A Prelude Bible Study to the Nativity
Our next Zoom Bible study fellowship is on Thursday November 19th at 10:00 a.m. The information for joining this Zoom event will be in our group email this coming week. Or reach out to us by our "Contact Us" page so we can get that information to you. We hope and pray you can join us!
Please watch the short video above, and then read the Bible verses about shepherds, below, and ask yourself the questions provided. They will help us get started when we have our Zoom Bible study fellowship at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday November 19th. Please join us then if you can!
Jeremiah [3:15; 23:1&4] The Lord God says … “I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. … Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. … I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing,” says the Lord.
Isaiah 40:11 The Lord God will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.
Ezekiel 34:11, 15, 23 For thus says the Lord God: “I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. … I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down … I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.”
Matthew 2:6, 9:36, 18:12 The prophet Micah writes … “For you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.” … When Jesus saw the crowds he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus said, “What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?”
Luke 2:8, 15, 18, 20 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night … When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” … All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. … The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
John 10:11, 14, 16 Jesus says … “I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. … I AM the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me. … I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”
Acts 20:28 St. Paul spoke to the new church elders … “Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.”
I Peter 5:4 The Apostle writes … When the chief shepherd appears, you will win the crown of glory that never fades away.
Revelation 7:17 … One of the heavenly elders – a herald, a messenger – spoke these words … “The Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and HE will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
+ Like every prophet, Jeremiah speaks for God. His particular focus is on the people shepherding (serving) God in that time and place. What are the prophet Jeremiah’s two main messages?
+ The prophet Isaiah focuses on someone else as the shepherd of God’s people. Who is that?
+ The prophet Ezekiel says that GOD will be the shepherd of God’s people. Yet he also speaks about “my servant David” who will “be their shepherd”. What do you make of that?
+ The apostle Matthew quotes another prophet, Micah, who foresees a ruler coming to shepherd God’s people from out of the Jewish people who hail from the area of Bethlehem. Jesus, of course, was born in Bethlehem and his ancestors came from there. How do we see the character of a good shepherd displayed in our Lord Jesus? How does his Parable of the Lost Sheep help deeply illuminate his character?
+ St. Luke’s gospel is the only gospel that includes shepherds in the Nativity story. What role do the shepherds play? They perform at least three crucial roles in that story. What are they?
+ John’s Gospel makes bold statements about WHO Jesus truly is. The words “I AM” in this case stem from the Greek equivalent to the divine name of God, of Yahweh in Hebrew, which means “I AM WHO I AM”. Jesus’ “I AM” statements reveal Jesus as the Good Shepherd, who is in our Christian view the one whom the prophets were looking forward to. Jesus fleshes out the role of the Good Shepherd in powerful ways, which help us understand personally what God’s mission is in our world through Jesus of Nazareth his Son. What is his mission?
+ How do Jesus’ words in John bring to fulfillment the words of the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel?
+ In the book of Acts St. Paul shows us that while God is ultimately our Shepherd, there is still a role for the leadership of us sinful humans in Christ’s mission here on earth. How do we hear Paul speak to that in Acts 20:28?
+ I Peter 5:4 echoes Paul’s words and brings them one step further. What is the promise?
+ In a mystical and liturgical way Revelation 7:17 sums up all of this talk of shepherds in the Bible, and how GOD desires to be our one perfect and eternal Good Shepherd. Thanks be to God! Amen.