Reason for parable: “Good” people complained that Jesus was friendly with “bad” people.
List what members think a ‘good’ person and a ‘bad’ person might be like….
(Here are some ideas but get members to share ideas and then you add to them)
Helpful to mum & dad steals
Goes to church bullies others
Prays to God tells lies to the teacher
Is kind to friends swears
Does homework is rude to mum & dad
Sometimes when people become Christians they don’t want to be friendly to other people who aren’t Christians. So Jesus told this story.
There was a shepherd who looked after 100 sheep. Every day he would take them outside of the sheepfold where they slept at night, and go walking over the hills to find grass for them to eat. There were a lot of cliffs, stony ground and gullies and the shepherd and his sheep often had to walk many miles to find the grass. The shepherd always kept a good lookout as he walked with his sheep, as they could easily get caught in thorn bushes, fall over a cliff or get stuck in a hole. The shepherd loved his sheep and knew each one by name. He always counted them each evening as they came back towards home.
One day the shepherd and sheep were out in the hills as usual. The sheep moved around as they ate the grass, under bushes, behind rocks as well as on the open areas. The sheep didn’t usually wander too far from the shepherd as they knew they would be safe if they stayed by him. The sun was getting glow in the sky this day as the shepherd called to his sheep. They all crowded round him and followed him as he headed back towards home. He came to a narrow place between cliffs and stood aside as his sheep went through. He counted them as he always did – oops! He only counted 99. There should be 100. He must have missed one. But he wanted to be sure so he called to them. They came back. The sheep in Israel always followed the shepherd as they knew his voice and trusted him. Not like sheep here in NZ that we round up with dogs. So the sheep came back and the shepherd counted them again very carefully. And sure enough – there were only 99. One was missing!
The shepherd took the sheep a little further and left them on some grassy area. They would be reasonably safe there for a while, and then he set off back to where he had been, to look for the one that was lost. Was it hurt? Maybe it had fallen over a cliff. Maybe it was dead. He hadn’t heard any frantic bleating so it couldn’t have been a wild animal that got it. He started calling its name again and again as the sun went further down.
Suddenly the shepherd heard ‘baa, baa baa’. The sheep had wandered away and got caught on the side of a cliff. The shepherd went and lifted it onto his shoulders and carried it back to the rest of the flock. Then they all headed home.
Back at the village, the other shepherds were all home and watching for their friend to come. They knew if he was late that he was out hunting for a lost sheep. When they finally saw him coming with the sheep over his shoulders, they knew he had found the lost one. They all called out to him and clapped their hands as he took his sheep to their pen.
“Rejoice with me,” called out the shepherd to his friends, “I found my lost sheep.” And they all had a celebration that night.
Jesus told us what this parable was all about. He said “The angels in heaven are happy when Christians help each other. But they are even more happy when a person becomes and Christian. In fact the angels celebrate, they rejoice, they throw a party.”
Just like the shepherd and his friends when a lost sheep is found, so the angels rejoice when a person finds God.
And for people to know about God means that Christians should be telling them! That is a responsibility God has give to us – to tell others about God. And even if they are people that we think are ‘bad’, we need to remember that Gods till loves them, and He can change them. They can become happy, caring, helpful people when they have Jesus in their heart.
Remember, it’s so important to God to have as many people in heaven as possible – and all the angels rejoice each time that happens.