Lesson: John the Baptist Prepares the Way for Jesus (Matthew 3:1-12)

Children’s Church Lesson: John the Baptist Prepares the Way for Jesus


Text: Matthew 3:1-12

Learning Objectives: After this lesson, children will demonstrate understanding of the ministry of John the Baptist … by explaining in their own words what John’s Baptism meant.

Target Age: Kindergarten – 5th

Download: John The Baptist Prepares the Way for Jesus

Items Needed:

  • Marked Bible for this passage. Prepare the copy in advance by highlighting the significant points to emphasize. Underlining words or ideas that will need additional explanation. I typically make small notes in the margin.

Explanation: This passage has a strong Gospel implication for children. Too often children are not taught about the meaning of repentance and baptism.


Teaching Plan


Invite a volunteer to come to the front of the class. Try to pick a child who has already been baptized or your own child. Without explanation to the class, pretend to baptize them. Then ask the class if they knew what you just did. Say, “Today we are going to learn about the special job that God gave to John the Baptist.”


Active Listening: Ask the children to listen carefully for two special word groups in this passage. Say, “Every time you hear either of these word groups, I want you to stand up, turn around, say ‘new life’ and sit down.” Briefly introduce the following terms. Have the children practice the stand up, turn around, say ‘new life’ and sit down movement.

  1. Repent or repentance – to be sorry about sin, to stop sinning, to stop fighting God and start a new life of obeying God
  2. Baptize or baptism – this is a way to picture or act out repentance, a person is put totally under water and then raised back up

Read (and summarize) Matthew 3:1-12. (Read with emotion and pause often to engage the children with the reading.) Be sure to pause on the words repent or baptize to allow the children to stand up, turn around, say ‘new life’ and sit back down.

Another Way To Say: Ask the children to find another way to say the following sentences.

  • I’m going to stop sinning.
  • I’m going to obey God.
  • I want to live a new life.


Is This Repentance: Say, “I’m going to tell you three short stories. I want you to decide if the people in this story have really repented of their sins. I want you stand up if you think this is a story of true repentance, if not cross your arms and stay seated.” Flesh out the following ideas in ways that relate to your children.

  • A boy is caught stealing at school. He blames the teacher for picking on him. He pays back but only because his mom makes him. Is this repentance?
  • A little girl who tells lies – “my mom is a movie star” “my dress cost $2,000″ “the teachers told me I was her favorite” – begins to feel very sorry for this sin. She knows that God said lying is wicked. She prays for God’s help to stop lying and does her best to always tell the truth. She even goes back and says she’s sorry to the people she lied. Is this repentance?
  • A dad gets angry a lot. Every little thing makes him yell and even say bad words. He feels bad about this. Sometimes he even says he’s sorry. But he does not change. He does not get help from God. Is this repentance?


Test: Ask for volunteers to explain in their own words what did John’s baptism mean?

Need more help? Browse my free Children’s Church Curriculum or Sunday School Lessons. You can also find many Bible crafts online.


  1. Tamara says

    I used this lesson last Wednesday. I copied the verses from Bible Gateway NIV version for the children to do. We high lighted with crayons…some kids did not know what a highlighter was. Taking a child who was baptized and pretending to baptize was cool for the kids. Then we ended the class with the prayer cube. The prayer cube is taking more than one week to do. We put names on the back and will finish next week. I love the lesson plans you have.

  2. Mary says

    A wonderful way to explain Baptism to our children is that the Holy Spirit gives 2 types of life: natural life and supernatural life.
    Natural life is what we all have and enables us to live, to exist, to breathe, to move and to walk. All people, animals and plants have natural life. Supernatural life is a special type of life which is God’s life within us, His Divine life in us. We are all born without this supernatural life within us due to original sin when Adam & Eve sinned and lost their supernatural life inside of them and had to leave the presence of God. Jesus said, “Unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, He cannot enter the Kingdom of God” so that is why we are baptized-we invite God’s supernatural life, His grace into our hearts and souls and we renew our Baptismal promise every Easter as we continue to deepen our relationship with God by learning about and loving Jesus with the help of God’s Holy Spirit. Peace.

  3. Anna says

    I don’t know of any kind of workbook, however if your gr.children are wanting to be baptized, I feel the best thing you can do for them is explain what it means to be baptized. It’s an outward expression of what God is doing on the inside. When you except Jesus as your Savior, then you get baptized as He did in order to show everyone of your decision. Then let them decide. I was very young when I excepted Jesus and was baptized, but in my heart I knew what I was doing and wanted to belong to Him. If it’s prolonged or questioned then the children will start to wonder what is wrong with them that they can’t come to Jesus. This just makes questions. Give your gr.children the best gift that you ever can, by leading them to the Lord. Remember, being baptized doesn’t make you saved, it’s just a symbol for others to see your decision. (a lot like a wedding band doesn’t make you married, but shows others that you are!)

  4. Trica says

    I’m trying to find a workbook for my Grandchildren that are wishing to be baptized. I feel that children (or at least I) don’t really understand what it means to be baptized. I’d appreciated any help you can give me on this. We are members of an Independent Baptist church in Southern TX. Thank you, Trica

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