Theme: The Holy Spirit
Theme Verse: "'Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit', says the LORD of Hosts." Zechariah 4:6
Readings: John 14:1-20, Philippians 2:5-11, John 1:1-5, 9-14
Memory Verse: "'But what about you?' he asked. 'Who do you say I am?' Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'" Matthew 16: 15-16 (Pre-K to grade 3 )
Let's begin where Jesus' disciples began -- by being with him. They had some idea that he was the Messiah, but had their own ideas about what that meant. Jesus spent a long time with them the night before he was arrested and crucified, to encourage them and help them to know him better. Jesus wants to encourage us too. (See John 14)
Jesus is asking them to trust him and believe in him and not be afraid. He is going on ahead to prepare a place for them--and for us. Word received: Trust Me. I love you more than you can ever imagine. I want only what is best for you. We have Jesus' promise in verses 2-3 (John 14). Word received: You see, I want you to be with Me. I love you that much. Jesus has good plans for us. He is preparing place for all of us. He doesn't want to lose a single one.
Thomas, like us, doesn't understand when Jesus says, "You know the way where I am going." Then Jesus says to them and to us, "I AM the way, the truth and the life: no one comes to the Father, but by me." Jesus, in his death, is going back to God the Father and there is no other way to come to God the Father except through Jesus. There is only one God and only one way to get there and that is through Jesus. To see Jesus is to see God and what he is like. To know Jesus as Savior and friend is to know the Father. Jesus is the visible, touchable image (picture) of the invisible God. Word received: Do you see how I think you can do it now -- believe in Me and you will know the way.
The disciples were unsure of themselves. Word received: The person you need to trust is Me. DO NOT BE AFRAID. TRUST ME. I LOVE YOU. Jesus promised not to leave his disciples alone but to come to them through the Holy Spirit.(John 14:18,16). To have the Holy Spirit is to have Jesus. Invite him into your heart. Jesus told them they were to show their love for him by obeying his commandments. (vs.15)
Now look at Philippians 2:5-11. (Many think this was a hymn of praise in the early church.) Paul is urging the church to think like Jesus, to have Jesus' mind. "Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others." An illustration I heard years ago was as if someone was looking at some ants trying to solve a problem that the person could see an answer to but there was no way he could communicate it to the ants. The only way would have been to become an ant to lead them. God was and is trying to bring back his rebellious, hurting creatures (us) to himself. He sent many messengers, but (Hebrews 1:1-3) finally God spoke to us through his Son, through whom he created all things. He had God's nature and was God, but took our human nature in order to rescue us and deal with our sins.
Notice that Jesus, the Word, the Son, didn't hang onto his divine privileges but emptied himself and took on our human nature, coming as a servant to rescue us. (Jesus is both fully God and fully a man, a human being.) It didn't stop there. He humbled himself still more and in obedience to the Father became obedient to death on the cross. (Remember Jesus agony in the garden as his human flesh struggled to be obedient to the Father's will. Remember the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one God. God knew this would be necessary before the foundation of the world. It was Jesus' human nature that was struggling to obey.) "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself." ( )
Then the lowly descent of Jesus into death turns to resurrection and to God the Father exalting him to a "Name above every name in heaven and on earth and under the earth." Someday, "every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is LORD (I AM) to the glory of God the Father." Word received: This is what I did for YOU -- NOW do you believe that I love you? This is what I AM. I gave everything I am for each one of you.
Now look at John 1:1-4 and 9-14 to discover more about who Jesus is. Jesus is God's Word. He has always been with God because he is God. "All things were made through him" Genesis 1 tells us that God created by speaking his word and things came into existence. Word received: I AM the WORD. I was with God the Father in the beginning. Look at some examples of God creating thing by his word. "All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made". (John 1:3)
Then God said, "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3)
Then God said, "Let there be a firmament" (Genesis 1:6)
Then God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered" (Genesis 1:9)
Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass" (Genesis 1:11)
Then God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament" (Genesis 1:14)
Then God said, "Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures" (Genesis 1:20)
Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature" (Genesis 1:24)
Then God said, "Let Us make man in our image" (Genesis 1:26)
A word received: Look around you; what can you see that I did not speak into existence? I want to speak my word into your heart; will you let me come in? (God is all powerful yet he has chosen to give us freedom of choice--even to choose bad and hurtful things--because God wants us to choose to love and obey him and become his children.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1) In the beginning ... "God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light." (Genesis 1:1...3) A word received: When I speak there is light to see by. I have always been there speaking my light into being. "He was in the beginning with God." (John 1:2) A word received: I was there as the Word of God at the beginning of all things that you know. Let my word speak into your life and bring light.
"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4) "But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it." (Deuteronomy 30:14) "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life" (Deuteronomy 30:19a) A word received: Choose life so that my light can shine on your path and you will not stumble. "And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." (John 1:5) "If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You." (Psalm 139:11-12) A word received: Look at the darkness -- it is light to me. Look at the night -- is day bright to me. Look at the darkness in your heart; my light can shine there as well.
"And the Word became flesh (a human being) and tented among us" and John and the other disciples saw his glory ("as of the only Son from the Father"). A big word for this is "incarnation" that is, God made his Word visible as the human being Jesus.
There is a promise for us in vs 12-13 (John 1) "But to those who received him, (many did not) who believed in his name, he gave the power/right to become children of God; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh nor the will of man, but of God." We too, like Nicodemus can be born of God--that is, we can have two births, one physical and one spiritual. That spiritual birth will make us sons and daughters of God who can live with him forever.
Now look at the Memory Verse. Jesus started by asking his disciples what people were saying about who he is. Then he makes it personal and asks, "Who do you say that I am?" That is a question Jesus also asks us. God revealed to Peter the answer. It is through the work of the Holy Spirit that we come to really know who Jesus is. Peter answered, "You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God." Who do YOU say Jesus is? Many in our culture want to dodge the question and say he was just a good man, a great teacher, or one of many ways to get to know God, but that is not what is really true. C.S. Lewis once said that when we listen to all that Jesus said about himself, he was either crazy, evil or who he said he was. Nothing else makes any sense. ( What are some of the things Jesus said about himself that start with "I AM..."? )
Now look at what this answer of Peter's says about God the Father. Word received: The Father is living today. I AM, Jesus, is living today and the Holy Spirit is living today. This is not a dead life. When you believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit you believe in life. Jesus has life in himself. "I AM the resurrection and the life," and he wants to give you and me new life now and a new beginning. Choose life.
Please read the Study Guide first. Go over Memory Verse to make sure the children understand it and then if they have memorized it.
Remind them their parents need to sign a report slip monthly if they have read the lessons, so they will get credit at the end of the year.
Make sure they know what happened in the story. Get them to tell you.
Basic points of the lesson for very little ones:
1.Jesus is God the Father's only Son. He has always been. He was there at creation and is here now too.
2. Jesus is fully God and fully a human being. He became a man just like us so that he could bring us back to God by dying on the cross to take away our sins, because he loves us.
3.Jesus is the way to get to God the Father. They love you and want a relationship with you. Jesus wants you to listen to him and talk to him like a friend.
4. Jesus wants to give us life.. He wants us to choose to love and obey him and become his adopted children. He wants to live in our hearts. You need to invite him in.
5. The Holy Spirit points to Jesus and Jesus and the Father want to give us the Holy Spirit to help us. He is the Helper.
6.Jesus is God's WORD and when we hear him, we hear God. (Your words are part of who you are. So God's Word is part of who He is.). God's Word makes things happen.
Get the kids to give their answers to the question "Who is Jesus?" Examples would be he is God's Son. He is the Good Shepherd. He is the Messiah/Christ. He is the light of the world. etc.