To help the children learn to show love for Jesus Christ by helping others to understand and live the gospel.
Prayerfully study John 21:1–17 and Mark 16:15. Then study the lesson and decide how to teach the children the scripture account. (See “Preparing Your Lessons,” p. vi, and “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p vii.)
Select the discussion questions and enrichment activities that will involve the children and best help them achieve the purpose of the lesson.
Make a small cutout of a sheep for each child enrolled in your class (see the pattern at the end of the lesson), and write each child’s name on a cutout. (Or write the children’s names on individual pieces of paper.) Before class put the cutouts around the room so the children can see them.
A Bible or a New Testament for each child.
Picture 7-38, Jesus and the Fishermen (Gospel Art Picture Kit 210; 62138).
Suggested Lesson Development
Invite a child to give the opening prayer.
Ask the children to look around the room and tell you what they see that is different. Tell them that the sheep they see are scattered and that each child can help gather the sheep by finding the one with his or her name on it and bringing it to you. If any cutouts of sheep are left, explain that you will mention these other sheep later in the lesson.
Invite one child to participate in a role play with you. Calling the child by his or her full name, say, “(Name), do you love our Savior, Jesus Christ?” After the answer say, “Feed his lambs.” Repeat the child’s name and this question two more times, and after each answer say, “Feed his sheep.” Ask the child how he or she felt when you kept asking the same question. Explain that Peter had a similar experience with Jesus after Jesus was resurrected.
Teach the children the account of Jesus’ appearing to his disciples by the Sea of Tiberias (or Galilee) from John 21:1–17. (For suggested ways to teach the scripture account, see “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p. vii.) Use the picture at an appropriate time.
Discussion and Application Questions
Study the following questions and the scripture references as you prepare your lesson. Use the questions you feel will best help the children understand the scriptures and apply the principles in their lives. Reading the references with the children in class will help them gain insights into the scriptures.
What were Peter and the other disciples doing at the Sea of Tiberias? (John 21:3.) What did Jesus tell the Apostles to do when they hadn’t caught any fish? (John 21:5–6.) Why do you think John realized it was Jesus when the net was full of fish? (John 21:6–7.) What did Peter do? (John 21:7.) Why do you think Peter did this? (When he knew it was Jesus, he couldn’t wait to be near him.)
What question did Jesus ask Peter? (John 21:15.) Why do you think Jesus asked Peter this question three times? How did Peter feel when Jesus asked him the same question three times? (John 21:17.) What were Peter’s responsibilities now that Jesus had died and was resurrected?
What did Jesus mean when he said, “Feed my sheep”? Who are his sheep? (All of Heavenly Father’s children.) What does Jesus want his sheep to be fed? (The truths of the gospel.) What had Jesus called his Apostles to do? (Mark 16:15.)
Help the children understand from this discussion that Jesus had commanded his Apostles to preach the gospel, and he wanted them to continue this work, not go back to fishing. Peter was now the President of the Church, and it was his responsibility to lead the Church and direct the efforts to spread Jesus’ gospel.
Do we have shepherds today who feed Jesus’ sheep? Who are they? (See enrichment activity 2.)
If there are still sheep cutouts around the room, ask one of the children to gather them and bring them to the front. Explain that some of these children whose names are on the sheep may need a shepherd to help feed them the gospel.
How can we be shepherds and feed Jesus’ sheep? (By setting good examples, by visiting those who do not usually attend class and being friends with them at school, by standing up for the gospel and the Church, by serving those in need, and so on.) How can we help family members and friends better understand gospel principles? Why are we showing our love for Jesus when we help others?
You may use one or more of the following activities any time during the lesson or as a review, summary, or challenge.
Write Feed My Sheep at the top of a large chart (or use the chalkboard). Discuss with the children ways they can show their love for Jesus by feeding his sheep. Write their suggestions on the chart or chalkboard. Use the following ideas, if necessary:
Be a good example by attending church, using clean language, obeying the commandments, being honest, praying, studying the scriptures, living what you learn, and obeying your parents and the laws of the land.
Bear testimony to members and nonmembers.
Help others choose the right when they are tempted.
Talk about the gospel to people who don’t know about it.
Pray and study the scriptures to grow closer to the Lord.
Give the children each a piece of paper and a pencil and ask them to write, “I will be a good shepherd by .” Ask the children to finish this sentence by writing how they plan to be a good shepherd.
List on the chalkboard some Church callings, such as bishop, teacher, stake president, home teacher, visiting teacher, missionary, prophet, apostle, Primary president, and so on. Ask each child to choose one of the callings and tell how that person helps feed the Savior’s sheep. Ask the children to share experiences when teachers, friends, or family members helped them learn more about the gospel. You could share an experience that you have had.
On slips of paper write the following or similar situations in which the children could help others be stronger members of the Church. Ask a child to choose one of the slips of paper, read it silently, and act out the situation. Have the other children guess what the situation is and discuss how they could feed Jesus’ sheep in such a situation. Give each child a turn.
Some of the children in your class are disturbing others during the lesson.
Some of your friends want to watch a bad movie.
A friend of yours urges you to take some candy from the store without paying for it.
One of your group wants the rest of you to drink some beer or not keep the Word of Wisdom in some other way.
Explain that a good opportunity to help someone become acquainted with or grow in the gospel usually comes when you are his or her friend. Talk about what the children like in a friend and how they can develop these traits.
After careful thought and preparation, tell each child in a short note some of the characteristics they have that you appreciate. Point out the reasons you would like to be their friend.
Have the children explain how the following scriptures apply to us today:
Sing or read the words to
“Dare to Do Right” (Children’s Songbook, p. 158) or “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus” (Children’s Songbook, p. 78).
Bear testimony that as members of the Church, we each have the responsibility to help others learn about the gospel and grow closer to Jesus Christ. Share with the children your feelings about being able to share the gospel with them.
Suggested Home Reading
Suggest that the children study John 21:1–17 at home as a review of this lesson.
Invite a child to give the closing prayer.