Lesson 9: April 30, 2017
God’s Preserving Love: John 10:1-15
Teaching Strategy: Compare and contrast the role of Jesus (the Good Shepherd) with church leaders and other leaders. Discuss how much of what Jesus says refers strictly to himself and his unique role, and what applies by extension to church – or other – human leaders today.
In this week’s scripture lesson, Jesus contrasts the characteristics of the good shepherd, the hired hand, and the thief in their relationships to the sheep. Jesus explains, “I am the Good Shepherd,” and describes how he cares for his sheep. “I know my own, and my own know me, just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.” (10:14-15).
Reflect upon the unifying principle (below): What can we learn about the nature of Jesus’ love for us from this passage? About the kind of servant leadership he exemplified? What are the traits of the leader(s) we seek for our churches, our nation, and our world?
- Integrity? Writing for Christianity Today/Christian Bible Studies, Ryan Hamm explores Leading With Integrity: How to Live a Life That Matters.
- Humility? Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, describes The Quiet Power of Humility and reminds us that for Christians, “no one humbled himself more than Jesus.”
- A prophetic voice? Writing for the Sojourners series on Faith in Action, Michael-Ray Matthews asks faith leaders to consider Will You Be Chaplain to the Empire or Prophet of the Resistance?
What are the costs to ourselves and to the church when we give to human leaders and institutions the love and loyalty which belong to Jesus Christ alone?
- In a thought-provoking essay Did We Worship Our Way to Trump? Disciples of Christ pastor Craig Watts challenges us to look at the ways we confuse loyalty to America (including American leaders and values) with worship of God – in “direct contradiction to the declaration of Jesus, ‘No one can serve two masters’” (Matthew 6:24).