Series: Who is Jesus
Theme: Jesus is the Son of Man
Lesson Number: 2 of 4
Lesson Title: JESUS IS THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Memory Verse: JOHN 10:11; I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Lesson Plan: lesson plan To download and print this entire lesson, click on links below
John 10:1-16, tells us that Jesus looks after us just as a shepherd looks after his sheep. Psalm 23:1 says “The Lord is my shepherd” That was written by David who was a shepherd himself. He knew what a shepherd had to do to look after his sheep.
In Bible days, looking after the sheep would usually be the job of the youngest boy in the family. It was his job to take the sheep every day to find food and water. He would lead them to good pasture where he found lots of grass. He had to stay away from plants that were poisonous to the sheep so they would not get sick.
He had to find a place for the sheep to drink good water. The sheep are afraid if the water is too rough or fast moving so he had to find a quiet pool. If the sheep had to cross a stream, the shepherd would carry the little lambs across. Or if a sheep fell and was being swept down the stream, the shepherd would jump in and pick it up and carry it across. If there was a new baby lamb that was too young to keep up, the shepherd would carry it in his coat where it would be safe and warm.
So far this does not sound like an easy job, does it?
Then the shepherd had to protect the sheep from predators. Often, wolves would try to steal the sheep. The shepherd carried with him a rod which was a bit like a baseball bat. He could use that to protect sheep. He also carried a longer stick called a staff. The staff might have a hook on the end. He used it as a walking stick or he could hook the end around a sheep’s leg to direct it.
(This section about use of the sling can be taught as an object lesson) The shepherd also carried a sling. It was a leather pouch with strings of leather attached to the sides. He would put a stone in the pouch, then take both strings in one hand and he would swing the sling around in the air a few times, then release one of the strings to send the stone flying at his target. He would use it to chase away wolves or he could use it to send a stone just beyond a straying sheep to startle it back to the flock.
Can you imagine how David must have practiced for many hours with his sling. He was able to protect his sheep from a bear and a lion and he used his sling to kill the giant Goliath.
The shepherd must keep all the flock warm and safe. He protected them because he cared about them, he loved them. At night he would lead the sheep to a sheepfold, where they would be protected while they slept. The sheepfold was an area that was fenced with a wall of rocks or sometimes just a wall of branches and thorns. Or it might be a cave.
The sheepfold had a gate or an opening where the shepherd would stay and watch as the sheep came in. He would count them as they came in. The Bible says that a thief would try to come in another way but the shepherd comes in through the gate. The shepherd would stay with the sheep all night in case a robber might try to come in to kill or steal the sheep.
The only time the shepherd would leave the flock would be in case a sheep was missing or lost. Then he would leave the flock in a safe place and he would go to search for the missing sheep.
The shepherd knew all his sheep by name and they recognized his voice. When two flocks were at a watering place together, they would be all mixed up together. But when it was time to leave, the shepherd would just call his sheep and they would recognize his voice and they would follow him.
Jesus understood what it was to be a shepherd. In John 10: the Bible tells us that Jesus is just like a good shepherd. He leads his people, he takes care of us, he protects us from predators, he calls us by name,
Jesus wants us to know him and to recognize his voice. John 10:2-5 (read from a Bible or have one of the children read) ;
“The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice”.
Prayer: Pray for the children to get to know Jesus as their shepherd, and that they will learn to know and follow his voice.