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Shepherd and Door

[1]From Saving the Ants by Ruth Gilmore

For the Fourth Sunday of Easter

Scripture Reference: John 10:1-10 “I am the gate for the sheep… Those who come in through me will be saved.”

Preparation: (Optional) You can bring a picture of Jesus as the Shepherd or point out a picture in the church. Show your illustration after asking the children if they know who the Good Shepherd is. Pick your volunteer ‘wolf’ out ahead of time.

Who is the Good Shepherd? Can anyone tell me? (Let children respond.) Yes, Jesus is the Good Shepherd. (You may show your illustration here.) In the Gospel lesson read today, Jesus says, “I am the door of the sheep fold.” So besides being a shepherd, Jesus is the door.

Did you know that in Bible times, a couple thousand years ago, being a door was part of a shepherd’s job? The sheep fold was usually a stone wall built in a circle with only one opening, so after the shepherd had gathered all the sheep into the fold for the night, he would have to lay down across the opening to guard the sheep. The only way a wolf could get in, was through that door and so they’d have to deal with the shepherd first. Do you think a good shepherd would let a wolf through that door? No sir! The shepherd would drive the wolf away!

Let’s see if we can build a sheep fold here at the front of the church. I need some volunteers to be part of the wall. (Choose some kids and help to arrange them.) You stones sit here along the altar rail and don’t move. You’re part of the wall. We’ll pretend that the wall goes all along the altar rail, so a wolf can’t get in that way. We’ll leave an opening here for the doorway.

Now the rest of you are sheep. It’s getting dark, so you’d better get into the fold. You’ll be safe there. Now, I need a good shepherd. The good shepherd comes over here and lays down in the doorway. The shepherd is the door to the sheep fold. It’s a good thing too, because there’s a big, scary-looking wolf out here who’s on the prowl for a late-night snack of leg-of-lamb. See the wolf? (Choose a man from the congregation who would be willing to help.)

The wolf is going to try to sneak past the shepherd without waking him up to get at the sheep. If the shepherd touches the wolf, then the wolf has to run away and the sheep are safe. (Let the players act it out.)

Thank you, shepherd, for protecting the sheep. We can be thankful that Jesus is our Good Shepherd and that He always watches over us. We remember that Jesus gave up his own life to save us from sin and death.

Dear Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd. Thank you for keeping us in your care.