Parable of the Lost Sheep

Age 5+: Read Luke 15:1-7, Matthew 18:10-14
Under 5: Read about the parable of the lost sheep below.
Jesus told a story, called a parable, about a lost sheep. One day a shepherd was watching over his sheep when he realized one was missing. He counted them again and instead of having one hundred sheep, he only had 99. Sometimes sheep like to wander away, and sometimes they are killed by a wolf or a lion.The shepherd was very worried about that one missing sheep. He left all the other sheep in the pasture and went to look for the one that was lost. He looked all over the place and didn't stop looking until he found that one lost sheep. When he finally found the sheep, he was so happy! He joyfully picked up the sheep and carried it home. Then he called all his friends and neighbors to celebrate with him.

Each one that belongs to Jesus is precious - just like that one sheep was to the shepherd. Jesus is our good shepherd. He cares for and watches over us.

Discussion

Preschool questions:
How many sheep was the shepherd missing? One.
How did the shepherd feel after he found his sheep? Happy!
Who is our "Shepherd?" Jesus.

Elementary questions:
What is a parable? A story that teaches a lesson.
What did the shepherd do when he finally found the missing sheep? He picked it up and carried it home, celebrated with his friends and neighbors.

Preteen application:
If the shepherd didn't go look for the sheep, would it find its way back on its own? No, sheep have a tendency to wander, or get lost, and quickly become easy prey.
What does this parable teach us about God? God does not rejoice in the loss of anyone, but desires that we be saved and restored to friendship with Him. We are like sheep, and sometimes stray away from God. He sent Jesus to be our Shepherd to seek us out and bring us back to Him.

Memory Verse: Psalm 23:1 "The Lord is my shepherd."

Journal (age 8+) Copy memory verse, write why you feel Jesus is your "Shepherd," and write down any prayer requests.

Journal (age 3+) Draw and color a picture of a shepherd taking care of his sheep. Copy memory verse if able.

Optional Activity: Play a fun game of hide and seek. Keep looking and looking until each person is found. Reverse roles and let everyone have a turn searching. Remember that we are never lost to Jesus. He will always lead us to Him.

Prayer: Praise and thank God, ask for forgiveness, submit any prayer requests.