This Sunday School lesson is based on the story of Simeon and Anna when Joseph and Mary present Jesus in the Temple. It was prepared for a class of 3rd and 4th graders, but could be modified for any elementary aged class. Feel free to print it out or adapt it for your children’s church.
The schedule for this class is that during the period of time (about 30 minutes) we are waiting for all the students to arrive we have different activities set out to engage the student before the Bible Lesson takes place. For this particular lesson since it is the Christmas season the students can choose from a coloring page/activity sheet for the Bible Lesson, use some Christmas flannel graphs and place them on a board as they tell the Christmas story to each other and play dough with nativity cookie cutters. In our class each week we place a notebook on a table with that day’s prayer requests that students may have. We also provide 3 sets of cards that have been made in advance (Praise, Thanks and Prayer Requests) for the children to select if they are not comfortable praying their own sentence prayer for each of these areas during our class time of prayer. During this 30 minute of time the students write their prayer request, take their cards and choose an activity that they are interested in. At the end of this lesson are some additional resources that maybe useful for your class.
- Students will be introduced to the ministry of the Holy Spirit by playing a game called who am I?
- Students will be encouraged to live a life that pleases God and be ready when Jesus returns.
Memory Verse: Romans 8:9 “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”
Bible Lesson Jesus is presented in the Temple
The blessing of teaching a Sunday School class is that each class is unique. Teaching God’s Word requires teachers to rely upon Him to minister to the group of students He has given the privilege to teach. This lesson was prepared after prayer and reflection upon what He wanted to teach our current class. This lesson is provided as a guide to anyone who desires to use it. After reading God’s Word, praying and reflecting on the needs of your class, read the following lesson to see if there are any truths that you may want to incorporate for your class.
Game: Who am I? Teacher preparation before class. Place Who am I questions on strips of construction paper. Place those strips of paper in a colorful gift bag. Have a student take a slip out of the bag and read it to class. Allow students to guess who they think the person is. You are looking for the answer Holy Spirit and most answers may be God/Jesus. Have the student write on the board the answer the class believes it to be. God through each slip and at the end if the students haven’t already figured it out explain that God is 3 persons and each of these slips of paper refer to the Person of the Holy Spirit and does each of these things.
Here is a list of the questions used for this class: I convict you when you sin. Who am I? John 16:8, I am the Gift God sent when Jesus returned to heaven. Acts 1:4, 2:38, I teach you when you study God’s Word. Who am I? John 14:26, I help believers know what to say. Who am I? Mark 13:11, Luke 12:12, Acts 4:8, I descended in the form of a dove at Jesus’ baptism. Who am I? Luke 3:22, I speak to believers. Who am I? Acts 13:2, I live in believers’ hearts. Who am I? 2 Timothy 1:14, 1 Corinthians 6:19, I am hurt when believers sin. Who am I? Ephesians 4:30, I help believers when they are weak. Who am I? Romans 8:26, I help believers pray. Who am I? Romans 8:26b, I give believers peace. Who am I? Romans 8:6, I lead believers in the way they should go. Who am I? John 16:13 and In the Old Testament I came upon people and would depart. Who am I? 1 Samuel 16:13-14.
Baby Jesus Presented in the Temple Bible Lesson
This time of year we hear a lot about gifts. As Christians the greatest Gift ever received is the Gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ. In the game we just played we learned that every believer has also received the Gift of the Holy Spirit the moment he/she believed in the Lord Jesus as Savior. The Holy Spirit comes inside a believer’s heart and stays there.
How many of you have heard the name Emmanuel? Does anyone know what the name Emmanuel means? (God with us) Believers have God with them wherever they go because the Holy Spirit lives inside of them and wherever they go, God goes with them.
Let’s turn in our Bibles to Luke 2:21.
Mary and Joseph took God’s Son when He was 8 days old and had Him circumcised. At that circumcision ceremony babies were given their name. Before this baby was born an angel named Gabriel told Mary what to name Him. Who remembers the name Gabriel told Mary to give God’s Son? (Luke 1:31)
When Jesus was 40 days old Mary and Joseph traveled to the temple in Jerusalem for another ceremony. Many, many years before Jesus came to earth as a baby, God had given Moses laws for His people to obey. One of those laws was that any family who had a firstborn son had to take that son and have him dedicated at the temple. To dedicate someone means to offer him to God. The parents of the firstborn son had to take an offering with them as they dedicated their son to God in the temple. The offering needed to be a lamb. If a family didn’t have enough money to bring a lamb, God allowed them to bring 2 birds called turtledoves.
Mary and Joseph loved and obeyed God. They obeyed His laws regarding the Firstborn Son. This little baby, Jesus, was God’s Son. Mary and Joseph began their travel from Bethlehem to Jerusalem bringing the only offering they could afford 2 young doves.
Meanwhile, in Jerusalem there is a man named Simeon. (Have a student read Luke 2:25.) Whenever we read that someone is righteous in the Bible it means that their faith was in God’s promise to forgive their sins. In the Old Testament people were declared righteous by God when he/she believed by faith that God was going to send a Savior to take away their sins. In the New Testament people are declared as righteous when they believe in Jesus, the Savior God promised to send to take away their sins.
Simeon was a man who loved God. He lived a life that pleased God. In the days that Simeon was living not many people heard God’s voice. It says in Luke that the Holy Spirit was upon Simeon. Remember from our game earlier how the Holy Spirit came upon believers in the Old Testament but did not live inside them? After Jesus died on the cross and rose again the Holy Spirit comes to live in the hearts of people and He does not ever leave.
Simeon listened and obeyed God’s voice. Earlier in Simeon’s life God told him that he would not die until he had seen with his own eyes the Promised Christ (the Messiah). We don’t know how old Simeon was when God made a promise to him but the Bible tells us that Simeon believed the promise and was looking for the day to come for God’s promise to happen.
This must have been an exciting promise to Simeon. Each year as he worshiped and served God he must have kept his eyes open for God’s promised Savior. As time passed, it may have been hard for Simeon to understand how he would ever live to see the Savior because as the years passed he was not getting any younger. Faith believes in something that a person cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1) Even though Simeon could not see or understand how he would see the Savior he believed God would do what He said.
One day as Simeon was going about his day he heard God’s voice speaking to him. The Holy Spirit was urging him to go to the temple. Simeon may have been busy doing things he wanted to do but he chose to listen to God’s voice and obeyed. He went to the temple and went inside. “I wonder why God wanted me to come to the temple today” He must have thought. As he stood in the temple trying to listen closely to what the Lord wanted him to do next he heard some footsteps coming over the temple stairs.
A young woman holding a baby in her arms and her husband walked through the temple doors. God’s Spirit told Simeon that this baby was the Promised Savior. Immediately, Simeon went to Mary and reached out to hold her Baby Boy. He held him in his arms and began to praise God. Listen to what Simeon said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation”
Mary and Joseph were amazed at Simeon’s praises to God. He was thanking God for sending the Savior and allowing him to see him before he died.
Simeon was praising God and speaking words of the Messiah’s future to Mary and Joseph. As this was taking place there was another person in the temple that day. Her name was Anna. At this time she is 84 years old. Anna was a widow. She had only been married 7 years before she became a widow. As a widow she began serving God in the temple. She was known as a prophetess. A prophetess is a woman prophet. Who remembers what a prophet does? (Tells the people God’s Message.)
Anna stayed in the temple everyday praying and fasting. Because she had a close relationship to the Lord, she knew that God had promised to send a Savior.
An amazing thing takes place in the life of a person who walks closely with the Lord. A person is able to hear and obey what God is telling them and be where He wants them to be. This is true of Anna in our story. The very day the Savior is presented in the temple she is there. Perhaps she heard Simeon’s praises and she came to see what was going on.
As soon as she saw the Child she immediately thanked the Lord for sending the Savior who was going to take away the sins of the world.
Simeon and Anna saw and believed that Jesus was God’s promised Savior. Because they had a close relationship with God they were exactly where they needed to be to see with their own eyes God’s promised Savior. Imagine what they would have missed if they chose to do what they wanted to do and not what God wanted them to do that day. After Simeon and Anna met the Savior of the world on that day they chose to praise and thank Him for allowing them to see His Promise come true.
Just by you being here in Sunday School this morning you have been allowed to meet the Savior. You have heard that God has kept His Promise to send His Son into the world to take away our sins. You can be like Simeon and believe by faith that Jesus died and rose again so your sins can be forgiven. It is faith because none of us were living when Jesus did this for us. We have to believe it even though we didn’t see it. Once we believe by faith that Jesus is our Savior we need to live our lives day by day by faith. We need to have a close relationship with the Lord. We need to listen to God’s voice so we can obey, even when we don’t understand why God is asking us to do something.
Did you know that this morning believers have a promise that they are looking forward to? A promise God has given in His Word that has not happened yet is that Jesus is going to come back and take all who believe in Him back with Him to heaven. After He does that all of those who did not believe in Him and have their sins forgiven will be left on this earth to face a very terrible punishment from God.
This is an exciting promise for those who believe in Jesus because at any moment believers could hear the trumpet of God and in a twinkling of an eye go up to meet Jesus in the air and live forever with Him. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
Just like Simeon and Anna all of us who believe God’s promise for Jesus’ return are waiting and watching for that promise to come true. How are you and I going to wait for that promise? Are we going to live each day learning more about God by studying and reading our Bibles? Are we going to pray for our friends and family that don’t believe in Jesus who would be left behind to be punished? Are we living our lives in a way that is pleasing to God? Since Jesus could come at any moment we should always ask ourselves, is this what I want to be doing if Jesus were to come back right at this moment?
Let’s be like Simeon and Anna and live with an attitude of worship and listening to God everyday. Let’s have an attitude of praising Him and thanking Him for all that He has done and will do for us as we believe Him by faith. (Hebrews 11:13)
(If this lesson is being taught during the Christmas season you can play a game for review. On a poster board make a Christmas tree with ornaments with number values on it. Provide a small bean bag. Divide the class into teams and when the answer is correct the team gets a turn to toss the bean bag on the ornaments. Add up points and the team with the most points recites the Memory Verse together. If time allows ask more questions so they can continue to play.)
- Why did Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple? To dedicate Him to the Lord.
- What is faith? Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
- What did God promise Simeon? That he would see the promised Savior before he died.
- How did Simeon know that he should go to the temple courts that day? The Holy Spirit told him.
- How did God keep His promise to Simeon? He saw the Savior before He died.
- What did Simeon do when he saw Jesus? Praised God and spoke of Jesus’ future.
- Who was Anna? A widow, prophetess, someone who worshiped daily in the temple.
- What did she do when she saw Jesus? She gave thanks to God
- What do we need to believe by faith? That Jesus died on the cross for our sins and that He was raised from the dead.
- How should we live our lives as we wait for God’s promises? Living a life to please God every day.
- What are some ways you can stay focused on worshiping God while in church?
- What are some other promises God has made that we haven’t seen yet?
- What is the best time for you to set aside to read your Bible and pray?
- What is one thing about your family that you can thank God for?