The Kingdom of the Sheep and the Goats

This Sunday we celebrate Christ the King.  The current curriculum material is focused on Praise, and I recall a few people saying that was not sufficiently content-rich as a topic.  This is a good opportunity to connect with the lesson and theme of the liturgy. 

Christ the King is the last Sunday before the beginning of Advent. We will be singing lots of glorious hymns about the royalty of Jesus Christ, but what kind of a king was he on earth?  People who knew him kept expecting him to be the kind of king they had seen before, but more powerful.  They wanted him to chase the Roman army out of Israel, and then be a ruler like King David.  Jesus kept telling them he wasn’t that kind of king!

What does it mean to say that Jesus Christ is our king? Jesus’ model of leadership is that of servant-leader. He cared for the poor, the sick and the friendless.  Jesus healed people who were sick, fed people who were hungry, and cared for everyone who needed a friend. As Christians we follow Jesus by doing what he did.  The Gospel reading for today is Matthew 25:31-46–The Sheep and the Goats (click on this link to take you to the text:  Jesus tells a story about people being divided into two groups (sheep and goats) based on the way they treat other people. 

Caution: If you use this text in your class, I recommend editing the text around verse 41 to omit references to cursing and eternal fire.  The language about sending “the goats” to hell and damnation is language I would not introduce in Church school.  It is 1st Century rhetoric that needs more context than I can give here.

Here are some questions you might find helpful:
     What person has always been there for you when you needed them?
     Have you ever helped someone?  How?
     What would Jesus call a person who bullied others: sheep or goat?

This passage is a clear statement from Jesus about how he wants us to care for each other: feed the hungry, give clean water to the thirsty, clothe people who are cold, take care of the sick, and visit the lonely.  Jesus is a king above all kings, because he cares with love and compassion for people who need help.  He wants us to help other people, and when we need help, he wants people to take care of us.


We are going to be celebrating Thanksgiving soon.  Giving thanks means saying “thank you”–not just in words, but in actions. 
      What do you do to show someone you are thankful?
And a final note:
I have written this in a blog format to encourage you to respond by posting thoughts and/or suggestions so other teachers can benefit from your ideas.

Blessings! Mother Anne+

7 thoughts on “The Kingdom of the Sheep and the Goats

  1. Mother Anne:

    Thank you so much for starting this blog. I am really looking forward to teaching this lesson to the fifth and sixth graders. I was thinking of having them make cards for Thanksgiving, so they could say thank you to someone they love. But, now I will ask them to think about what they could do to say thank you to someone they love. It will be fun to see what they come up with. Again, I am so thankful to you for putting this blog together for us.

  2. We’ve talked about Jesus as “king of kings” so hopefully it will sound familiar to the children, but sheep and goats – let’s just remember our “kids” are a term of affection for now!
    This Sunday I’d like to think about things we are thankful for and how we can show it.

  3. This is great! I love the idea of incorporating thanks.
    If you’re looking for a worksheet or two to keep them busy as people arrive here are a few:
    easy maze:
    harder maze:
    word search:

    Also – I found this idea for a conversation. I’m not sure how I’ll be incorporating it into the lesson but maybe you’ll find it helpful: Are You a Sheep or a Goat? We all have different personality types. Some of us are more like sheep, and would rather follow than lead, and some of us are more independent like goats and would rather be leaders, but when it comes to our relationship with God, we should be more like sheep. Many people say they love God, but their lives don’t show it. They don’t really follow Jesus. Jesus compares these people to goats. When Jesus returns he will separate the goats from the sheep (the people who truly love him), and only the sheep will inherit his kingdom. What are the practical ways in which they can live their faith by following Jesus’ example?

    • Hi Linda,

      I couldn’t get to this link without a password. I think I remember that we had one once…do you know what it is?


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