Family Sunday School Devotional for August 2
“The Good Shepherd” from John 10
Listen to- “Grace (Ephesians 2:8)” from Seeds Family Worship here:
and- “The Good Shepherd” by Fernando Ortega here:
for younger kids- “I Just Wanna Be a Sheep” by Christian Puppets here:
Supplies Needed- For older kids: cotton balls (or pom poms), masking/painter’s tape
Summary- Jesus is the Good Shepherd who cares for His people.
Introduction Younger Kid Activity- We’re Going to the Sheep Pen (Like “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”) Sit in a circle and pat knees in rhythm while chanting: “We’re going to the sheep pen, we’re going to be safe there. Uh oh! A thief! Run away!” On the last line, point and act scared, then guide children to pat knees frantically as if running away. Return to normal rhythm, repeating the first part, but substituting “thief” with “wolf” or other dangers to sheep. Finish by replacing the last line with: “Finally! The gate! Come on in.” Say, “Whew, I’m glad we made it to safety! There were a lot of dangers along the way. Sheep need shepherds to protect them and guide them safely home. Jesus taught that He is the Good Shepherd. He protects God’s people and guides them safely home to God’s kingdom.”
Introduction Older Kid Activity- Cotton Ball Toss Place cotton balls on a table within a masking table “corral” and invite children to stand around the table. Explain that when you say “go”, one child must remove one cotton ball at a time and place it in a different place on the table, trying to scatter as many cotton balls as possible, while other children return cotton balls to their “corral”, also one at a time. Stop whenever you like or switch roles. Say, “When you were gathering cotton balls, you were doing the work of a shepherd, gather sheep. The Bible describes Jesus as a shepherd. Today we will find out why Jesus is called ‘the Good Shepherd’.”
Big Picture Question- Say, “Our Big Picture Question asks: What did Jesus teach when He was on earth? The answer to our question is: Jesus taught about God and His kingdom. He taught that all Scripture is about Him. Because of Jesus’ teachings recorded in God’s Word, we know a lot about God. Jesus’ role on earth was to live a perfect life, die as the perfect sacrifice for sin, and come back to life to defeat death. A part of His perfect life was telling people about God and His kingdom. Jesus wanted people to know God personally. His work on the cross made it possible for us to understand and obey God’s Word.”
Bible Story- Timeline Say, “We have learned a lot about Jesus’ teachings. Jesus taught people how to live in God’s kingdom. We know that following Jesus is not easy, but He is worth it. Jesus taught people how to pray, and Jesus taught people not to worry because God provides for our needs. Open a Bible to John 10:7-18. Say, “Whose words does Jesus speak? (God’s words) Where do we read God’s words? (in the Bible) Is the Bible true? (yes!) Today’s story comes from the Book of John.” Read or tell the story in your own words from this passage (this story is not included in the Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook).
Christ Connection- Say, “Jesus is the Good Shepherd. God sent Him to rescue sinners. Jesus laid down His life for His sheep so they could have forgiveness and eternal life. When we trust in Jesus, we are His sheep who listen to, follow, and obey Him.”
Key Passage- Open a Bible to John 14:25-26. Read the verses aloud. Say, “Jesus wanted His sheep to know His teachings and obey Him. That’s why He sent the Holy Spirit to live with us and help us remember and obey God’s Word.”
Review Questions- Ask the following questions:
- *PreK- Who is the Good Shepherd? (Jesus)
- *PreK- Who are Jesus’ sheep? (those who trust in Him)
- *PreK- What do sheep do when they hear the shepherd’s voice? (follow him)
- *PreK- What did Jesus come to give His people? (life with God forever)
- *PreK- How does Jesus give His people life with God forever? (Jesus gave up His life so His people could be forgiven from sin.)
- Why does a thief come? (to steal, kill, and destroy; John 10:10)
- Why do you think Jesus compares people to sheep? (Guide kids to understand that sheep are animals that need guidance. On their own, they cannot thrive. Help them understand that using the imagery of sheep also calls back to Psalm 23 and Old Testament leaders like David, Moses, and Jacob- all shepherds.)
- How can we become part of Jesus’ flock? (Guide kids to see that Jesus’ flock includes all people who have faith in Jesus. We cannot earn salvation, but God gives it freely to all who believe the truth of the Gospel. Remind kids that salvation comes by grace through faith.)
- How do you feel knowing that no one can snatch us from Jesus? (Lead kids to read John 10:28. Help them see that everyone who has faith in Jesus has eternal life. Explain to them that Jesus’ promise is not based on our behavior but on His power and goodness. Share your thoughts about these promises.)
- What did Jesus teach when He was on earth? (Jesus taught about God and His kingdom. He taught that all Scripture is about Him.)
Say, “Jesus is the Good Shepherd who cares for His people. Jesus said He would lay down His life for His sheep, and He died on the cross for our sins. He said He would take His life up again, and He rose from the dead on the third day. We can trust Jesus’ promises to protect and care for us.”
For Older Kids- Also, ask the following questions:
- What can you do when you feel lost and God feels far away? (Encourage kids to consider how lost sheep react. They cannot find their way back on their own, but when they cry out, the shepherd hears and rescues them. We can cry out to God, seeking Him through prayer and His Word. He will bring us back to Himself. Read Psalm 77)
- How can the way you live point others to Jesus as the Good Shepherd? (Lead kids to discuss how living sacrificially can give kids the opportunity to tell others about the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Remind kids that as Jesus’ sheep, believers should seek to listen to, follow, and obey Him. Read 1 Timothy 4:12)
Reflection- Ask older children to answer one of the following questions:
- What does this story teach me about God or the Gospel?
- What does the story teach me about myself?
- Whom can I tell about this story?
Further Learning- Take about 15 minutes to do one of the activities from the 2020 Missions Conference At-Home from our church’s website. Many activities have internet links to view videos or see simple directions for crafts, science object lessons, music appreciation/interaction, cultural information, games, and food recipes. With a few extra minutes of planning, prepare for next week’s missions activity.
Pray- Thank God for caring for us, His sheep. Ask for help from the Holy Spirit to joyfully listen to, follow, and obey Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
Adult Sunday School Devotional for August 2
“Jesus Teaches about the Good Shepherd” from John 10
Listen to- “Shepherd of My Soul” by Rivers and Robots here:
and- “Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us” by Joslin Grove Choir here:
Summary- Jesus declared that He is the good shepherd who knows and cares for His sheep and who lays down His life so they might live.
Christ Connection- Jesus is the good shepherd, sent by the Father, to lay down His life for the sheep so that they might have life. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, we have abundant life in Him and through Him.
Point 1. Jesus is the gate that leads to abundant life (read aloud John 10:7-10).
Note- In an increasingly pluralistic society, to say there is only one way to God- only one way to be saved- is an unpopular opinion. With so many ideas, religions, and philosophies out there, it has become unacceptable in our culture to claim only one path to God. Modern religions today say, “Do certain things, obey these rules, and you are ‘in’.” Irreligion says everyone is already “in” and truth is relative. But the gate is not a set of teachings to follow. The gate is a person. Jesus declared plainly that He is the only way to be saved from God’s coming judgment (see Acts 4:12).
Note- To “go in and out and find pasture” means that we are always going through Jesus and we never move past Him. We have abundant life because we get Him! In Christ, we have the bread of life that satisfies our spiritual hunger and we receive the water of eternal life that quenches all spiritual thirst (see John 4:14; 6:35). We often talk about our future inheritance as believers- resurrection and heaven- but we also get to enjoy the richness of life in relationship with God in Christ here and now. If we seem to “find” life anywhere else other than in Christ, then that thing will ultimately steal our joy and destroy our lives. The “thief” could come even in the form of good things- family, career, ministry- if they turn us away from Christ. Nothing can bear the burden of our desire for joy; only Jesus can. He doesn’t promise a pain-free life: people might betray you; miscarriages still happen; jobs might be lost. Yet these can’t steal the abundance of our life in faith because it is secure in the person and work of Christ. We aren’t promised an easy life, but we are promised a full life.
Respond- How would you describe the abundant life that comes through faith in Jesus?
Point 2. Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep (read aloud John 10:11-13).
Note- In these verses, Jesus switched His metaphor from a gate to a shepherd who watches over his sheep, and He likened the religious leaders of the day to hired hands and Himself to the good shepherd. For the hired hand, watching sheep was just a job, a paycheck to earn. But what would happen when the hired hand saw a wolf creeping toward the sheep pen? He would run, choosing his own safety over the lives of the sheep. The shepherd, on the other hand, has a vested interest in the sheep because they actually belong to him. In contrast to the hired hand, the good shepherd doesn’t run away from danger but willingly steps in front of danger to protect his sheep.
Respond- How should the fact that believers belong to the Shepherd affect the way we think, feel, and live?
Christ as Propitiation: Because of God’s righteousness and holiness, humanity’s sin must be atoned for in order for people to be reconciled to God. As the propitiation for sins, Christ’s death is the appeasement or satisfaction of God’s wrath against sin. Christ’s propitiation for our sins demonstrates both God’s great love toward sinners (see 1 John 4:10) as well as the necessary payment that results from the penalty of sins (see Romans 3:26).
Point 3. Jesus is the good shepherd who knows His sheep (read aloud John 10:14-18).
Note- Shepherds and sheep knew each other pretty well. The sheep knew the voice of their caretaker and knew to head toward that voice when the shepherd called. The shepherd was the source of food, water, and safety, so the sheep learned to follow his voice alone and not to follow strange voices. Likewise, the shepherd spent most of his day with the sheep, and he would learn each sheep by heart. The shepherd could walk into a crowd of mixed sheep and pick out his own. Jesus doesn’t just know things about us; He knows us at the deepest level, including our weaknesses and failures and sin patterns, and still He loved us enough to lay down His life. And we also have access to know Him, through the Word of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Respond- What does knowing what Jesus knows about you change your relationship with Him?
Conclusion- We have all gone astray from God’s plan for us, and in this, we are just like sheep (see Isaiah 53:6). We have looked at the path of righteousness and turned our backs on it to go our own way, like sheep without a shepherd. For this, we all deserve God’s judgment. But God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son for our redemption (see John 3:16). As wayward, sinful sheep, we need the Good Shepherd who opens the doorway for us to come home, who leads us on right paths, and who laid down His life so we could be saved. He saves all those who believe in Him, and now we have the joy of helping other wayward sheep come home by proclaiming the Gospel of our Good Shepherd.
Apply- Because Jesus laid down His life for us so that we might be saved, we live sacrificially as we point others to the sacrifice Christ made for us.
-What step of faith does Jesus call you to take?
-What are some ways your family can encourage your pastor and ministry leaders in their shepherding role as they reflect the Good Shepherd?
-Who are some wayward sheep in your life who need to hear the good news about the Good Shepherd?
(Pray, praising Jesus for being a good shepherd. Thank Him for laying down His life so that we might be reconciled to the Father. Ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit to point others to Him and what He has done through the cross and resurrection to give abundant life to His sheep.)