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7. Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10)

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Main Point: Jesus is a Shepherd to all who believe in Him.

Key Verse: I am the good Shepherd. I know My sheep and My sheep know Me. - John 10:14

Props: beautiful gift-wrapped box filled with rotten fruit or vegetables, a marble


Teacher: Before class, choose a child to look up 1 Samuel 16:7b to read when you call on him or her. Say: As Jesus taught throughout the land, some people believed He was the Messiah sent from God, and other people did not. The Pharisees were the religious leaders of the Jewish people. They were experts in God’s law and the Scriptures. They were supposed to be leading the people toward God. But instead, they made it very difficult for people to find God because they taught things that were not true (Matthew 23:13, Matthew 16:12). Jesus called the Pharisees, “blind guides” (Matthew 13:15). The Pharisees made up rules for the people that were nearly impossible to follow (Matthew 23:4). Instead of helping people, they judged them. The Pharisees were unkind and unmerciful men who took advantage of people (Matthew 23:23). Hold up the decorated gift box. The Pharisees were a lot like this box. They wore fancy robes and they looked very important on the outside, but on the inside they were - (open the box) rotten (Matthew 23:27-28). As we have been learning, Jesus was the exact opposite. He looked entirely plain on the outside, but on the inside, He was fully God.

PPT CUE: Verse

Ask: What does God care about - what is on the outside, or what is on the inside? The inside. Have your volunteer read 1 Samuel 16:7b: “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Jesus came to offer a new heart to everyone who believes in Him (Ezekiel 11:19).

Jesus had just healed a man who had been born blind. No one had ever done such a miracle before. Still, the Pharisees refused to believe in Jesus. And even worse, they also tried to keep others from believing in Him.

Note to Teacher: To gain insight on God’s opinion of the religious leaders of Israel, read the prophesy in Ezekiel 34:1-31. Because these shepherds did not care for the flock, but only for themselves, God promised to come find His lost sheep and care for the flock Himself. Jeremiah 23:5-6a lends further insight: “For the time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. And this will be His name: ‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness.’ ” (This is a sacred name for the Messiah - Strong’s Concordance.)

The Good Shepherd (John 10:1-6)

Say: Jesus continued teaching. Again, Jesus used things that people could see to explain heavenly things that they could not see. Everyone in Jesus’ day knew all about sheep and shepherds. Shepherding was as much a part of their lives as cars and computers are a part of ours. Most of us don’t know too much about sheep and shepherds, so let’s talk about this for just a minute. Ask: Who knows what the shepherd’s job is? To take care of the sheep. Say: Sheep are wonderful creatures made by God, but they don’t know how to care for themselves. The shepherd does many things for the sheep:

  • He finds good clean water for them. Like any creature, sheep need fresh water everyday. But left to themselves, they might drink dirty or polluted water. The shepherd leads them to fresh water or digs a well for them.
  • He leads them to good food. He leads them past the dry rocky ground, away from poisonous plants, to fields of green grass.
  • He keeps them from wandering away. A sheep might leave the flock and get lost, or fall into a crook in the rocks and break a bone.
  • He keeps them from danger. Wild animals lurk nearby waiting to attack a stray sheep. The shepherd protects his sheep.
  • And the shepherd leads the sheep back to their pen each night.

Jesus used sheep as a symbol for people and the shepherd as a symbol for Himself.

"What I'm about to tell you is true. What if someone does not enter the sheep pen through the gate but climbs in another way? That person is a thief and a robber. The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him. The sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought all of his own sheep out, he goes on ahead of them. His sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger. In fact, they will run away from him. They don't recognize a stranger's voice." - John 10:1-5

Often, many shepherds in a community would share a pen. There was only one gate, or door, on the pen. All the sheep and shepherds entered through that gate. One person would be the gatekeeper for the night. The gatekeeper guarded the door and only let in the rightful shepherds. A thief would have to sneak in another way. When it was time to leave the pen, the sheep actually knew their shepherd’s voice and would follow him wherever he led them.

By this comparison, Jesus meant that He was the true Shepherd, or Leader, of the Jewish people. Jesus has been proven to be the One and only King of the Jews because He fulfilled every promise that God made about the Messiah He was going to send. Anyone else is NOT the true shepherd of the Jews (2 Chronicles 23:19). Those who believe in Jesus are “His own sheep.” They know His voice and they would never follow another. It is interesting that the shepherd goes out before his sheep, and they follow him. He does not send his sheep into a place where he has not gone first. While Jesus was on earth, He experienced everything that ordinary people go through (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus tells His disciples that they must not do things their own way, but they must follow Him (Luke 9:23).

The people listening to Jesus did not understand what He meant using these symbols.

THE GATE (John 10:7-21)

Say: Jesus tried again to explain Who He was. This time Jesus compared Himself to the gate of the sheep pen, and the pen stood for forgiveness of sins and new life.

So Jesus said again, "What I'm about to tell you is true. I am like a gate for the sheep. All those who ever came before Me were thieves and robbers. But the sheep did not listen to them. I'm like a gate. Anyone who enters through Me will be saved. He will come in and go out. And he will find plenty of food. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so they can have life. I want them to have it in the fullest possible way. - John 10:7-10

Jesus said He was the ONLY way to enter into new life. All the Jewish people listening to Jesus that day knew the punishment for their sin: They were ALL separated from God (Isaiah 59:2). Jesus wanted them to understand the good news that He came to take away their punishment and give them new life. Jesus continued:

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. The hired man is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when the hired man sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired man. He does not care about the sheep.” - John 10:11-13

Ask: Who would care more about the sheep, a man who was hired to help take care of the sheep, or the man who owned the sheep? The owner. Say: The hired man would leave the sheep if danger were near. He cares more about his own safety than that of the sheep. This is what the Pharisees had done. They had the awesome responsibility of leading the Jewish people, but they did not do what was best for them. They didn’t care for the weak (Luke 20:47), or feed them with God’s truth (Matthew 16:12). They only looked out for themselves (Luke 20:46). Just the opposite, the good shepherd loves his sheep, and he would even give up his own life in order to save one of his sheep. This is EXACTLY what Jesus came to earth to do. One day Jesus would willingly lay down His life to take the punishment for all who would believe in Him (John 10:17-18).

Jesus was talking to a group of Jewish people. But He told them that He had other sheep as well (John 10:16). He said those sheep also listen to His voice. The other sheep were the non-Jewish people who would believe in Him. He said the flocks would come together as one flock, and He was the Good Shepherd.

After Jesus spoke, the people listening began to disagree with each other. Some people thought He was crazy, but others knew He was not because He had healed the blind man (John 10:19-21).


Several months later, Jesus was in the Temple courtyard. Some Jews gathered around Him and asked if He was the Messiah. Jesus said He had already told them, but they did not believe Him. He said that the miracles He performed should also prove Who He was. Again Jesus said, “My sheep listen to My voice. I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never die. No one can steal them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than anyone. No one can steal them out of My Father's hand. I and the Father are One." (John 10:27-30)

Say: It is sort of like this. Hold up the marble. This marble is a person who has placed their faith in Jesus. That person has been given to Jesus by God the Father. He or she is securely in Jesus. Place the marble in one hand and close your fist tightly. The Father and Jesus are One. Wrap your other hand tightly around your fist. No matter what may happen, NOTHING can snatch the person out of Jesus’ hand. Call on a (small) volunteer. Tell your volunteer: Using only ONE hand, because God is infinitely stronger than anything else in the universe, try to get the marble.

Say: Once a person has put their trust in Jesus, NOTHING can keep him or her from receiving forgiveness and new life (Romans 8:38-39).

Some of the people listening to Jesus became very angry that He claimed to be One with God. They wanted to kill Him, but Jesus left and crossed the Jordan River. He continued to teach, and many more people believed in Him.

Application: The Bible says, “Everyone has sinned.” Not one of us deserves to be in the presence of God because He is perfect (Romans 3:23). Ask: To whom does EVERYONE refer? Every person. EVERYONE means every person. That includes Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman at the well, the Pharisees, me, and every person in this room. The very wonderful news is that Jesus came, like a Good Shepherd, to save us. He loved us enough to lay down His life for us.

1 Peter 3:18 says, "Christ died for sins once and for all time. The One who did what is right died for those who don't do right. He died to bring you to God. His body was put to death. But the Holy Spirit brought Him back to life."

Jesus gives new life to everyone who believes in Him. He is our Good Shepherd. He guides us, feeds us, protects us, and saves us. Once we believe in Him, we are safe FOREVER. Jesus said His sheep hear His voice. They know Him and they follow Him. Are you one of His sheep? Abide with Him. Remain with Him. Hear His voice and follow Him.

PPT CUE: Key Verse

Key Verse: I am the good Shepherd. I know My sheep and My sheep know Me. - John 10:14

PPT CUE: Main Point

Main Point: Jesus is a Shepherd to all who believe in Him.

Jesus is the Good ShepherdJohn 10PPTTitle1234PPTMain Point© 2007 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only.

Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.FIT - Jesus came to reveal God’s character. We are to do the same!

The fact that God has chosen to manifest Himself through Christians has some sobering implications. In the first place, if God is to be manifested to men, His children must live godly lives. To continue to live in sin is not only a contradiction (), it is also a gross misrepresentation of God. No wonder God takes sin in the lives of His children so seriously, even though these sins have been covered by the blood of Christ! Discipline is a necessity if men are to properly represent God.

I can now better appreciate these sobering words of the prophet Samuel to disobedient Saul: “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry” ().

Idolatry was an abomination to God because any man-made idol was a misrepresentation of Him, a defamation of His character. So, too, disobedience (insubordination) is an abomination to God, for when His children are in disobedience they defame the character of the God whom they are called to represent: “Be ye holy, for I am Holy” (:44ff.; ).

We have been made stewards of the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. We are responsible to convey this message to men. But beyond this, we are also commissioned with the task of living godly lives which manifest the character of God--His kindness, His love, His holiness, His mercy, His justice.FIT - A Census? Now?! Why now?! The baby is due any day now. How will I make the trip? Did Mary have a nursery all ready for the special Baby? Did Joseph lovingly build a craddle just the perfect size for the Baby king? Did Mary sew a soft little pad to lay in the cradle? When they heard about the law demanding they leave their home, did they think this was going to ruin God’s plan?

Finally, we learn that God’s purposes are often achieved through suffering, and that God’s purposes in our suffering are often not immediately apparent. All of the suffering, inconvenience, and discomfort that was occasioned by the decree of Caesar was not immediately recognized as the sovereign hand of a loving God, who was bringing about His purposes, in a way that was for the good of those who suffered. Let us learn from Mary and Joseph that those seemingly “secular” sufferings of life are most often instruments in the hand of God, which time or eternity will make clear to us.THE INFANT JESUS

Say: Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple when He was 8 days old and then again when He was 40 days old.

The time for making them pure came as it is written in the Law of Moses. So Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem. There they presented him to the Lord. - Luke 2:22-24

In the Law of the Lord it says, "The first boy born in every family must be set apart for the Lord." (Exodus 13:2,12) They also offered a sacrifice. They did it in keeping with the Law, which says, "a pair of doves, or two young pigeons." (Leviticus 12:8)

Note to Teacher: The purification for after a child was born was for the woman - not the child (Leviticus 12:1-8; Exodus 13:2; Numbers18:15-16).

Say: While they were at the temple, they encountered two special people:

The first person they met was Simeon. The Bible says that he was a good and godly man. God told him that he would not die until he saw the Messiah. When Simeon saw Jesus, he took Him in his arms and praised God.

He said, "Lord, you are the King over all. Now let me, your servant, go in peace. That is what you promised. My eyes have seen your salvation. You have prepared it in the sight of all people. It is a light to be given to those who aren't Jews. It will bring glory to your people Israel."

The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them. He said to Mary, Jesus' mother, "This child is going to cause many people in Israel to fall and to rise. God has sent him. But many will speak against him. The thoughts of many hearts will be known. A sword will wound your own soul too." - Luke 2:28-35

The other person they encountered was Anna. Anna was an elderly woman who devoted her life to worship and prayer.

There was also a prophet named Anna. She was the daughter of Penuel from the tribe of Asher. Anna was very old. After getting married, she lived with her husband seven years. Then she was a widow until she was 84. She never left the temple. She worshiped night and day, praying and going without eating.

Anna came up to Jesus' family at that very moment. She gave thanks to God. And she spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the time when Jerusalem would be set free. - Luke 2:36-38


After Jesus' birth, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, "Where is the child who has been born to be king of the Jews? When we were in the east, we saw his star. Now we have come to worship him." - Matthew 2:1b-2

Say: Listen to what King Herod thought and then said to them:

When King Herod heard about it, he was very upset. Everyone in Jerusalem was troubled too. So Herod called together all the chief priests of the people. He also called the teachers of the law. He asked them where the Christ was going to be born.

"In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied. "This is what the prophet has written. He said,
 " 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are certainly not the least important among the towns of Judah.
A ruler will come out of you.
He will be the shepherd of my people Israel.' " (Micah 5:2)

Then Herod called for the Wise Men secretly. He found out from them exactly when the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem. He said, "Go! Make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, bring me a report. Then I can go and worship

him too." - Matthew 2:3-8

The Magi followed a star to the place where Jesus was. It was probably 1-2 years AFTER Jesus was born.

After the Wise Men had listened to the king, they went on their way. The star they had seen when they were in the east went ahead of them. It finally stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy.

The Wise Men went to the house. There they saw the child with his mother Mary. They bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures. They gave him gold, incense, and myrrh.

But God warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod. So they returned to their country on a different road. - Matthew 2:9-12

Say: God is faithful to send His people warnings when danger is near. These Magi LISTENED to God, and they did not go back to King Herod.

Not only did God warn the Magi, but He also sent His angel to warn Joseph to leave Nazareth and go to Egypt. Joseph also LISTENED to God!

When the Wise Men had left, Joseph had a dream. In the dream, an angel of the Lord appeared to him. "Get up!" the angel said. "Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you to come back. Herod is going to search for the child. He wants to kill him."

Joseph got up. During the night, he left for Egypt with the child and his mother Mary. They stayed there until King Herod died. So the words the Lord had spoken through the prophet came true. He had said, "I chose to bring my son out of Egypt."(Hosea 11:1) - Matthew 2:13-15

Say: It’s a good thing Joseph was listening to God because once Herod realized that those magi had not come back, he was furious. Do you know how crazy with anger he became? He ordered ALL the baby boys age 2 and younger be killed. This was his way of making sure that Jesus, the King of the Jews, would be dead. (Matthew 2:16-18)

Ask: Did his plan work? No

Application: It’s very important to listen to God’s warnings. God can speak to us in many different ways. He could speak to you in a dream. Most likely, He will speak to you through His Word and through your parents. It is very important to listen to the warnings that God gives.

Say: After King Herod died, an angel of the Lord told Joseph that it was safe to return to Nazareth. Matthew 2:19-23

Main Point: Jesus was born to be the Savior of the world.

PPTKey VerseSorrow and grief are not easy things to face We would avoid them if we could. We know that even Jesus wept at times.

Sorrow and grief do force us to examine life from a different perspective. We need to be attentive to what God might want to teach us through difficult times--things that He may not be able to teach us at other times. We need to be sensitive to what God would have us learn through this experience.

(Name) daughter, _____, told me that her grandmother (deceased's mother) encouraged her, maybe MADE her, memorize the 23rd Psalm as a child. I have a sneaking suspicion that (Name) had the same expectation placed upon him as a child.

I would like to look at how God reveals Himself to us as a shepherd, to see if we can gain some understanding of what God may want us to learn about Him.

God Reveals
imself to Us as a Shepherd

Jn 10:11 "I am the good shepherd.... The good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep"

Jn 10:14 "and know my sheep, and am known of mine."

• 1. We can have an intimate relationship with our Shepherd. (10:14)

• 2. It is our Shepherd who makes life abundant (10:10)

• 3. The Shepherd gave his life for us (15, 17-18)

Heb 13:20 "Jesus, the GREAT shepherd of the sheep . . . " Our shepherd rose from the dead, demonstrating to us that there is a resurrection from the dead, life after death.

1 Pet 5:4 "And when the CHIEF shepherd shall appear . . ." The shepherd is going to reappear, and we will stand accountable to Him.

• This gives purpose to life.

• This gives a standard to life.Ever since the first people chose to disobey Him, God has required an animal to be killed on the altar to pay for the sins of His people. This seems so strange and harsh to us. But God is very serious about sin. Sin leads to death - separation from God (Romans 6:23). But the Bible tells us that blood atones for sin (or makes things right with God). The life of each creature is in its blood. So I have given you the blood of animals to pay for your sin on the altar. Blood is life. That is why blood pays for your sin. - Leviticus 17:11 The life of the blood covers the death of the sin.

God promised His people that one day He would send a permanent final sacrifice to take away all the sin of those who believe (Isaiah 49:6, Romans 11:26-27). God ALWAYS keeps His promises. Jesus, God's own Son, was the answer to that promise. Jesus came to live on earth in a human body. He faced all the things that other people face, but He never sinned. He was perfect. Because He was perfect, He could die in our place as our substitution. The Bible calls Jesus, "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" - John 1:29

1 Peter 3:18 says, "Christ died for sins once and for all time. The One who did what is right died for those who don't do right. He died to bring you to God. His body was put to death. But the Holy Spirit brought Him back to life."

The Bible tells us if we know we are a sinner and believe that Jesus is God and came to die in our place, we will be saved.

1 © 2010 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Related Topics: Christology, Children, Children's Curriculum

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