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 & 15 where Jesus is on trial. Preschoolers will discover that Jesus took great pain to help them come to God. Jesus suffered greatly in obedience to the Father so that we might be forgiven and reconciled to Him.
Bible Passage: Mark 14:53-65; 15:1-20
Bible Lesson Title: Jesus on Trial
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-Nine (40 minutes)
Scripture: Mark 14:53-65; 15:1-20
Exegetical Idea: Jesus has an unjust trial, is beaten and mocked, and led away to be crucified.
Pedagogical Idea: Jesus suffered greatly in obedience to the Father so that we might be forgiven and reconciled to Him.
Cognitive Aim: Preschoolers will know Jesus suffered so that we might be made free from the slavery of sin.
Affective Aim: Preschoolers will feel great love for Jesus.
Behavioral Aim: Preschoolers will memorize God’s Word and praise Him through song.
Memory Verse: John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
- Kindle Curiosity (10 minutes) Description: Discuss mocking. Supplies: Bible outfits.
- God Revealed (15 minutes) Description: Hear the Scripture passage Supplies: Bible
- Personal Pursuit (10 minutes) Description: Simon Says activity, worship the Lord through song, pray, draw pictures of Jesus. Supplies: song The Power of the Cross sung by Stuart Townend (link found in section 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)
ASK: Do any of you know what it means to mock someone? (Allow them time to respond.) Mocking is attacking someone with your words, often by imitating them, or making fun of them. Our lesson today is very sad. Jesus has been arrested, and He is about to be put on trial like a person who has done something wrong, like a criminal. Was Jesus a criminal? Did He do anything wrong? Do you think they will be fair to Jesus? Let’s open God’s Word and find out together!
2. God Revealed (10 minutes)
*Note: I do not have the children reenact this story because of the violence and sadness of it as Jesus is beaten, mocked, and led away to be crucified.
SAY: Our story is found in Mark chapters 14 and 15 (show them in your Bible). Turn up your ears and off yours mouths so you can listen closely as I tell you the story!
Jesus has just been arrested…They led Jesus away to the high priest; and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. Now all of these men kept trying to get someone to accuse Jesus of a crime so they could put Him to death, but they were not finding anyone. Many people were making up stories about Jesus, but their stories did not match, so it was clear they were lying. But Jesus did not defend Himself, even though the stories were not true. The high priest stood up and questioned Jesus, saying, “Why are you not answering? How are you going to respond to these stories these people are telling against You?” But Jesus kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, saying, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” This time Jesus answered and said, “I am; and you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.” This made the high priest angry! He began tearing his clothes and said, “We do not need any more witnesses!You have heard His lies! What do you think?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death. Some began to spit at Him, blindfold Him, and beat Him with their fists. They said to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers slapped Him in the face.
These men could not crucify Jesus without permission even though they condemned Him as guilty. They took Him to the leader of their country, a man named Pilate. He questioned Jesus, asking Him if He was the King of the Jews, and Jesus said “It is as you say.” Then Pilate asked Him about all of the stories people had made up, but Jesus did not defend Himself! He was silent. Pilate did not find Him guilty! Still the priests all wanted Jesus to die. Pilate felt very pressured by so many people wanting Jesus to be crucified, so even though he knew Jesus was innocent, he let the people have Jesus to crucify Him.
Jesus was whipped very badly. Then soldiers took Him away into the palace. They dressed Him up in purple, and after twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on Him. They pretended to praise Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They kept beating His head with a reed and spitting on Him. They kneeled and bowed before Him, mocking Him. After they had mocked Him, they took the purple robe off Him and put His own garments back on. And they led Him out to crucify Him.
3. Personal Pursuit (15 minutes)
SAY: Wow. This is a sad story! Our Jesus went through so much pain and suffering. And He never defended Himself! He let them tell lies about Him and treat Him like a criminal. They made fun of Jesus, calling Him the “King of the Jews.” Was Jesus the king of the Jews? (Yes!) He is our King too. Though they were making fun of who Jesus said that He was, it was the greatest truth they could have ever known. Later, when Jesus is on the cross, they tell Him that if He was really the Messiah, He would be able to save Himself. But Jesus did not choose to save Himself; He chose to save us by dying on the cross.
ASK: Why do you think these men did not believe in Jesus? (Allow time for them to respond). It was because these men were sinners, just like you and me. They were slaves to their sin. We are no better than them! Before God changes our hearts, we are slaves to sin. Let’s play a game that will help you understand what it means to be a slave to sin.
Play Simon Says with your kids. Allow them to take turns and play a few rounds.
SAY: In this game, you have to do what Simon says. In the same way, people who are slaves have to do what their masters say. Before we believe in Christ, before God changes our hearts, we are slaves to sin. It is like we always have to obey our sinful thoughts. Everything within us wants to disobey God all of the time. These men in the story were still slaves to sin. They had not been set free, and they were mocking the only man who could set them free!
(See also Jesus Gives Freedom from Sin (John 8:32) Lesson Plan by Tony Kummer for more activities to illustrate this truth.)
SAY: Jesus allowed these men to mock Him, spit on Him, and beat Him. He could have stopped them at any time, but He chose to suffer and die so that we may be set free from our sin. His death is so powerful! Let’s praise Him together.
The Power of the Cross, sung by Stuart Townend
SAY: We stand forgiven at the cross, set free from our sins, 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: It is very important for us to know God’s Word because it helps us to remember what Christ did for us and why it is important. Today we are going to memorize John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Let’s see if we can make up hand motions to help us remember this verse!
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 John 8:32 written on it.