This is lesson continues our curriculum for preschoolers about knowing Jesus. Each lesson is based on a passage in the Gospel of Mark. You can read the series introduction for more explanation and links to the other lessons.
This particular lesson is from passages in Mark 14 and covers the events in the Garden of Gethsemane. Preschoolers will know Jesus was fully human, and in His humanity did not want to suffer and die, but chose to be obedient to God the Father.
Bible Passage: Mark 14:32-41; Luke 22:39-46; Matthew 26:36-46; Hebrews 5:7-9
Bible Lesson Title: Jesus in Gethsemane
Target Age Group: 4-5 years old (preschool & Kindergarten)
Target Time Frame: 40 minutes
Original Teaching Context: Preschool Sunday School
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Knowing Jesus through the Book of Mark: Lesson Twenty-Seven (40 minutes)
Scripture: Mark 14:32-41; Luke 22:39-46; Matthew 26:36-46; Hebrews 5:7-9
Exegetical Idea: Jesus experienced deep sorrow as He approached His arrest and death, but was perfectly obedient to God the Father, taking our punishment upon Himself at the cross.
Pedagogical Idea: Jesus experienced all of the emotions that we experience as fully human, yet He never sinned. We can rejoice in His obedience for our salvation and find comfort in our affliction knowing that He too has gone through pain and sorrow.
Cognitive Aim: Preschoolers will know Jesus was fully human, and in His humanity did not want to suffer and die, but chose to be obedient to God the Father.
Affective Aim: Preschoolers will feel great love for Jesus’ sacrifice and compassion for His suffering.
Behavioral Aim: Preschoolers will praise Jesus Christ through song and prayer.
Memory Verse: Mark 14:36, “And he said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’” (ESV)
Optional Coloring Page: Judas Betrays Jesus in Gethsemane
- Kindle Curiosity (10 minutes) Description: Do an experiment with water. Supplies: Pitcher of water, big cup to fill and overflow with water, basin to catch the overflowing water, dropper, towel for any mess, Bible outfits.
- God Revealed (15 minutes) Description: Hear the Scripture passage, act out the story (optional). Supplies: Bible, any props you wish to use if you choose to act out the passage.
- Personal Pursuit (10 minutes) Description: Discussion activity, optional drawing/painting activity, praise the Lord through song, pray. Supplies: Picture of Jesus in Gethsemane (Google Image search), song The Power of the Cross sung by Stuart Townend (link found in section below), additional supplies for optional activity explained below.
- Daily Knowing (7-10 minutes) Description: Memorize God’s Word. Supplies: Notecards with memory verse written out for each parent.
**Before the children arrive, have the Bible outfits ready.
1. Kindle Curiosity (5 minutes)
- Have the cup, pitcher, dropper, and basin ready. Place the cup in the basin. After the children have their Bible outfits on, explain to them that you are going to do an experiment. Allow each child to pour a little water in the cup at a time. As each one pours, ask them what they think will happen if they continue to pour after it is full. Be very careful and get the water to the very brim of the cup. Then take a dropper and allow the children to put little drops of water in until it begins to overflow. If you want, you can even use a measuring cup to measure how much water it took to make the water overflow.
- ASK: What just happened? (The water overflowed.) Why did this happen? (Because the cup was so full.) Today we are going to enter into the hardest part of Jesus’ life on earth. He knew what was going to happen to Him; He had always known. But He was very sad. His heart was so full of sorrow (deep sadness) that the Bible tells us it overflowed with sorrow. That is a lot of sadness, just like it took a lot of water to overflow this cup. (Continue on directly to the next section. You probably want to lead the children to a new area of the room.)
2. God Revealed (10 minutes)
- SAY: We are going to see what happened on the night Jesus was arrested. Remember that while everything that happened to Jesus was very horrible, God was in control and was with Him at every moment. Our lesson is found in Mark, chapter 14 (show them in your Bible). The Bible is God’s Word. He wrote it, so we know that everything in it is true.
- This is a paraphrased version of Mark 14:32-41, NIV:
Jesus took His disciples to a place called Gethsemane. He told them to sit and wait for Him while He went to pray. He took Peter, James, and John a little further. He was very, very upset and troubled. He told Peter, James, and John, “My soul is overflowing with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch.” Going just a little further, Jesus fell to the ground and prayed to God the Father. He prayed that if it were at all possible, that God would allow this not to happen. He said, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not my will, but your will be done.” He prayed so hard and suffered so much that His sweat was like drops of blood. Then He returned to Peter, James, and John and found them sleeping. He asked Peter, “Are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
Then Jesus went and prayed the same thing, that God would allow Him to not have to suffer and die, but for the Father’s will to be done. When he came back, Jesus found the disciples sleeping again. They did not know what to say to Him. He went to pray a third time. When He came back, Jesus said, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer.
- You may choose to act this out with the children, or just transition into the next section.
3. Personal Pursuit (15 minutes)
- ASK: Does anyone know what Jesus meant when He said “not my will, but your will be done”? Let me give you some examples to help you understand.
- To help your preschoolers to understand Christ’s statement “not my will, but your will…” talk about the following scenarios:
- Your mom says clean your room. What do you want to do instead? What does God want you to do? (Obey)
- Wash the dishes. What do you want to do? What does God want you to do? (Obey)
- Time for church! What do you want to do? What does God want you to do? (Obey)
- SAY: What you want to do is your will. What God desires for you to do is His will. Jesus was fully human. Just like we would not have wanted to die, Jesus did not want to die. His will was to not die. God’s will was for Him to be obedient, to die so that we may be forgiven of our sins. Jesus chose to be obedient to God the Father, even though He did not want to. We can never be perfectly obedient to God like Jesus, and because He died in our place, we do not have to. When we trust in Him for our salvation, we receive His perfection (righteousness) as our own. So we can stand before God as if we never sinned before, with pure hearts.
- ASK: Did you know Jesus was so sad, so sorrowful? Did you know He did not want to die? (Allow discussion. Jesus was fully human, so He had sadness and sorrow just like we do. Then show a picture of Jesus in Gethsemane.)
- ASK: What do you think about this picture? Did the artist do a good job at showing Jesus’ sorrow?
- OPTIONAL: If you have time, allow the children to draw or paint a depiction of Jesus in Gethsemane with a heart overflowing with sorrow.
- SAY: It is an amazing sacrifice that Jesus made! He knew He would have to suffer a lot of pain. Jesus never sinned; He was not guilty and did not deserve to be hung on a cross like a criminal. He knew that He did not have to die. But He did! He was perfectly obedient to the point of death. This should cause our hearts to overflow with love for Him! Let’s praise God together now and show Him how much we love Him!
- The Power of the Cross, sung by Stuart Townend:
- SAY: We stand forgiven at the cross because Jesus chose to be obedient and die for us. Let’s pray together to Him now. (In your prayer, communicate your great love for Jesus because of His great sacrifice. Praise Him for the hope we have because He did not stay dead, but rose. All believers will one day be with Him forever.)
4. Daily Knowing (10-15 minutes)
- SAY: Jesus was fully human, just like you and me. He experienced pain just like you and me. He became human so that He might break the power of sin and death! This means that when we trust in Him for our salvation, we are cleansed or freed from our sins! This means we can have a relationship with God! And this means that though we all may die, we will not stay dead but will live eternally with God! This also means that Jesus can comfort us perfectly when we are in pain because He experienced deep sorrow and pain while He was here on earth.
- SAY: It is very important for us to know God’s Word because it allows us to know His will. It also helps us to remember what Christ did for us and why it is important. Today we are going to memorize Mark 14:36, “And he said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’” (ESV)
- Remind the parents how important it is for them to help their children review their verses all throughout the week. Encourage them to memorize the verse with their children. Provide each parent with a notecard that has Mark 14:36 written on it.