Title: Jesus Presented at the Temple
Scripture: Matt 2:16-23; Luke 2:22-52
Target Age Group: 3rd-5th grade
Main Point: Jesus obeyed perfectly to save us from our sin
Supplies: Mini dry erase boards, markers, and erasers, two manila envelopes, copies of “The God Report Card” activity, slips of paper with keywords on them
- Ask: Have you ever broken the rules? What are some rules that are hard to follow?
- Say: Today we’ll hear the story of Jesus when he was a young boy. We’ll talk about how Jesus obeyed perfectly to save us from our sin. Even though we are imperfect and can’t obey God like we should, God shows us grace through Jesus!
- Pray that God would open our hearts to His Word today.
Tell the Story
Ask: Have you ever tried really hard to follow a rule but were just unable to do it? Maybe you weren’t able to stop talking to a your friend when your teacher asked you to be quiet. Or maybe you parents asked you to go clean your room but you just had to finish watching your favorite TV show. (Give kids a chance to share.)
Say: Sometimes it’s hard to follow all the rules even when we want to! Today we’re going to hear a story about Jesus and what He was like as a young child. We’ll hear how He obeyed God all the time, and we’ll learn that Jesus obeyed perfectly to save us from our sin.
Say: Our story today comes from two books in the New Testament, Matthew and Luke. These are two of the 4 gospels. Let’s name the 4 gospels together…Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The gospels tell the story of Jesus’ life and ministry on earth. The gospels even give us a glimpse into Jesus’ life as a child.
Say: During the season of Advent we heard the story of Jesus’ birth. We learned about the wise men and the shepherds. We also heard how the evil King Herod wanted to kill Jesus because he didn’t want to lose his kingdom! Our story today begins 8 days after Jesus was born.
God’s law said that all the firstborn males in Israel (sons and livestock) were to be set apart for God. That meant that the firstborn males of the livestock were sacrificed to God and the firstborn sons were redeemed with an animal sacrifice. This was a reminder to the people of Israel of the Passover when God spared their firstborn sons in Egypt during the 10th plague.
Tell the Story: Joseph and Mary brought baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to offer a sacrifice for Him since He was their firstborn son. Even as a baby, Jesus was fulfilling God’s law! While they were in the temple a man named Simeon approached them. God had made a special promise to Simeon saying that he would get to see the promised Messiah before he died. What a amazing promise that was! When Simeon saw the baby Jesus in Mary’s arms he knew the wait for the Messiah was over. He praised God saying,
Read Luke 2:29-32: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
Ask: Salvation is a big word. Does anyone know what it means?
Say: “Salvation” means rescue from danger or harm.
Ask: What do we need saving from? (Sin) What do you think Simeon meant when he said he had seen the Lord’s salvation?
Say: God brings us salvation through Jesus, and God had allowed Simeon to see Jesus face to face! Simeon said that Jesus would be a light for the Gentiles (or non-Jewish people). That means that Jesus came to save everyone from their sin! Remember, Jesus obeyed perfectly to save us from our sin.
Tell the Story: As we continue reading in the book of Luke we hear a story of Jesus when he’s a bit older. Every year Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover Feast. (Passover was a celebration to remember God rescuing His people from Egypt.)
When Jesus was 12 years old He accompanied His parents to Jerusalem as always. After the feast Mary and Joseph began the long trip back to Nazareth. Since they were probably traveling with a large group of people they didn’t realize that Jesus wasn’t with them! When they discovered that Jesus was missing they hurried back to Jerusalem and searched the city for him.
Ask: Can anyone guess where Mary and Joseph found Jesus? Let’s read from God’s Word and find out where He was.
Read from Luke 2:46-47 “After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.”
Tell the Story: Mary was distressed and asked Jesus “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” Jesus answered her, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
Say: This seems like an odd thing for Jesus to say. When he said He was in His Father’s house He meant the temple. He was showing Mary and Joseph that God was His true Father. Jesus was also saying that He had come to do the work of His true Father and would be perfectly obedient to Him!
Tell the Story: Jesus returned home with Mary and Joseph and the Bible tells us that he grew in wisdom and people had a lot of respect for Him. They knew that something was different about Jesus because He obeyed God all the time! Remember, Jesus obeyed perfectly to save us from our sin.
Say: Jesus continued to obey God perfectly throughout His entire life on Earth, even when it meant dying on the cross. Later in the book of Luke, when Jesus was an adult, He returned to Jerusalem for the last time. In Luke 22 we read how Jesus went into a garden to pray. He knew that the time had come for Him to be arrested and crucified. Jesus prayed, “Not my will but yours be done.” Jesus obeyed perfectly all the way to the cross so we could be saved from our sin.
Ask: Do we always obey God perfectly? (No)
Say: The Bible tells us in the book of Romans that no one is able to obey God perfectly, no matter how hard they try! You see, even when we want to obey God we’re still not able to because of our sinful hearts. That’s why it’s so important that Jesus did obey perfectly. Jesus obeyed perfectly to save us from our sin. When we decide to follow Jesus, He shares His perfect obedience with us. So now, when God looks at us, instead of seeing our disobedience, He sees Jesus’ perfect obedience! Let’s pray together and thank God for this incredible truth!
Pray Dear God thank you so much for sending Jesus to obey perfectly to save us from our sin. Thank you for showing us your incredible grace and allowing us to enter your kingdom when we decide to follow Jesus. Remind us this week that even though we fail to obey you perfectly, our salvation comes through Jesus! Amen.
Pass out dry erase boards and markers to each child. As you ask the review questions, have them write their answers on the boards and hold them up for you to see.
- What was the main point from our lesson? (Jesus obeyed perfectly to save us from our sin)
- Why did Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple when he was a baby? (To dedicate him to God and offer a sacrifice since He was their firstborn son.)
- Who was the man God promised would see the Messiah before he died? (Simeon)
- Why did Mary and Joseph travel to Jerusalem every year? (To celebrate the Passover Feast)
- How old was Jesus when Mary and Joseph left him in Jerusalem? (12)
- Where did they find Jesus after 3 days and what was He doing? (In the temple listening to the teachers and asking questions)
Learning Activity 1: The God Report Card
(Activity adapted from Jack Klumpenhower’s book “Show Them Jesus”)
Supplies: 2 manilla envelopes with “Report Card” written on them. On one write “Me” in the name line and on the other write “Jesus”, 3 report cards (one with all F’s and the other with all A+’s, the last one blank-download it here:http://jackklumpenhower.com/printables/)
- Show the kids the manila envelope with “Me” in the name line. Tell them to imagine that this is their report card that they will show to God but instead of earning grades in Math and Science they will earn grades in subjects like honesty and generosity.
- Ask the kids what grade they would give themselves in each subject. (Show a blank report card)
- Say: Actually, we all earn the same grade in every subject. Pull out the report card with “Me” in the name line. There will be an F written in red marker for each subject.
- Say: Because God is perfect and demands perfect obedience, even when we mess up just a little, that’s enough to earn us a failing grade. What would happen if you took a school report card home with all F’s?
- Say: We have a problem, and that problem is sin. The good news is that Jesus fixes our sin problem. How does He do it? (Give kids a chance to respond)
- Say: He could forgive us, but Jesus simply forgiving us is like Him erasing all our F’s. He could do that, but then we’d just be left with a blank report card wouldn’t we? And if I have a blank report card I’d be tempted to do a lot of good stuff to try to earn some good grades, wouldn’t you?
- Ask: Could Jesus simply give us all A’s? Sure, but an A doesn’t mean much if it wasn’t earned. So if Jesus is going to give us all A’s, where do those A’s come from?
- Pull out the second envelope with “Jesus” written on the name line. Take out His report card and show the kids the A+’s in each subject.
- Say: Jesus obeyed God perfectly in every subject. Now, here is what the good news means…
- Put Jesus’ A+ report card in the “Me” envelope and put the F report card in the “Jesus” envelope.
- Say: When we talk about Jesus taking our sin to the cross it means that He actually traded His perfect life with our imperfect one. It was like Jesus taking home a report card full of F’s to God. Those F’s had to be punished. That’s why Jesus had to die on the cross. He got the punishment that our sin deserves. But Jesus truly was perfect and didn’t deserve death. That’s why 3 days later He was resurrected.
- Ask: How does it make you feel knowing that you have an A+ report card from Jesus? (Allow kids to respond.)
- Say: Now, instead of trying to do good things to earn a good grade, we know that we can’t ever do enough to deserve those A+’s. Now when we do good things it’s in response to God’s love. We can pray and read our Bible not because we feel like we have to or God will be mad at us, but because we love God and want to be closer to Him!
Learning Activity 2: Pictionary
Supplies: Dry erase board and markers, Slips of paper with words from the story on them, brown lunch bag
- Divide the class into two teams. Have one child from each team come to the board. Have one of them pull out a slip of paper from the bag. They must draw the word for their team to guess. The first team to guess correctly gets a point.