This Sunday School lesson is based on the Temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11. The lesson plan below includes the complete teacher notes, craft ideas, worksheets, and coloring pages. It’s everything you need to teach kids about the Temptation of Christ.
Jesus is Tempted
Sunday School Lesson on Matthew 4:1-11
Target Age Group: 3rd-5th grade, but could be adapted for other age groups. Compare our Preschool lesson on the Temptation of Jesus. You could also include our children’s sermon on the Temptation of Christ.
Main Point: Jesus faced temptation but did not sin
Supplies: Bibles, paper, pencils, Play-Doh
Related: See more lessons and resources based on Matthew 4:1-11
Lesson Introduction Questions
- Ask: What is temptation? (The desire to do something, generally something we can’t or shouldn’t do)
- Ask: What are some things that kids are tempted by? (Write answers on the board.)
- Teacher, share something that you are tempted by. Help kids to understand that temptation isn’t something we grow out of once we reach adulthood, but we must constantly rely on God to help us overcome temptation.
- Ask: When you are tempted by something, how do you deal with the temptation?
- Say: Today’s we’ll learn that Jesus faced temptation but did not sin.
Lesson: The Temptation of Christ for Kids
Ask: What does it mean to be tempted by something? What are some things that are tempting?
Say: Temptation all by itself isn’t sinful. It’s what we do when we’re tempted that matters. Sometimes it’s really hard to walk away from something we want (even if it’s something we shouldn’t have.) But when we give in to temptation that leads us into sin.
Ask: Did you know that Jesus was tempted? He was! Jesus faced temptation but did not sin.
Ask: Who remembers what the four gospels are? (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.)
Say: Today’s story comes from the book of Matthew, the first book in the New Testament. Last week we heard how John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. We learned that The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove, and God spoke from heaven saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.”
Tell the Story: Immediately after all this happened, God sent Jesus into the wilderness where he fasted for 40 days.
Ask: Does anyone know what it means to fast? (To go without food for a given amount of time in order to spend time praying and thinking about God.)
Ask: At the end of those 40 days how do you think Jesus felt?
Tell the Story: Jesus was hungry! Suddenly Satan appeared to Jesus and tried to tempt him. He said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Ask: Do you think Jesus was tempted to do that? If you were in Jesus’ place what would you have done? Let’s read from God’s Word to find out what Jesus did.
Read Matthew 4:4 “Jesus answered, ‘It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Say: Instead of giving into the temptation to turn the stones into bread, Jesus remembered what God’s Word says. Way back in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy we can read about how the Israelites were wandering in the desert and they were really concerned about what they were going to eat. In fact they cared more about food than their God who provided it! In reality, we need God more than we need anything else in the world because it’s God Himself who sustains us. That’s what Jesus remembered when Satan tempted Him, and knowing this truth allowed Jesus to resist temptation. Jesus faced temptation but did not sin.
Tell the Story: Satan wasn’t finished with Jesus! Next he took Jesus to Jerusalem and had him stand at the very top of the temple. Satan said that if Jesus was truly the Son of God he could jump from the top of the temple and wouldn’t be hurt. “God will take care of you.” Satan told him. “It even says in God’s Word that God will send angels to take care of you. They will lift up your hands and you won’t even hit your foot on a stone.”
Say: Woah, now Satan was using scripture too! He was quoting from the Old Testament book of Psalms and tried to tempt Jesus to test God’s protection. After all if Jesus was the Son of God, wouldn’t God save him?
Read Matthew 4:7 “Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Tell the Story: You would think by this time Satan would just give up, but he still wasn’t finished trying to get Jesus to sin. This time Satan took Jesus up to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world. “Look at all this!” Satan said. “All of this will be yours if you would only bow down and worship me!”
Read Matthew 4:10 “Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”
Tell the Story: For a third time Jesus quoted scripture to Satan, reminding him of the truth of God’s Word. Jesus faced temptation but did not sin.
Say: Did you know that this was not the only time that Jesus was tempted? Three years later Jesus was on the cross. People passed by him and shouted up to him, “Save yourself! If you are really the Son of God, you could come down from that cross!” Jesus certainly could have saved himself because He truly was (and is) God. Jesus didn’t deserve to die on the cross because He was absolutely perfect. Jesus faced temptation but did not sin.
Ask: Have you ever faced temptation?
Say: God knows that we will be tempted by many things in our lives, and He has given us a powerful weapon to help us fight against it. Does anyone know what it is? (The Bible) God’s Word reminds us of what is true, even when Satan tries to tempt us to forget it.
Say: God reminds us in the book of Hebrews why it’s important that Jesus faced temptation but did not sin. Let’s read and find out.
Read Hebrews 4:15 “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Say: Jesus is our high priest! He knows what it’s like to be tempted. He’s been in our shoes, and there’s nothing that we experience that Jesus hasn’t endured himself. There’s a big difference though. When we’re tempted, we often sin. Jesus faced temptation but did not sin. Jesus did what is completely impossible for us! And because Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead, we have a promise that whoever puts their faith in Christ will be shown grace. Because of Jesus’ perfect life we can come before the throne of God! Let’s pray and thank God for this amazing gift.
Pray Dear God thank you for Your Word and what a powerful weapon it is as we fight against temptation. Thank you for showing us how Jesus faced temptation but did not sin. We praise you for your amazing grace in our lives and for loving us so much that you would send your only Son to die for our sins. Amen.
Lesson Review Questions
- What was the main point from our lesson? (Jesus faced temptation but did not sin.)
- Where was Jesus when he was tempted? (The wilderness)
- What did Jesus do for 40 days and 40 nights? (Fast)
- What 3 ways did Satan tempt Jesus? (Alleviate hunger, test God’s protection, power)
- What is something you learned about Jesus from this story?
Learning Activity 1: Alternate Ending
Supplies: Bibles, Paper, pencils
- Say: We learned about the time that Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. But remember, there was another time that Jesus was tempted.
- Pass out Bibles and have the kids look up Matthew 27:39-40
- Ask: How was Jesus tempted?
- Say: I want you to imagine that things in this story turned out differently. Imagine that Jesus had listened to all those people passing by as he hung on the cross. Imagine that He had used His power to save himself and come down from the cross. What would that mean for us?
- Pass out the paper and pencils to each kid. Have them write about (or draw a picture) of how things would have turned out if Jesus hadn’t died for our sins.
Learning Activity 2: Playdoh Scene
- Let the kids work in small groups and pass out the Play-Doh to each group. Let them choose a scene from the story to create with the Play-Doh
Crafts, Coloring Pages, and Worksheets
The additional learning activities and printable are included in the easy print lesson PDF download.