This free Bible lesson is based on Mark 6:14-29 when Herod calls for John the Baptist’s death. 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 – 7th Sunday after Pentecost, Gospel Reading – Mark 6:14-29.
Opening Activity – Don’t Punish the Messenger – 10 Commandments Telephone
Supplies – none
Sit in a circle and play a game of telephone using the 10 Commandments.
- Put God first.
- Worship God only.
- Use God’s name with respect.
- Remember God’s Sabbath.
- Respect your parents.
- Do not hurt other people.
- Be faithful in marriage.
- Do not steal.
- Do not lie.
- Do not be envious of others.
Lesson – Don’t Punish the Messenger
Who knows what we were talking about in our game of telephone? It’s the 10 Commandments. The 10 Commandments are rules that God gave Moses a long time ago. They were rules for the Hebrews to follow way back then, and they are still rules for us to follow today.
What do you call it when you break one of God’s rules? We call it a ‘sin’. And is sinning a good thing, or a bad thing? Definitely a bad thing.
God doesn’t want us to sin, but as people we are all sinners. So even if you try to follow the rules and be a good person, you will still mess up sometimes and sin.
The Bible tells us of a king named Herod who didn’t follow the 10 commandments. King Herod sinned which made God very sad, so God had one of His messengers talk to Herod. The man God chose was named John the Baptist, and one day while John was telling King Herod about God he told the king about the sin.
King Herod liked hearing about God and learning from John the Baptist, but he didn’t like being told what to do. As king, Herod usually told other people what to do, and he wasn’t used to being told he wrong.
The king decided to just ignore what John said about the sin, but someone else didn’t want to forget. The queen.
The queen was breaking the same rule as the king, so she was not happy when John told the king he was sinning. If the king was sinning, that meant she was sinning too.
Some people would feel scared to hear they were breaking one of God’s rules. Some people might even feel sad, for disappointing God. But the queen just felt mad.
Even though the queen was the one who was breaking the rule, she actually thought John the Baptist should be the one being punished. And not just a little bit punished, she wanted John to sent to prison and killed. All just because John reminded the king of God’s rules.
Do you think the queen was right? Of course not. She was the one who was sinning, so she should be the one being punished, not John.
When we get in trouble for breaking a rule it can be easy to get mad at whoever found out or punished us, but that is not what God wants. Whenever we mess up God wants us to ask for forgiveness and learn from what we have done so we won’t do it again.
Thankfully God is happy to forgive us, and He will even help us follow His rules if we ask Him.
Activity A – Don’t Punish the Messenger– Bible Verse Challenge
Supplies – Bibles
Verse – Mark 6:18-19
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 them 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 – Don’t Punish the Messenger – God’s Rule for Me
Supplies – pony bead, alphabet beads, cording, scissors
Talk briefly about the each of the 10 commandments and ask each child to choose one of God’s rules to work on. Then have them make a bracelet with the words to the corresponding rules to wear each day as a reminder.
Closing Prayer – Don’t Punish the Messenger
Ask for a volunteer to pray for the class before leaving, and encourage them to ask God to help them follow His rules.