Jesus, the Suffering Hero (Mark 8:31-38) Children’s Sermon

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This message communicates to children the importance of understanding who Jesus was and what His mission was. He knew that He came to Earth in order to love and care for others, but that ultimately God’s plan was for Him to suffer and die. His closest followers did not understand how victory could come through death, but Jesus recognized that glory would come through suffering. We rejoice that because of His death, we have eternal life.

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Law/Gospel Theme: We easily recognize how powerful and wonderful Jesus is…however, when He lived on Earth, His rule was not quite what people expected or anticipated. They wanted a conquering, physically impressive leader. Jesus came as a suffering servant.  They wanted political power in this life; Jesus established spiritual power for the life to come. We can give thanks that Jesus suffered for our sake and that through Him we have hope and salvation.

Optional Materials: Pictures of various types of heroes (fictional super heroes and real life military/medical personnel); pictures of punishment or execution tools, cross.

Bible Passage: Mark 8:27-38

More Teaching Ideas on this Scripture:

Message: Note: As with most messages, the details of how you choose to communicate this are adaptable and should cater to timing as well as to your audience and student needs.

Children’s Sermon on Mark 8:27-38

Greet the children, with several pictures or items representing heroes:
Hello, children of God!
What do you think makes someone a hero? Can you think of any heroes? You might think of a hero as someone with great strength or special powers, or maybe someone who overcomes things and helps people. I happen to have some pictures with me…maybe we can identify who these heroes are. (Hold up one image at a time and have students name them.) Okay, so here’s Superman…he is powerful because he can fly, and he’s incredibly strong, and he helps people… Here’s Captain America. He has incredible speed, strength, and endurance, and an awesome shield. He uses his powers to fight crime and keep the country safe. And then we have here some more “real-life” heroes or public figures…here’s a sports star, with his victory image. Here are some military heroes who give comforts and devotion to keep us safe. All of these heroes work hard for different things. Maybe they are trying to earn a medal, or a trophy, or… (As you hold up images, hold up a picture of a punishment or execution technique, such as a whip or guillotine. Of course, be sensitive of audience maturity.)

Wait a minute…how did that get in there? Why are these pictures in with my heroes? This isn’t heroic…these things cause suffering and pain and death! These are execution techniques…And you know what? (Hold up cross) So is this. Jesus came to Earth to rescue and save people, but it didn’t quite happen the way most people expected. People thought that He would be a powerful physical hero that would overthrow the oppressive Romans and set up a new kind of rule for the people.

But that’s not the kind of hero Jesus was. He sort of threw a plot twist into expectations when He announced that He was going to suffer and die. Even his disciples didn’t like hearing that. What kind of leader announces he’s going to let himself be captured and killed? Peter tried to tell Jesus that He was speaking nonsense, but Jesus explained that he didn’t recognize what he was talking about. Jesus came to take our place. He did overcome hardship…He overcame death itself, dying to conquer death! He did come to save, but not through politics. He came to save by taking our place and accepting punishments He didn’t earn. Jesus was a servant who knew that glorifying God would only come through suffering and pain.

He knew this was all part of God’s plan. God had spoken through prophets and covenants long before about how the Messiah would rescue everyone. The disciples didn’t quite understand this part of the plan, and had a hard time accepting it. But we can recognize how important the work of Christ is. He suffered for our sake. And because of that, we also note that Jesus can understand when we go through hard things. There are a lot of things in our lives that are difficult or challenging. We might not understand what God is doing. But Jesus promises to be with us and always help us get through. He knows how hard life is, because He was willing to undergo pain and death for us. He will listen to our cries every time we pray.

Why don’t we say a prayer right now?

Children’s Prayer Moment

(Have kids repeat each line)
Dear God,
Thank you for giving us Jesus, the true hero
Help us to cling to Him when life is hard
And remember that He’s been through it all!
We proclaim Him as Lord as we love one another
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
In Jesus’s name, Amen!

Bible Verses/story to Reference:

 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.

31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

-Mark 8:27-38

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