The Good Shepherd

Theme: Jesus lays down his life for his sheep - Fourth Sunday of Easter
Object: Pictures of dogs, cats, or some other animals which someone might own as a pet.
Scripture: "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me--just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep." John 10:14-15 (NIV)

How many of you have a pet? There are many animals that make good pets. The most popular are cats and dogs, but birds and fish are also quite popular. Some children like hamsters or Guinea pigs for a pet. If you live in the country and have a lot of room, you might even own a large animal such as a horse.

If you choose to have a pet, it is a big responsibility. You must be willing to take care of it. You have to feed it and make sure it has plenty of water. You must keep it clean and take it to the veterinarian when it is sick. You have to make sure your pet is kept in a safe place and, if it wanders off and gets lost, you must go and look for it and bring it back home.

As I think about having a pet and taking care of it, I am reminded about something that Jesus said about himself. Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd." A shepherd is a person who takes care of sheep. Sheep can't take care of themselves. They need someone to watch over them and care for them. They need someone to protect them from harm. Jesus said he knows his sheep and his sheep know him. He said that he was even willing to lay down his life for his sheep. Jesus must really love his sheep!

As you might have guessed, Jesus wasn't really talking about sheep. He was talking about you and me. We are his "sheep." He loves us, he takes care of us, he makes sure that we have everything that we need. He was even willing to give his life so that you and I could live with him forever in heaven.

There is no doubt about it. Jesus really loves his sheep!

Dear Jesus, we are thankful to you for being our Good Shepherd. Thank you for loving us and taking care of us. Most of all, we thank you for laying down your life for us so that we can have everlasting life in heaven with you. Amen.


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