November 18, 2018 – John 10:1-42

Lesson Date: November 18, 2018

Focal Scripture Passage: John 10:1-42

AIM: To lead students to discover some aspects of the relationship between sheep and their shepherd, and to examine their own lives to see if they are Jesus’ sheep and then commit themselves to tell others about how they, too, may become part of His flock.


Before class: Read the notes on John 10:1-42 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Draw a vertical line on the chalkboard or marker board, creating two columns. At the top of one column write the word “Sheep” and write the word “Shepherd” at the top of the other column. Throughout this lesson as students discover facts about the relationship between sheep and shepherds, write those facts in the appropriate column on the board. Write or print the following scripture references on small pieces of paper or index cards: Psalm 23:1; Isaiah 53:6; John 21:16; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:20. Enlist some volunteers who are comfortable reading aloud to look up the verses and be prepared to read them to the class when called upon.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask: “Have any of you ever worked as a shepherd? Have you ever raised sheep?” (probably very few or none of your students have done those things).   Ask the previously enlisted volunteers to read their scripture verses. Comment that in each of those verses God’s people are referred to as sheep or as His flock.

Tell the class the relationship between sheep and shepherds is a very important and often-repeated illustration in the Bible. Say: “Since the Bible refers to us as God’s sheep and we have no personal experience as shepherds, we should try our best to understand that special relationship.” Tell the students in today’s lesson they will try to discover all they can from what Jesus said about sheep and shepherds.



  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that we are studying the Gospel of John.
    • Ask: “Why did John write this account of Jesus’ life?” (so his readers would believe that Jesus is the Son of God and have everlasting life by trusting in Him – John 20:31).
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (spiritual blindness and sharing our testimony of salvation with others).
    • Ask if any volunteer would be willing to recite last week’s memory verse (John 9:5).
  2. Shepherds and Sheep – the Basics.
    • Explain that the Bible doesn’t indicate there was any break between the events described in John 9 and John 10.
    • That means Jesus’ words in chapter 10 occurred in the same setting as chapter 9.
    • Remind the students that in chapter 9 Jesus healed a blind man on the Sabbath, the Pharisees got upset and put the man out of the synagogue, and Jesus told the man that He is the Son of God.
    • Ask a volunteer to read John 10:1-6.
    • Explain that in ancient times shepherds brought their sheep into a sheepfold at night to protect them from wild animals and thieves.
      • The sheepfold was surrounded by a stone wall ten feet high.
      • There was one door into the sheepfold, and at night one of the shepherds or a hired “porter” lay across the opening of the door.
      • No wild animal or thief could enter while the porter or shepherd guarded the door.
    • Tell the class that these verses reveal several things about sheep and shepherds.
    • Ask what these verses reveal about Shepherds. They should name the following:
      • Shepherds have access to the sheep (verses 1-2).
      • Shepherds call their sheep by name (verse 3).
      • Shepherds lead their sheep (verse 3).
      • Shepherds go before their sheep (verse 4).
      • Write these things in the proper column on the board (or enlist a volunteer to do so).
    • Ask the students what they see in those verses about Sheep. They should name the following:
      • Sheep hear the shepherd’s voice (verse 3).
      • Sheep follow the shepherd (verse 4).
      • Sheep know their shepherd’s voice (verse 4).
      • Sheep will flee from strangers (verse 5).
      • Write these things in the proper column on the board.
    • Tell the class these are the types of things they are to look for in the following verses.
    • Summarize: Shepherds and sheep have a close, personal relationship. They know each other and the shepherd protects and provides for his sheep.
  3. Jesus – the Door of the Sheep.
    • Read John 10:7-10.
    • Ask: “What did Jesus call Himself in verses 7 and 9?” (the door of the sheep).
    • Remind the class that the ancient sheepfold had only one door, just as Jesus Christ is the only “door” to eternal life.
    • Ask the students to identify facts revealed in those verses about sheep and shepherds. They should name the following:
      • Sheep do not hear the voices of counterfeits and fakes (verse 8).
      • The shepherd provides abundant life for his sheep (verse 10).
      • Write these things in the proper columns on the board.
    • Explain that the thief represents the devil. His purposes are to steal, kill, and destroy. He always wants the very worst for you. Jesus, on the other hand, wants to give you eternal and abundant life.
    • Summarize: Just as the shepherd was the only door to safety and protection for his sheep, Jesus is the only door to eternal salvation.
  4. Jesus – the Good Shepherd.
    • Ask a volunteer to read John 10:11-14.
    • Ask: “What did Jesus call Himself in verses 11 and 14?” (the Good Shepherd).
    • Ask the students to identify facts revealed in those verses about sheep and shepherds. They should name the following:
      • A shepherd will give his life in defense of his sheep (verses 11).
      • Sheep can be hurt and scattered by intruders (verse 12).
      • The shepherd knows his sheep (verse 14).
      • Sheep know their own shepherd (verse 14).
      • Write these things in the proper columns on the board.
    • Read John 10:15-18.
    • Explain the identity of the “other sheep” mentioned in verse 16 (they are the Gentiles, who become “one fold” with the Jews through Jesus Christ – see Ephesians 2:11-19).
    • Ask: “According to verses 17-18, what did Jesus promise to do?” (lay down His life and then rise again).
    • Summarize: Just as a shepherd will guard his flock with his life, Jesus promised to lay down His life for His sheep. Unlike a human shepherd, however, Jesus also promised to rise again from the dead.
  5. Jesus Christ – One with God the Father.
    • Read John 10:19-23.
    • Tell the class that Jesus’ words caused a great stir and a division among the Jews. Some thought He was demon-possessed while others thought He was from God.
    • Explain that John’s narrative now jumps ahead three months, to the Feast of Dedication (modern Hanukkah). Jesus was walking along one of the covered porches of the Temple.
    • Ask a volunteer to read John 10:24-26.
    • Ask: “What did the Jews ask Jesus in verse 24?” (If you are the Christ, tell us plainly).
    • Ask: “How did Jesus answer in verse 25?” (I told you but you wouldn’t believe me).
    • Ask: “According to verse 26, why didn’t they believe Jesus?” (because they were not His sheep).
    • Ask a volunteer to read John 10:27-33.
    • Ask the students to identify facts revealed in those verses about sheep and shepherds. They should name the following:
      • Sheep hear the shepherd’s voice and follow him (verse 27).
      • Shepherds know their sheep (verse 27).
      • Sheep are secure in the shepherd’s care and can never be stolen away (verses 28-29).
      • Write these things in the proper columns on the board.
    • Ask: “According to verse 28, what does Jesus give His sheep?” (eternal life).
    • Ask: “If we belong to Jesus, who can snatch us out of His hand?” (nobody).
    • These verses prove that someone who is genuinely saved can never again be lost.
    • Ask: “What did Jesus say about Himself in verse 30?” (He said He and the Father are one; in other words, He is God in human flesh).
    • Stress the fact that Jesus clearly claimed deity and total equality with God the Father (Jehovah).
    • Ask: “Based on verse 33, do you think the people who heard Jesus understood that He claimed to be God?” (absolutely).
    • Read John 10:34-42.
    • Explain that Jesus replied by quoting Psalm 82:6, in which God referred to Israel’s earthly leaders as “gods” because they represented God’s authority on earth and they taught and led God’s people.
    • Ask: “What did Jesus say about Himself in verse 36?” (I am the Son of God).
    • Ask: “In verses 37-38, Jesus said if they didn’t believe His words, why should they believe in Him?” (because of His works).
    • Tell the class the Jews in Jerusalem wanted to arrest Jesus, but He left and went to the other side of the Jordan River (locate Jerusalem and the Jordan River on the map). Many people followed Him there.
    • Ask: “How did those people respond to Jesus?” (they believed in Him).
    • Summarize: Jesus clearly identified Himself as the Son of God and completely equal with God the Father. As a result, some wanted to kill Him but others believed in Him.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the class that Jesus said He is the Good Shepherd. Read the list of characteristics of shepherds written on the board. These things describe Jesus. Read the list of characteristics of sheep. Those things describe those who belong to Jesus Christ. Spiritually speaking, Jesus is the shepherd and His children are the sheep.

Ask: “Does that list of things about sheep describe you? If you are truly a child of God your life should look like that list.”

Tell the students if their life resembles that list they should thank the Lord for saving them. If it does not, however, they should repent of their sin and place their faith in Jesus Christ right now. Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Encourage any who are not truly saved to turn to Jesus right now. Voice a prayer, thanking God for salvation through Jesus Christ.

Encourage any who just received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord to make that public at the end of this morning’s worship service. Remind everyone that Jesus said He has some other sheep who have not yet come into His fold. Encourage the students to be on the lookout for people they can tell about Jesus Christ this week.


CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize John 10:10 and John 10:30. Be sure all those present receive a Sunday School Member Quarterly for the winter quarter. Tell them we will study the second half of the Gospel of John in the months of December, January, and February.

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