(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 23RD – 29TH July 2018)
ICE BREAKER: Are you a creature of habit? What are some of your routines?
FOCUS SCRIPTURE PASSAGE/S: READ John 10:1-18 & John 17: 9-19
Some Context: Most of us have well-worn paths leading to familiarity and security (the sheep pen) – we’re comfortable with predictability. We also search for places of excitement and enjoyment (the pastures) – new experiences that offer a break from the routine. Like sheep, we regularly come and go – a good analogy for the pattern of life. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, provides security and comfort to those who seek to live under his care. Jesus’ life is the doorway to God’s care.
1. In these texts Jesus says I AM the Good Shepherd and I AM the Gate. Why do you think the Jesus (and the Bible in other places) uses the image of a shepherd to describe the relationship between God and God’s people?
2. Do you find the thought, “God watches over my coming and going” comforting? Why or why not?
3. Looking back to question 1 – what do you think is the importance of Jesus referring to himself as “the Good Shepherd” and not simply “I AM the shepherd?”
4. When we look at Jesus referring to himself as “I AM the Gate” this is in reference to shepherds who had to rent space for the protection of their flock, but this now gives us a different perspective. How does this demonstrate that Jesus is “invested” in you?
5. Who is the most influential person in your life? Does this person inform your thinking about who you are as a person? In what ways does it impact your life to make Jesus the most influential person in your life – think back to the first week when we said that “we’re not only made by God but out of God.”
6. The “door” image shows us how Jesus steps into the gap against some potential threat. Sometimes we know that crisis can still be our experience. In which case how is Jesus still the “door” for you or someone known to you in the midst of that experience?
7. READ Psalm 23. In verse 4 the psalmist writes, “Though I walk through the shadow of death…” Two words differentiated by the letter “R.” In Sign language the symbol for R is crossed fingers. Now we may say that we use this symbol of ‘fingers crossed’ for good luck. But what if it’s seen as a sign of the cross, the Good Shepherd always present with us, which gives us peace in the midst of trials?