When today’s kids think about cleanliness, they probably think about using antibacterial gel or washing their hands with antibacterial soap. As hard as it is to remember, the rules about cleanliness are a lot less complicated than they used to be. Teach the kids a valuable lesson about godly cleanliness. Here’s what I recently taught my children’s church:
Back in the days when Jesus walked the earth, the Israelites had much stricter rules about cleanliness. When they came home from the grocery store, they had to take a bath or a shower. If they went to a funeral or visited a sick friend, they were considered “unclean” and had to take many baths to become clean again. They also had to wash everything like all the plates and cups, sometimes before and after they used them. The average person had a hard time keeping up with all the rules but the priests insisted that they follow the rules.
One day, some of these priests followed Jesus and his friends as the Lord went about the countryside teaching about God’s kingdom. When it was time to eat, the priests were upset because the hungry followers of Jesus didn’t follow all the rules about clean hands. Their actions upset Jesus!
Let’s read the verses; it is in Mark 7:14-15. “Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”
What could Jesus possibly mean? I have here a few items that will help me show what having “clean hands” really means. (Show the chocolate pudding, damp washcloth and the GermX.)
See my hands? (Show your hands to the class.) They look pretty clean don’t they? However, if you looked at them under a microscope, you would probably see germs. Putting germs in your body is bad–they can make you sick but Jesus says that it isn’t things outside your body that make you “unclean” or “defiled.” It’s what comes out!
Let me show you something. (Smear the chocolate pudding on one hand and let everyone see how dirty your hand is.) This looks pretty dirty. My skin isn’t clean anymore! Even though I’m pretty dirty, I’m not unclean. Why? Because Jesus said it’s not what gets on us that makes us unclean, it is what comes out of us. He means our words, what we say, how we act, how we treat others. If we swear, curse our friends or treat people bad, we make ourselves unclean. These are the things that matter.
(Use the washcloth and the GermX to tidy up.) See how I just cleaned up my skin? We can clean up our souls too! Let’s talk to God and ask him to forgive us of all the things that make us unclean. Ready?
Read more from Mimi by visiting her blog at Tools for Kids Church.
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