God Shepherds His People (John 10) Lesson #33 in What is God Like?
AGE GROUP: elementary (ages 6-11)
TIME REQUIRED: 45 minutes
This is lesson 33 of 42 in our study on the Attributes of God called “Can you tell me what God is like?” Visit the series index to view all the lessons and get more ideas for using this curriculum in your children’s ministry.
LESSON 33: GOD SHEPHERDS HIS PEOPLE
- Key Verse: “I am the Good shepherd. The Good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:11
- Teaching Passage: John 10
- Supporting Texts: John 10, Psalm 23, Zechariah 9:16, Ezekiel 34:23
Bibles, previous attribute of God posters, a large piece of paper with the words GOD SHEPHERDS HIS PEOPLE written on it, key verse (John 10:11) printed on a piece of paper, pictures of a sheep, a dog, a shepherd’s staff and a cross, blank paper and markers or colored pencils for each child in the group.
REVIEW PREVIOUS LESSONS:
Ask one of the kids in the group to remind you what you’re learning this year. Remind them that each week we’ll be looking into the Bible to answer the question… “Can you tell me what God is like?” and will be learning one of the many truths about God that we see in His Word.
Take a few minutes to review the attributes you’ve previously learned. Have kids each name one of the previous attributes and have the next child either tell the definition or do the motion before naming the next attribute.
- God is Almighty= He has absolute power or is all powerful
- God is the Alpha and Omega= He is the beginning and the end, the first and the last
- God is Awesome = He inspires awe and amazement
- God is Compassionate = He shows a deep concern for His people & a desire to meet their needs
- God is the Deliverer = He is the rescuer or savior
- God is Exalted = He is noble, elevated and lifted up
- God is Faithful = He is reliable, trustworthy, true to His Word & keeps His promises
- God Forgives = He grants pardon and cancels the debt of sin
- God is Glorious = He is full of glory (praise, honor & distinction)
- God is Good = morally excellent, virtuous or righteous
- God is Gracious = merciful, benevolent, kind & compassionate
- God Guides His People= He leads, accompanies, assists and gives direction/ guidance
- God Heals = make healthy & whole & free from ailments
- God is Holy = He is sinless, perfect and set apart
- God is our Hope = He is the One in whom our expectations are centered
- Jesus is Immanuel = God with Us
- God is Judge = He is the One who rules over and passes judgement on others
- God is Just = He is the One who is fair and does what is right
- God is King of kings & Lord of lords = He is The One who rules the rulers
- Jesus is the Lamb without blemish = He is the perfect sacrifice for sin
- God is Love = God has tender and caring affection for His people
- God is Majestic = God is stately, kingly, grand & raised up
- God is Merciful = God is full of compassion, pity, and undeserved grace & love for another
- God is Omnipotent = He is almighty or infinite in power
- God is Omnipresent = He is everywhere all the time
- God is Omniscient = He knows everything
- God is One = the Only God
- God Protects His People = He defends, guards, covers & shields His people
- God is Righteous = He is always right & He always does what is right
- God is the Rock = solid, strong and offering protection
- God provides the PERFECT SACRIFICE for sin = Jesus is the gift or payment that paid for our sin
- God Saves = to rescue from danger
TEACH- SHEPHERDS HIS PEOPLE:
To introduce the attribute for the day, show kids pictures of a sheep, a dog, a shepherd’s staff and a cross, and ask them to try and guess what attribute of God these pictures could be telling us about. Hopefully someone will think of shepherd. Take a moment to explain that a shepherd is very important for sheep because sheep aren’t very smart and that without a shepherd they would all wander off in all different directions and end up hurting themselves or being attacked by wild animals. That’s where shepherds come in. Shepherds take care of sheep, shepherds guard sheep and shepherds watch over sheep. Explain that in our story this morning they’ll hear about another task of a shepherd and they should listen carefully to hear what it is.
Introduce the story from John 10 and explain that today’s attribute of God is one that Jesus Himself announced to the people as a way to explain who He is and what He came to earth to do. Explain that the idea of God being a shepherd to His people wasn’t anything new, in fact in Psalm 23 (read to the group) David said that the Lord is His Shepherd. And, in Ezekiel 34:23 God said that He would give His people a shepherd to guide them. The people were waiting for this shepherd to come.
Then, one day while Jesus was teaching the people He started out by saying that He was the gate for the sheep and that only those who enter through Him would be saved and that He is the Good shepherd who knows His sheep by name and who will lay down His life for His sheep.
Read John 10:1-18 and/ or tell the story in your own words highlighting the following points:
- Jesus is the gate for the sheep to enter through and be saved.
- Jesus is the Good Shepherd who came to die for His people.
- Jesus said that He knows His sheep by name and that His sheep know His voice and will follow Him.
- Jesus said that He would lay down His life (die) for His sheep and that no one would take His life away from Him, but that He would willingly die for them.
- Jesus said that He is the Son of God and that He has authority over life and death.
- The Jewish leaders got angry when they heard all this because basically Jesus was saying that He is God.
DEFINE AND REMEMBER:
To help the kids remember this truth about God, take a few minutes to define the attribute.
SHEPHERD = TENDS, GUARDS AND WATCHED OVER
Since motions & actions help kids remember, choose an action for SHEPHERD. A good motion might be to pretend to hold and pet a sheep.
SAY:” Today we’re talking about the truth that God shepherds His people. Our key verse for the week is …
“I am the Good shepherd. The Good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:11
Have kids work in groups (or pairs) to illustrate the way that the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. The trick is that they need to include both a shepherd’s staff and a cross in their pictures. Give kids a few minutes to work and then have them show their pictures to the rest of the class.
Read the memory verse (John 10:11) a few times together and do the motion for shepherd.
Reread John 10:11, 17-18. Ask the kids what Jesus meant when He said that He lays down His life. Ask them when and how Jesus laid down His life. Remind the kids that the whole reason Jesus came to earth was to die on the cross for His sheep (His people). Ask one of the kids to remind you why this was necessary and talk briefly about how the Bible tells us that we are all sinners (Romans 5:12) and that the punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). Talk about how without Jesus we are all like a sheep without a shepherd- we’re all going our own way, but that Jesus came to pay the price for our sin and to shepherd His sheep and die in our place.
Give each child a blank piece of paper provide markers or colored pencils. Encourage them to write the word shepherd somewhere on the paper and then write or draw something to help them remember this attribute of God. They could write the definition or the memory verse or they could illustrate the the story. After a few minutes, bring the group back together and give kids time to share what they have drawn or written.
Pray that the kids in the group would come to know God more and more each week through this study and that they would remember that all of us are sinners who need to be saved and that they would thank God for the gift of Jesus and the gift of salvation for all who believe in Jesus. Thank God for sending Jesus as the Good Shepherd to lay down His life for His people.