Lesson 23: Jesus Christ Is the Good Shepherd

Primary 2: Choose the Right A, (1995), 119–23


Purpose

To help each child understand that every person is important to Jesus Christ.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study Luke 15:1–7 and John 10:1–18.

  2. 2.

    Paste picture 2-44, The Lost Sheep, onto heavy paper. Then cut it into puzzle pieces, making sure the entire sheep is on one piece of the puzzle. (Save these puzzle pieces for use with future classes.) Before class, hide the puzzle piece with the sheep on it somewhere in the classroom where it will not be easily found.

  3. 3.

    Using the pattern at the end of the lesson, make a copy or tracing of a lamb for each person in the class, including yourself. Write each person’s name on a lamb.

  4. 4.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      A Bible.

    2. b.

      Picture 2-43, A Shepherd.

  5. 5.

    Make the necessary preparations for any enrichment activities you want to use.

Suggested Lesson Development

Invite a child to give the opening prayer.

Follow up with the children if you encouraged them to do something during the week. You may want to have the children report on their experiences in trying to be peacemakers in their homes.

Shepherds Care for Their Sheep

Attention activity

Show picture 2-43, A Shepherd.

  • Who is this man?

Explain that the man in the picture is a shepherd, like those who lived when Jesus Christ was on the earth.

  • What is he wearing?

Point out the shepherd’s cloak. Explain that this cloak, made of sheepskin or wool, protects the shepherd from the hot desert sun and the cold nights. The covering on his head also protects him from the sun. The shepherd carries a container of water and a stick that is called a staff.

  • What does a shepherd do?

Explain that a shepherd takes care of sheep. The sheep know the shepherd’s voice, and they follow where he leads them. Point out that the shepherd does not herd the sheep from behind. He walks in front of them to show them where to go. The shepherd leads his sheep to green pastures where they find good grass to eat. He also leads them to water. At night he leads them back to the sheepfold, which is a walled or fenced area or a cave where the sheep are safe from wild animals and thieves. The shepherd stands guard at the entrance to the sheepfold and protects his sheep. The shepherd counts his sheep to make sure that not one is lost.

Each Lamb Is Important to Its Shepherd

Story

Explain that all shepherds, whether in Jesus’ time or today, care about and protect their sheep. Tell the following story in your own words:

Carrie and Jimmy lived on a farm. Their family raised sheep, and Carrie and Jimmy had their own little flock of lambs. They took good care of their lambs. They were good shepherds.

One night there was a big storm. The wind blew down part of the fence in the corral where Carrie and Jimmy’s lambs were kept. A crash of thunder frightened the lambs, and they all ran out of the corral.

When morning came Carrie and Jimmy ran outside to care for their lambs. But the lambs were nowhere to be found. Carrie and Jimmy were worried. They started to follow the lambs’ tracks on the damp ground. Soon Carrie and Jimmy had found all but one of their lambs.

  • What do you think Carrie and Jimmy did?

Carrie and Jimmy herded the lambs back into the corral and went looking for the lost lamb. They noticed that one set of tracks went in a different direction than the other tracks. They followed this set of tracks.

Carrie and Jimmy finally found the lamb. Its leg was caught in a hole, and it was tired and weak. They gently carried the lamb home, and Jimmy held it while Carrie cleaned the scrapes on its leg. Carrie and Jimmy were very happy to have found all their lambs.

  • Why did Carrie and Jimmy continue looking for the last lamb after they had found the others?

Puzzle activity

Place the pieces of the puzzle that you have made on the floor or on a table, and help the children put the puzzle together.

When the children realize that one piece is missing, point out that the missing piece has a picture of a sheep on it.

  • What does a good shepherd do when a sheep is lost?

Scripture story

Hold up the Bible and tell the children that in the Bible Jesus Christ tells us what a good shepherd does when a sheep is lost. Explain that while Jesus was on the earth he often taught people by telling stories. One of his stories was about a shepherd and his lost sheep. Read aloud Luke 15:4.

  • What does the Bible say a good shepherd should do?

Dramatization activity

Ask the children to pretend they are shepherds. Have them each pretend to put on a cloak and carry a staff, and then have them look for the lost puzzle piece with the sheep on it. When the puzzle piece is found, praise all the shepherds and gather them to complete the puzzle.

Ask the children how they felt when the piece was found.

Scripture

Tell how the shepherd in the parable felt when he found his sheep, as told in Luke 15:5–6. Compare what the children experienced with what Jesus said a good shepherd would do and feel.

Jesus Christ Is the Good Shepherd and We Are His Lambs

Scripture discussion

Read aloud John 10:14.

  • Who is the good shepherd in this scripture?

Explain that the words in the scripture are Jesus Christ’s words. He is the Good Shepherd.

  • Who are the sheep in Jesus’ fold? (Explain that fold here means a group of sheep.)

Help the children understand that they are some of the sheep in Jesus’ fold. Explain that the Savior compared himself to a shepherd because he loves and cares for each of us like a shepherd cares for the sheep. He wants each of us to be safe and happy. Just as a shepherd knows each sheep, Jesus knows each one of us. We are all important to him.

Activity

Show the paper lambs with the children’s names on them. Hold up a lamb and say, “(Child’s name) is one of the lambs in Jesus’ fold.” Then display the lamb on the table or floor. Continue this activity until you have mentioned everyone, including yourself. When you come to a child who is not present, say something like this: “(Child’s name) is one of the lambs in Jesus’ fold, and Jesus knows she isn’t at Primary today. He wants all his lambs to be here.”

After this activity, pick up all the lambs and have the children count them together. Point out that this is how many children should be in the class or how many lambs should be in the fold. Compare this number to the number of children present in the class today. Tell the children that you hope they will all come every week unless they are sick or out of town because you want to help take care of them and teach them. Emphasize how important it is to Jesus that all his lambs come to Primary.

Suggest that the children be shepherds and find the lost lambs—the children who are not attending Primary today—and help lead them back to Primary.

Summary

Testimony

Bear testimony that each child is important to Jesus Christ and that Jesus loves and cares about each one of them.

Give each child the lamb with his or her name on it. Encourage the children to take their lambs home and share what they have learned about shepherds and the Good Shepherd with their families.

Invite a child to give the closing prayer.

Enrichment Activities

Choose from the following activities those that will work best for the children in your class. You can use them in the lesson itself or as a review or summary. For additional guidance, see “Class Time” in “Helps for the Teacher.”

  1. 1.

    Have the children write a note or draw a picture to be given to a child who was not at Primary today. It might say something like, “We missed you at Primary” or “Come join us at Primary.”

  2. 2.

    Let the children color their lambs or glue cotton balls to the lambs to make them fluffy.

  3. 3.

    Help the children do the activity verse “Jesus Loves All Children”:

    Jesus loves all children (hold arms outstretched),
    The little ones still small (use hand to indicate knee-high child),
    The baby in the cradle (form cradle with arms),
    The ones so big and tall (raise hands high over head).

    (From Finger Fun for Little Folk by Thea Cannon. © 1949 by the Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. Used by permission.)

  4. 4.

    Sing or say the words to “Jesus Loved the Little Children” (Children’s Songbook, p. 59) or “I Feel My Savior’s Love” (Children’s Songbook, p. 74). The words to these songs are included at the back of the manual.

  5. 5.

    Sing or say the words to the first verse of “Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd” (Hymns, no. 221).

    Dear to the heart of the Shepherd,
    Dear are the sheep of his fold;
    Dear is the love that he gives them,
    Dearer than silver or gold.
    Dear to the heart of the Shepherd,
    Dear are his “other” lost sheep;
    Over the mountains he follows,
    Over the waters so deep.
    Out in the desert they wander,
    Hungry and helpless and cold;
    Off to the rescue he hastens,
    Bringing them back to the fold.