship existed between the ministry of the Word and the church’s ministry to those in need?
- How were Stephen’s dying words like those of his Lord?
Second Lesson (1 Peter 2:19-25)
- How does Peter identify Jesus with that of a shepherd?
Gospel (John 10:1-10)
- What is the relationship of the shepherd to his sheep?
- What does Jesus mean by likening himself to a gate for the sheep?
- They were to be men who were filled with the Spirit of God and wisdom.
- The ministry of the Word of God was clearly the primary task of the church, while the charitable programs were subordinated to that primary task. This is also borne out by the fact that the book of Acts returns to focus on the work of spreading the Gospel.
- With stones crashing against his body, Stephen followed his Lord’s example by commending his soul into the Lord’s hands and asking for forgiveness for his persecutors.
- Before we knew Christ, we were lost. We were wandering about as stray sheep with no one to care for us or look after us. But we now have a Shepherd. Sheep without a shepherd are doomed, vulnerable to any wild animals (1 Peter 5:8). But with Christ as our Shepherd we are safe. He is leading us toward our eternal home, always aware of our every condition.
- Because of the hours of tender care, the shepherd would know each of his sheep by name. The shepherd knows the distinct personality of each. The sheep, on the other hand, would recognize the shepherd’s voice as he calls them by name. The sheep follow because they know the voice of the shepherd while wary of the strangers’.
- Jesus himself is the gate through which the shepherds must enter to get to their sheep. He is the one through whom the sheep must go in order to find good pasture. All who are truly shepherds (pastors, teachers and staff ministers) are those who believe in him as their Savior and guide their sheep only by means of his Word.