Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for Jesus the Good Shepherd
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Jesus the Good Shepherd, John 10:1-18.
The Good Shepherd - Puppet Show
Originally used at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, New Prague, MN
Like a good shepherd taking care of his sheep, Jesus will watch over us and guide us. He was willing to die for us to save us.
John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
Jesus is often compared to or made references to himself as a shepherd. Even before Christ was born Isaiah 40:11 refers to the coming Messiah “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart: He gently leads those that have young.” Mark 6:34 “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. Jesus refers to himself as the good shepherd in John 10: 11-16. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father- and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not from this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
Of course, there is the most famous reference to a shepherd that we all find comfort in. Even when times are at there worst we all find the verses in Psalms 23 to help us get through those days that we thought would never pass. Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside quiet waters…
Jesus is always with us no matter what. We may stray but if we listen for Jesus he can lead us back to the fold.
Children will create large cardboard sheep puppets and enact a show while the leader narrates the story. Videotape it and play back for fun and for memory.
List of materials:
- Cardboard figures (about 2 ft x 1 ft) for the children to hold --
- 5 sheep puppets (4 sheep for older children with JOE, SAM, CINDY, FELIX written on back)
- 1 wolf puppet
- 1 goat
- 2 shepherds costume
- 1 bush (taped to the closet door) (Only younger children)
- 1 thief’s black cloak (Only younger children)
- 1 pretend butterfly on a stick
- Video camera and tv if you're taping.
Explaining the lesson:
Shepherding was a job that is mentioned in the Bible several times. Jesus often talked about shepherding. The good shepherds would do anything for their sheep including protect them from wolves and loins. Bad shepherds would run from wolves and loins leaving the sheep helpless against these predators. It was a lonely job; sometimes you were out in the field for days with the sheep as you moved from pasture to pasture. Do you remember and Bible readings that include shepherds. Who did the angels sang to when Jesus was born? What was David’s job as a boy? Jesus refers to Himself as our good shepherd so today I am going to read a story about a shepherd and some of you will get to act out the story and some of you will be the audience.
Do The Puppet Show (see script below)
Discussion Time: (After the Puppet Show)
Write on the board or draw pictures of the following BOLD words:
Ask: Who is our good shepherd? (Write "Jesus" after Good Shepherd.)
Would you like being a shepherd?
Ask: Who are the sheep? (Write "us" after sheep. How did the sheep react to the shepherd’s voice? (happy, comforted, safe)
Ask: Do you want to go with a thief? (Write "No" after thief.)
Ask: When do we wonder away from Jesus? (Write sin after Lost Sheep)
Say: We all sin, but when we turn back to Jesus he is always very happy to see us, just like the shepherd was happy to find his sheep.
Ask: What did the bush do? (Write "trapped sheep" after bush)
Ask: Would you feel safe with him? (Write "No")
Ask: Should the sheep follow a goat? (Write "No")
Ask: When you hear Jesus in your heart what will you do? (The right thing.)
Is the Good Shepherd willing to die for his sheep? (Yes)
Was Jesus willing to die for us? (Yes)
If time allows, enact the story again.
This script was originally written for younger children to perform. When using with older children, have them prepare it to perform for a preschool class at the end of the lesson.
Characters: Assign and create characters.
One good shepherd/One scared shepherd/5 sheep/one thief/one goat.
Prior to enacting the story, explain what each puppet is intended to represent.
When something good or happy occurs, everyone in the audience stands up and shouts HURRAY and if something bad happens, everyone rub your eyes and say BOO WHO. Depending on the number of children you have, you can have these words on a SIGN and raise it for all to see and react. Whenever I need to count the sheep you can help. (Words in parentheses are used to cue narrator for movement or talking to audience)
This is a story about a shepherd who had 100 sheep, we don’t have room for 100 sheep so today well only have 5 sheep.
(Sheep and shepherd enter)
A shepherd, a good shepherd always counts his sheep.
(Let's count the sheep out loud 1-2-3-4-5)
The shepherd said, ”O great, all my sheep are here!” HURRAY
One of the sheep strayed away and was lost in the wilderness. BOO HOO
(One sheep steps away from the other sheep)
The shepherd counted the sheep many times a day. HURRAY
(Let's count the sheep out loud 1-2-3-4..)
The shepherd looked around and said, ”A sheep is missing!” BOO WHO
Bravely, the shepherd said, “I must go and find the lost sheep” HURRAY
(He starts looking for it.)
He left the other ninety-nine sheep in the pasture and went looking for the lost one. HURRAY
(He looks all over the stage)
(Have you ever lost something before and just had to find it?)
After finding it, he was extremely joyful. “These are my sheep. I must watch over them and protect them no matter what!” The good shepherd said as he joyfully carried the sheep to the flock. HURRAY
He called all his friends because he was so happy to have the lost sheep home.
(How did you feel when you found your lost item? That’s how Jesus feels every time a sinner comes back to him)
“Well I better get back to work and count my sheep.”
(Let's count the sheep out loud 1-2-3-4-5)
“They are all here again” the good shepherd smiled. HURRAY
The shepherd turned to notice a thief near one of his sheep. BOO WHO
(The thief is picking up one of the sheep)
The shepherd ran to the thief and told him to get away. HURRAY
(the thief dropped the sheep and went away)
The shepherd counted his sheep again.
(Count the sheep out loud 1-2-3-4-5)
“All of them are still here” the good shepherd smiled. HURRAY
A sheep walked near a bush and its wool got tangled in the branches. BOO WHO
The shepherd turned and ran to help the sheep. HURRAY
(I hope the shepherd doesn’t get hurt from that bush)
The sheep began to cry because it was stuck in the bush. BOO WHO
(How will he get free?)
The shepherd loosened the branches and set the sheep free, HURRAY
(A shepherds job is never done I guess)
The sheep were all together again. HURRAY
(The sheep all jump for joy)
Again the shepherd counted his sheep.
(Count the sheep out loud 1-2-3-4-5)
“They are still all here,” said the good shepherd. HURRAY
The shepherd saw another shepherd running towards him.
(This shepherd looks really scared)
The scared shepherd said a wolf came. BOO WHO
(But who is watching his sheep?)
“Don’t worry my sheep,” said the good shepherd. “I will never leave you.” HURRAY
(The good shepherd was not afraid to fight for his sheep)
“I might get hurt, and besides they aren’t even my sheep!” said the frightened shepherd. BOO WHO
(He began to run away again)
One of the other shepherd’s sheep was bit in the leg by the wolf. BOO WHO
Instead of helping the sheep, the scared shepherd continued to run. BOO WHO
The good shepherd gathered his sheep and said, “I will protect you.” HURRAY
(Bravely he stood in front of his sheep)
The wolf came running and growling at the good shepherd. BOO WHO
(Would you be scared?)
With a swing from his slingshot the shepherd knocked the wolf in the head and down went the wolf. HURRAY
(Did you ever try to protect something you loved?)
One of the sheep began to wander toward a goat while the shepherd counted his sheep.
(Count the sheep out loud 1-2-3-4...)
“There is one missing again,” said the good shepherd. BOO WHO
(He turned and began to look around)
The shepherd saw the sheep. HURRAY
(A shepherd’s job never ends)
The sheep was wondering off with a goat. BOO WHO
(Now what should the shepherd do?)
The good shepherd bent down on his knee and called gently to the sheep. HURRAY
(Do you remember the memory verse?)
The sheep returned to the shepherd and the goat walked away. The shepherd was very pleased.
Now here's the secret:
Jesus is the Good Shepherd in the story (have the Jesus puppet appear from behind the shepherd). And WE are his sheep! (have puppeteers stick their faces through curtain).
We can count on Jesus to know who each of us is. (Jesus puppet bounces over heads saying kids names). An even if something bad happens to one of us, or we are in trouble (a kid or two tries to slide away), Jesus will shepherd us back into the sheepfold. (Jesus brings back the kids).
This is his promise.