The Good Shepherd

This dialogue uses Nathanael's superior knowledge of Scripture to try to understand Jesus' illustration of the shepherd. The disciples were not like "blank sheets". Some had been more serious scripture students than others, but all had heard the synagogue readings. Often their grasp of the background of what Jesus said was more immediate than ours, and there was more for Jesus to draw on when an explanation had to be given.
Reader:John 10.1-6.
THOMAS:I'm a bit lost there, Nathanael. I don't really follow all this business about sheep.
NATHANAEL:Yes, Thomas, Jesus uses so many different illustrations that it's hard to keep up at times!
THOMAS:There must be people here for whom it's all just so graphic! What do you make of it?
NATHANAEL: Well... I can only think of some important Scripture passages.
THOMAS:I was hoping you could help me there!
NATHANAEL:The shepherd has always been an important picture of leadership in our nation.
THOMAS:Of course! David was a shepherd before he became king, wasn't he?
NATHANAEL:The concept came right over into our language - to shepherd, to lead, to rule.
THOMAS:Not too technical, please, Nathanael!
NATHANAEL:God's like that in his care of us. Remember that psalm?
THOMAS:"The Lord is my shepherd - I shall not want."
NATHANAEL:Right! That's looking at God's side. Now turn it the other way and we are like sheep.
THOMAS:I have a childhood memory of sheep - a whole bunch of them following the shepherd!
NATHANAEL:That bunch is what we call a "flock"!
THOMAS:I know that!
NATHANAEL:Sometimes they follow one another and go astray! Isaiah wrote that we have all gone astray like sheep - all turning to our own way!
THOMAS:So we haven't been a very good flock after all.
NATHANAEL:Let's listen - Jesus is going to explain it some more.
Reader:John 10.7-18.

From Between the Lines. Dialogues for Worship by Peter J. Blackburn published by Testimonium Fellowship 1992, (c) Peter J. Blackburn.
Permission is given for copying of this document for local use with this copyright notice intact. For any other proposed use the specific permission of Peter J. Blackburn must be sought.

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