This lesson was prepared for our students who are currently studying the Book of Acts. The purpose of the lesson was to tie in what the students were learning in their study as they study the birth of Christ. This was created for older students but can be adapted for your ministry needs.
Bible Story: Jesus is the Light of the World
Scripture: Selected passages (Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-7)
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
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Supply List: Bibles, blindfolds, white board, dry erase marker, flannel graphs or pictures to illustrate the story. For more lesson ideas, you can browse another Christmas Sunday School lesson based on the theme “Jesus is the Light.”
Learning Goal: Students will learn that the birth of Christ fulfills God’s promise to send Light into the world.
Learning Activity #1: Blind-fold demonstration:
- Blindfold students
- Give students simple instructions like-walk to the door and touch the handle, return to your seat, choose one student at a time to come to the white board and write his/her name on it and then return to their seat. Call out a student’s name and tell him/her to switch seats with another student you choose, etc.
- Remove blindfolds and have the students look at the board and see how their names turned out.
- Discuss difficulties of being blindfolded. (Bumping into people, things, didn’t know if someone already wrote on the board where they wrote etc.)
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse: 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
Bible Lesson: Jesus is the Light of the World
- The Gift of the Holy Spirit given to believers (Acts 1:4, Acts 2:1-41/Joel 2:28-29)
- Salvation to the Gentiles (Acts 10-11:18, 13:47/Isaiah 49:6)
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas we have an opportunity to use what we have learned in our study of Acts as we look back at Christ’s birth.
When God created the world it was perfect and without sin. Adam and Eve lived in a perfect relationship with God. Everything was perfect until that dreadful day they chose to disobey God’s one rule. What was that rule? (You can eat freely from all the trees of the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat of it you will surely die.)
God is without sin and wherever He is there is Light. (1 John 1:5) Adam and Eve’s act of sin brought darkness into God’s perfect creation. That one sin brought pain and sadness to every person that was born after Adam and Eve.
Recently in our study in Acts we have heard about two people who were physically blinded and walked in darkness because they could not see with their eyes. Does anyone remember who they are? (Saul and Bar-Jesus/Elymas) Both of these men were temporarily blind and needed someone to help them get around because they could not see.
We are going to do an illustration of what it means to say that sin brought darkness into God’s perfect world.
Although this was only an illustration of walking in darkness it helps us to understand how our sin separates us from God. Sin blinds us spiritually and keeps us from living a life that pleases God. Sin causes pain in our own lives and the lives of others. Sin causes us to stumble and fall.
It would be terrible if there wasn’t a solution to the problem of walking in spiritual darkness wouldn’t it? Thankfully, God who loves us so much had a plan in place even before Adam and Eve sinned to rescue us from sin (1 Peter 1:18-20, Revelation 13:8).
God promised Adam and Eve that one day a Savior would take away their sins. (Genesis 3:15) God’s promises can be fulfilled immediately or come true after a long time. (2 Peter 3:8-9) No matter how long it takes God always keeps His promises!
Although men, women, boys and girls were walking in darkness because of sin, God always provided light so people could know Him and how to live a life that pleases Him.
Ways that God’s light was given: His laws and His prophets
How are the laws and prophets ‘light’ in a dark world? (They are used to point people to God. By obeying God’s laws and listening to His prophets people would know how to navigate and avoid unnecessary difficulties in the darkness of sin.)
In our blindfold illustration God’s laws and prophets would be like having a person who does not have a blindfold who gives verbal instructions to help those who can’t see move around without unnecessarily bumping into people and things.
God’s laws and prophets were His light helping people to avoid the devastating effects that sin brings into their lives.
Even with God’s laws and prophets people still disobeyed and suffered the consequences of their sin. Throughout history people have suffered because of our own personal rebellion toward God or because of others’ sins against Him. At times it seems so dark because of the wickedness of people in this world.
The darkness in this world could be likened to being stuck in a dark room forever never to be able to get outside into the light. We are stuck in this dark room and there is absolutely nothing we can do in our own strength to get out. No amount of money, intelligence or good works can get us out of the room into the light.
Our study of Acts has taught us that although we are sinners and helpless before God, there is Good News. What is that Good News? Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day.
Thankfully God sees our hopeless condition and has not left us to fumble around endlessly bumping into walls or falling down. A long, long time ago He gave a promise to His prophet Isaiah. Let’s turn to Isaiah 9 and see what the people walking in darkness were promised. Read 9:2. The Christmas story is about the True Light that God sent into this world to rescue poor sinners from the darkness.
Over 700 years had passed since Isaiah spoke God’s promises about the coming Savior. No matter how long it takes, God always keeps His promises (2 Peter 3:8-9).
Let’s turn to Luke 1:26. Let’s read 1:26-28. Mary was a young woman who lived her life to please God. She was not sinless but chose to walk in obedience to God’s laws.
Luke 1:29-38 Mary’s response to Gabriel’s message
Mary was troubled and wondered what this message to her meant. She had no idea at that moment that she was going to be used by God to be a part of His plan to fulfill His promises. Gabriel’s message to Mary points back to two promises that God made many years before Mary was born. For the first promise let’s turn to 2 Samuel 7:11-12. God promised King David that a child that would be born from his family would reign forever. Let’s see how Gabriel speaks of this promise in Luke 1:32.
The next promise that Gabriel speaks about is found in Isaiah. Read Isaiah 7:14. Mary asked Gabriel how she could have God’s Son since she was a virgin and had not been married? Read Gabriel’s response in verses 35-37. As Mary heard Gabriel’s words her heart must have remembered God’s Word that He promised through the prophet Isaiah.
- Believers should read all of God’s Words so when He speaks to your heart you will know that it is His voice you hear.
We may be sitting here thinking what an awesome privilege God has given to Mary. It was an honor but it came with a price. She would face people who would not believe her. Who in all of history has gotten pregnant miraculously without ever being married? Did she lose friends and family because people didn’t believe her? We can only imagine because it’s not recorded in God’s word. Even knowing the difficulty she would face as the mother of God’s son, Mary responds with a humble obedient heart to God’s plan for her life.
- Believers have been called to obey God and do the work He has prepared for them to do. We will face difficulties and people will misunderstand but our response must be humble obedience to God (1 Peter 4:12).
There is another person involved with God’s plan to send the True Light into the world. His name is Joseph the man who planned to become Mary’s husband. Let’s read his story in Matthew 1:18-25. Joseph was a godly man who walked according to God’s commands. We can see that he is a humble, gentle man from his reaction to the news that his bride to be was pregnant. He knew that he and Mary were living a life of purity and he was not the father of this child. He didn’t want her to face public humiliation so he was going to privately divorce her.
God sent Gabriel to Joseph with a message as well. Let’s read what Gabriel said in verses 20-23. Once again Gabriel points back to God’s promise that He made through His prophet Isaiah.
As a godly man, Joseph would have known what God had promised in Isaiah. It may not have made any sense to him how God could cause Mary to be pregnant with the Promised Savior but he knew that the message that Gabriel gave him was from God. He responded with obedience and took Mary home to be his wife.
Luke 2:1-20 The Light of the World is Born as a Baby in Bethlehem
When it was time for Mary to have God’s Son, her and Joseph had to travel to the town of Bethlehem. Caesar Augustus was taking a census to find out how many people were living in the area he was ruling over. Each family needed to return to their hometowns. Joseph’s hometown was in Bethlehem. His family descended from the family of King David.
While in Bethlehem Mary gave birth to God’s Son. Even Jesus’ birthplace fulfills God’s promise (Micah 5:2) That night God kept His promise that He made through Isaiah. God’s Son left heaven and came to this world filled with darkness to rescue every man, woman and child from sin.
We know that Jesus did not stay a little baby in Bethlehem. He grew up and lived a life in a human body. He was fully God and fully man living among people. He taught people how to please God. He showed God’s power by performing miracles. He lived a sinless life and yet was condemned to die. Let’s refresh our memory how Peter taught the crowds about the day Jesus died in our place. Let’s read Acts 2:22-24.
Today we no longer have to walk in spiritual darkness. God has provided us with Light through His Son Jesus. During this Christmas season we can rejoice because we have been rescued from darkness. (1 Peter 2:9)
If you’ve never heard the Good New how you can be saved, you can receive the best Christmas present ever. Please talk to us if you would like to know how Jesus can save you and all your sins can be forgiven.
Close in prayer.
- How did darkness enter God’s perfect world? (Adam and Eve’s sin)
- What did God give to people so there would be light in the darkness? (His Laws, His prophets)
- Which prophet did God promise that a virgin would give birth to a son? (Isaiah)
- Who told Mary and Joseph God’s plan? (Gabriel)
- Name some events that happened in the Christmas story that fulfilled God’s promises. (Mary was a virgin who was pregnant with God’s Son, David’s relative would reign forever, born in Bethlehem)
- How can you share the Light with others during the Christmas season?