VERSES: John 10:1-18
MEMORY VERSE: John 10:15 "...I lay down my life for the sheep."
BOOK TO REMEMBER: Review all seven books of the Old Testament. The rest of the books of the Old Testament will come easier if the students have a firm foundation on which to build. Recite aloud if possible.
PRAYER: Pray that we will be followers of Jesus and His words, remembering that He knows the names of His sheep.
SPECIAL SONG: No, Not One (see June - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #6 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)
VISUAL AID: A large Activity (see below)
- Jesus told the people and His disciples another parable. Remember Jesus always told parables about things that the people knew like fishing nets and treasures and things like that. This parable was about sheep and a good shepherd! In Bible times, when many people owned sheep, they knew that a sheepfold was a pen for sheep. The sheep might go out of the sheepfold in the daytime, but never at night because there were wolves and other animals that would hurt the sheep. The sheepfold could protect the sheep because the only way into the pen was through the door. Only the shepherd would go through the door of the sheepfold; others who climbed into the sheepfold another way were thieves or robbers or someone who was up to mischief!
- People already knew that a good shepherd watched over his sheep very carefully. He took care of his sheep. He protected his sheep. The shepherd even knew the names of his sheep. He talked to them and they knew his voice. The sheep would follow the shepherd wherever he went because they knew it was their shepherd's voice talking to them. Jesus said that the sheep would not follow a stranger because they did not know his voice; the sheep would run away from strangers.
- The people might have known a little about sheep, but they did not know what this parable meant. Jesus knew they did not understand, so He explained the parable. He said that He--Jesus--was the door of the sheep. Anyone else who had ever come before Jesus were thieves and robbers and the sheep did not hear them. Jesus said that He was the door. If anyone came in through the door could be saved and could go in and out and find pasture. He said thieves and robbers came in to steal and hurt, but He came so that they might have life!
- Jesus also said that He was the Good Shepherd and He would give His life for His sheep. A person only hired to take care of the sheep and was not the shepherd would see the wolf coming and would leave the sheep and the wolf would catch the sheep and scatter the rest of the flock. Jesus said He was the Good Shepherd and He knew His sheep and they knew Him. He said He knew the Father and the Father knew Him and Jesus would lay down His life for His sheep.
- Jesus said He had other sheep which were not of that same sheepfold, but that He would bring them into the fold and they would hear His voice. He said that there would be one fold and one shepherd.
- Jesus said that His Father loved Him because He would lay down His life for His sheep, and then He would take up His life again. Jesus was talking about dying on the cross, but raising to life again!
- It is interesting to notice that sheep, unlike the lion or tiger or many other animals, do not have huge teeth or claws or anything to protect themselves. They run to protect themselves. They flock together and run. Sheep always need a leader. If one sheep, maybe a ram, starts in one direction, the rest of the flock will follow them, even if it is down a cliff or somewhere dangerous. Sheep need a shepherd. A shepherd will lead them in safe places and talk to them softly and calmly, so they will not be frightened. Sheep are afraid of loud noises. People are just like sheep. They need a shepherd--a Good Shepherd. They need Jesus to lead them.
ACTIVITY: Jesus, The Good Shepherd
Materials needed: 9" x 12" yellow construction paper, 4" x 12" green construction paper, scraps of brown, blue, black, tan construction paper, 8-10 cotton balls, glue, scissors, crayons, marker.
- Hand out yellow paper. This is the background.
- Hand out green paper.
- Tear long top edge of green paper. This is the pasture.
- Glue pasture to bottom edge of yellow paper.
- Hand out black scraps.
- Tear small black circles out of black paper. These are the rocks to the sheepfold.
- Glue four rows of black rocks, leaving room for the door.
- Hand out small brown scrap paper.
- Cut a small rectangle out of the brown paper. This is the door.
- Fold one edge of the brown rectangle.
- Glue only one edge of the door to the green paper, in the middle of the sheepfold. The door should swing open and closed.
- Hand out blue scrap of paper.
- Cut a triangle out of the scrap (about 3" or so). This is the shepherd's robe.
- Glue shepherd's robe close to the sheepfold.
- Hand out tan scrap of paper.
- Cut out a small tan circle. This is the shepherd's head.
- Glue on top of blue triangle.
- Hand out scrap of brown paper.
- Cut out shepherd's crook.
- Glue shepherd's crook in the hand of the shepherd. Add hand, if desired.
- Color shepherd's hair, eye and mouth.
- Hand out cotton balls.
- Glue cotton balls around green pasture.
- Write "I am the good shepherd!" and "John 10" at the top of the yellow paper.
- Write "The shepherd knows his sheep", "He knows their names", and He takes care of his sheep" around on the yellow paper where there is room.
- Write "sheepfold" and an arrow to the sheepfold.
- Write "sheep" and an arrow to the sheep.
- Write "shepherd" and and arrow to the shepherd.
- If desired, add legs to sheep.