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Bible Study Guide for Sunday, April 25, 2021

April 22, 2021
  • Acts 4:5-12
  • 1 John 3:16-24
  • John 10:11-18
  • Psalm 23

Each year in the middle of the Easter season we come to Good Shepherd Sunday. Many people especially love the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd who tenderly cares for his flock. The Good Shepherd discourse in John 10 is split into three parts over the three years of our lectionary and this year’s portion focuses on the Good Shepherd’s willingness to protect his sheep even at the cost of his own life.

The Epistle calls us to do the same. We are not passive recipients of Jesus’ love but need to respond to that love by showing that costly love to one another. As Jesus “laid down his life for us … we ought to lay down our lives for one another.” John sees our belief in Jesus and our love for each other as inextricably intertwined. We obey God’s commands when we “believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.”

Sometimes people will actually die in order to protect others. Most of us will never be called upon to do that. And yet John extends this to not just laying down our lives but also laying down our lifestyle. “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?” That one can affect us all.

We often think of love as an emotion, but John is more concerned with concrete acts of love, loving “in truth and action.” Emotions can be fickle. Sometimes we may feel tender love towards each other or towards God and sometimes we may not. Emotions can come and go, and sometimes our hearts condemn us. But by this, by our concrete acts of love, “we will know that we are from the truth.”


  • Is the image of Jesus as a Good Shepherd meaningful to you? How have you related to this?
  • How do you understand “we ought to lay down our lives for one another?” What are some different ways that people give their lives for others?
  • Have there been times when your heart has seemed to condemn you? What might it mean that “God is greater than our hearts?”

Author: Kristen Filipic


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