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Shepherd appears to be a favored occupation in the Bible. Abraham, Jacob, Esau, and Amos were all shepherds. Moses became one while on the run. David was a singing shepherd before he became king. And then we recall the Bethlehem shepherds, the first to hear the news about Jesus’ birth....
God, thank you for Jesus’ sacrifice, that I may be in relationship with you. Amen.
This week’s readings open with a confrontation in Acts between Peter and John and some of the religious leaders. Peter speaks in harsh terms to the leaders, stating that they had killed Jesus; yet by the power of Jesus’ name, a man who could not walk has been healed. By that same name spiritual healing happens as well. The other three passages employ the metaphor of the Good Shepherd. “The Lord is my shepherd,” the psalmist declares, and the shepherd cares for all our needs. In John’s Gospel, Jesus declares that he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. First John repeats this imagery. Jesus proved his love when he lay down his life for us. If we truly love one another, we also ought to sacrifice in tangible ways.
• Read Psalm 23. How comfortable do you feel about God’s provision for your life? Do you believe you have enough?
• Read Acts 4:5-12. When have you gotten into difficulty for exercising your Christian faith and values? If never, why not?
• Read 1 John 3:16-24. The writer notes that we may find being called sheep unbecoming. He goes on to mention that the epistle of John addresses followers of Christ as “little children.” Would you prefer to be a sheep or a child? Why?
• Read John 10:11-18. Which of your assumptions about God have been turned upside down? How did this come about?
Respond by posting a prayer.
. . . The police were getting the closest families to evacuate. My house was close enough that we could see things happening but far enough away to be safe. The police had told some people to wait in front of our house where it was safe. There was a father and his young son outside our house, and they were getting cold. We invited them to come inside until it was safe. Thankfully, the situation was resolved without anyone getting hurt." Read more from Pockets magazine.