Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:3-7)


God rejoices when one sinner returns to Him.


Stuffed animals


Luke 15:3-7: Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

Children's Lesson

In today's children's lesson on Luke 15:3-7, we learn about the Parable of the Lost Sheep (see this children's object lesson).

(Show kids some stuffed animals that you brought with you.)

It looks like I’ve lost one of my stuffed toys. I know I had it when I got here this morning. Would you help me look for it? (Lead the children in a search for the lost toy. When it is found, continue the lesson.) 

Thank you so much for helping me find the lost stuffed animal. Even though I have lots of them, every one of them is important to me and I would be very upset if one of them was lost.

Scripture: Luke 15:3-7

Jesus teaches a similar lesson. He spoke to a group of religious leaders one day. They were upset that Jesus was often seen associating with sinners. The religious leaders didn't like that at all and were very critical of Jesus. Jesus told them the parable of the lost sheep to help them to understand. 

He asked them, if one sheep out of one hundred went missing, wouldn’t you go looking for the lost sheep? And wouldn’t you be happy when you found it? Then Jesus said to them, "In the same way, there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." (Luke 15:7)

The Bible teaches us that we are like sheep and sometimes stray away from God. That makes God very sad, but he never gives up on us. He keeps searching for us and calling to us. He wants to draw us back into his arms. He even sent Jesus, his Son, to save those who are lost. Aren't you glad that God doesn't give up on his lost sheep? I am, because "I once was lost, but now I'm found!"

Pray: Dear Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd. We are thankful that you came to save those who are lost. Amen.

Bible Background: Parable of the Lost Sheep

Parables are often described as earthly stories with heavenly meanings. Jesus used these stories that took what His disciples and followers knew to be true and helped them understand a new concept.

In this parable, the shepherd knew his sheep well. The 99 sheep were safe together, and they depended upon each other. The lost sheep, however, was in grave danger on his own. This lost sheep would get colder on its own and was an easier target for predators.

Each sheep has great value to the shepherd. It’s unthinkable to the shepherd to lose just one sheep–no matter how many sheep he has. It was completely worth it to spend the time and energy to search for the one lost sheep.

Jesus was mocked and judged for spending time with sinners--though that’s exactly who He came to save. Jesus intentionally sought out those who were discarded by society, those who were considered beyond help.

It makes sense that a loving God would forgive a sinner who had gone astray and then repented. But the fact that God eagerly searches for each and every sinner and joyfully celebrates the sinner’s return, shows His extravagant love for each of us.

Sunday School Activities: Parable of the Lost Sheep

Keep kids engaged in your children’s church by printing this The Parable of the Lost Sheep Bible Coloring Page for kids to color.  Have kids complete this Parable of the Lost Sheep Crossword Puzzle, Parable of the Lost Sheep Word search, Parable of the Lost Sheep Decoder and John 3:16 Word Search.  Keep kids learning about God’s love for us by watching this Parable of the Lost Sheep animated video. Lead kids in a fun activity after you watch this Parable of the Lost Sheep Sunday School craft video tutorial.