A House Divided: Sunday School Lesson from Mark 3:20-35

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This free Bible lesson is based on Mark 3:20-35 when Jesus speaks to the scribes about a house divided. It is designed for children’s church or Sunday School. Please modify as best fits your ministry. If your church follows the Revised Common Lectionary, this teaching plan would correspond to Year B – 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, Gospel Reading – Mark 3:20-35.

Opening Activity – A House Divided – Three-Legged Race/Obstacle Course

Supplies – bandanas, (optional found objects for obstacle course, stopwatch)
Pair kids up in twos.  With the pair standing side-by-side use a bandana to tie their inside ankles together.

For a standard race, select an area for a start and finish line, then line the kids up for a race.  The first pair to cross the finish line wins.  If you have a large group, split the kids up into heats, with the top two pairs moving on to the next round.

For the obstacle course, use found objects to set up obstacles along the race route.  This can include things like going under a table, through a tight doorway, weaving through chairs, etc.  Have each team race independently, timing each one to determine the winner.

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Mark 3:20-35 Lesson – A House Divided

Supplies: wooden blocks

So what did you think about that three-legged race?  Did anyone think it was really difficult?  What made it so hard?  Did anyone think it was easy?  Why do you think it was easy?

The only way to make a three-legged race work is to work as a team.  Have you ever been on a team before?

There are all kinds of teams you can be part of, like maybe an athletic team like soccer, or a music team in a band, or a school team for a group project.  Even when people grow up they are still doing things as a team.  The have a team at work, with their coworkers, and a team at home as parents.  We all work together in teams at some time or another.
And the most important part of working as a team is working together instead of on our own or against each other.

Now I have a hard question for you, so listen carefully and think about it for a minute.  What about being on a team by yourself?

Does that make any sense?  Can anyone tell me what that could mean?

It says in the Bible that sometimes our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak.  That means sometimes we do bad things even though we don’t want to do them.

Jesus spoke about this once and He described it as a house that is divided.

So I am going to need two volunteers to come up here and build a quick house for us.  All we need you to do is build a basic house with four walls.  And since you are going to be working as a team to build this thing, I will need you to work together, not against each other.

Great job!  So we have our house.  So far everything seems ok, right?  This is what it’s like when you work together as a team.  With all four walls working together our house is standing strong.

But what happens when we want to work separately or against each other?

I will need four volunteers this time.  Everyone pick a wall, and when I say “GO” I need you to pull the bottom block on your wall towards yourself.  Ready?  GO!

So how does our house look now?  This is a house divided.  This is what happens when we work against each other and ourselves, instead of working together.  It just can’t work.  A house divided cannot stand.  It will always fall.

That’s why God tells us to listen to the spirit.  If we do what is right, and what the spirit says we should do, our house can stand strong.  But if we don’t listen, and just do whatever we want, our house will fall.

And who wants to live in a fallen house?  Not me!  With the walls in a pile, and no roof over my head?  No thanks!  I want to live in a strong house, where I know I am safe.
So let’s work together, with each other and ourselves, to do what is right, keep our house strong, and please God.

Activity A – A House Divided– Bible Verse Challenge

Supplies – Bibles

Verse – Mark 3:24-25

Pass out Bibles to students. Bibles should be closed and sitting on the table face up in front of each child. When you say go, have the kids look up this week’s Bible verse. As each child finds the verse, have them stick one finger on the verse and quietly raise their other hand. The first one to find the verse gets to read it to the rest of the class.

Help younger kids and new kids find the verse by following these steps.

Look in the Table of Contents for the book you are looking for. Make an effort to show hem if it is found in the Old Testament or New Testament to help them in the future. Then open the Bible to the page number listed in the Table of Contents.

Show them the large numbers in the text, known as the chapters. Flip through pages until you find the large chapter number you are looking for.

Then scan through the text with them pointing out the smaller verse numbers until the correct number is found.

Activity B – A House Divided – Team Work

Supplies – colander, string, stuffed animal

Pre-Class Prep – Before class cut 10-15 lengths of string 15-20 feet long each.  Then evenly space the strings around the lip of the colander and tie them securely in the corresponding hole.  In a large open area set the colander on the ground lip down, place the stuffed animal on the base, and fan the strings out.

Designate a start and finish line.  Choose two kids to each pick a single string, then challenge them to move the colander together across the finish line (holding only the end of their string), keeping the stuffed animal safely on top.  Add an additional person and repeat until there is someone holding on to each string.  If the kids are working together, the addition of each person should help to control the colander and make the task easier.  If they are working against each other, the control on the colander will be lost, and the stuffed animal will quickly fall.

Closing Prayer – A House Divided

Ask for a volunteer to pray for the class before leaving, and encourage them to ask God to help them work together with each other and help doing what is right.

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