The Lost Sheep
Matthew 18:12-14. Luke 15:3-7. Ezekiel 34:11-16.
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The parable of the Lost Sheep is one of the simplest stories to illustrate God’s love to us and show Jesus as the ‘Good Shepherd’.
Instead of an opening discussion, we showed this video in class available on youtube; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyWZeOlaRo4. It’s a short cartoon illustrating the parable without words, excellent for young children, but also entertaining generally.
The parable of the lost sheep appears in two gospels and so it is entirely up to you which one you use. We used Luke 15:3-7, but it also appears in Matthew 18:12-14.
Sheep have a natural tendency to wander off; if they get lost they would have no way of finding their way home again. Ask the children if they had ever gotten lost before? Most might not have gotten seriously lost before, but a lot of children find themselves separated from their parents in the simplest of circumstance, sometimes just in a supermarket.
Ask them how they felt when they got lost. That is what happened to the sheep. The sheep wandered off and got lost without hope of finding his way back.
When you think something is lost what do you do? Do you ask people if they have seen it? Do you leave it and wait until it turns up again? Or do you try and find it? When the Shepherd realises that the sheep is missing he leaves his flock of ninety nine and goes immediately in search of the sheep until he finds it. When he does find it he rejoices and spreads the word around his friends to celebrate with him.
A parable is a story told by Jesus to help us understand things about God and His ways. In this parable God is showing us something of His love. When we sin we separate ourselves from God, but when we turn back to God and allow Him to bring us back to His love He celebrates our return. There is more rejoicing over the return of a sinner than there is for those who do not need to ask forgiveness because they have not sinned. Think about when we do something wrong and ask God for his forgiveness, how wonderful it is to know that when we do this, God celebrates, so happy is he to take us back into His love.
(10-15 mins plus preparation)
You will need:
Thin cardboard (we used cereal boxes)
Clothing pegs (2 per sheep)
-It might be worth painting the pegs black beforehand, as you will not be able to stick them to the craft until they have dried.
– Draw a circle onto a piece of card (we drew around a large glass) and cut it out.
– On one side of the card write ‘We are His sheep’ around the edges, following the circle.
– Cover the reverse in glue and press onto this the cotton wool, covering the cardboard.
– On the black paper draw a sheep’s head outline, cut this out. Draw eyes and a mouth onto it, stick this onto the cotton wool side.
– Glue the pegs, as legs, onto the back of the ‘sheep’ so that it can stand freely.
– Cut out a small square of paper and write ‘Jesus is the Good Shepherd’ on it. Glue this on the back of the sheep so it covers the back of the pegs. The sheep should stand of its own accord and remind the children that we are the Lord’s sheep.
There are more crafts suited to this lesson available in our All Purpose Crafts series.