Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids how to work together with God instead of opposing Him.
Intro Game: The Life of Jesus Relay
Divide students into two or more teams. When you say, “Go!” the first student on each team will perform the first leg of the relay race, traveling to the other side of your play area and back to their team. The second student on each team then does the second leg, and so on until that team completes the last leg. The first team to complete all legs of the race wins.
Leg 1. Crying. Cry like a baby to show Jesus was born as a baby.
Leg 2. Crawl. Crawl like a baby to show that Jesus had to crawl when he was little.
Leg 3. Slow Walk. Walk slowly like a one-year-old to show that Jesus had to learn to walk.
Leg 4. Run. Run like a child, as Jesus did when He was a boy.
Leg 5. Hammer the Ground. Hit the ground like you’re a man hammering nails to show that Jesus learned how to be a carpenter.
Leg 6. Spin. Spin around saying, “You’re healed! You’re healed!” to show that Jesus helped all the people around Him.
Leg 7. Crucifix Run. Run with your arms outstretched to the sides to show that Jesus was crucified on a cross.
Leg 8. Backward Walk. Walk backward with your arms crossed over your chest to show that Jesus died.
Leg 9. Skip. Skip, yelling, “Ta-da!” to show that Jesus came back to life.
Read Matthew 16:21.
“From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Jesus said that He was going to be killed and that He would come back to life three days later. When did that happen? (When Jesus died on the cross and then came back to life on Easter.)
(Read Matthew 16:22.)
“Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’”
Why do you think Peter didn’t want Jesus to die? (Peter was Jesus’ friend and didn’t want Him to die.)
(Read Matthew 16:23.)
“Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’”
Why did Jesus call Peter “Satan”? Was Peter really Satan?
Jesus called Peter Satan because God wanted Jesus to die on the cross so that He could save us from our sins, but Peter was trying to stop Jesus from dying on the cross.
When we try to stop things that God wants to do, or when we do things that God doesn’t want us to do, we’re acting like Satan because Satan always tries to get in God’s way. When Peter tried to stop Jesus from dying, even though God wanted Him to die, he was acting like Satan because he was going against God’s plans.
(Read Matthew 16:24-25.)
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it.”
What does Jesus mean by saying that we have to lose our life for Him?
Jesus is saying that we can’t live for ourselves and just do what we want to do anymore. We have to listen to Jesus.
If we want to be Jesus’ followers and live with Him in Heaven, then we have to live our lives for Him, not for ourselves. We have to do what God wants us to do, not just what we want to do. It’s like we die to ourselves but live for God.
And if we’re living for God, then we won’t act like Satan and get in the way of God’s plans. We’ll follow God’s plans and work with Him to do the good things that He wants to do.
(Read Matthew 16:26.)
“’What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?’”
Jesus is saying that you can have everything in the whole world and do everything that you want to do, but none of that is as important as going to Heaven when you die. The most important thing in life is following God and doing what He wants you to do so that you can live forever with Him in Heaven. Nothing in this world is as important as God.
(Read Matthew 16:27.)
“For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done.”
Jesus said that He’s going to come back one day, and if we have believed in Him and done the right things that God wants us to do, then He will reward us. But if we have not believed in God and we’ve done the wrong things that God doesn’t want us to do, then Jesus is going to punish us.
(Read Matthew 16:28.)
“’Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.’”
Jesus told His disciples that some of them would still be alive when He came back to life after He died on the cross. And maybe some of us will still be alive when Jesus comes back from Heaven. We never know because we don’t know when Jesus is going to come back.
What we do know is that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins, that He wants us to live for God and not for ourselves, and that if we have lived for God, then Jesus will reward us when He comes back, and we will get to live forever with Him.
Game: Listening to God
Have students line up at one side of the room. The teacher gives instructions, saying “God Says” as in “Simon Says.” Make the motions as you say the instruction. Every once in a while, do something and give the instruction without saying “God says” first. Anyone who does something without the teacher having said, “God says” is out. You can also give an instruction that doesn’t match your motion to catch kids off guard. Students who are out wait there until the end of the round and then, join back in. The last student in the game becomes the new leader.
Game: Resurrection Tag
Pick one student to be It. That student is Death. Pick another student to be Jesus. When Death tags someone, they fall down and lie on the ground like they’re dead. Jesus can then come to tag them, and they can get back up. If Death tags Jesus, Jesus must count to three (because Jesus was dead for three days), but can then get up again. If Jesus tags Death, the round is over. Play until everyone has had a chance to be both Death and Jesus or as long as time permits.
Remind students that Jesus will come back one day and will raise everyone who believes in Him back to life.
Jesus, we thank You for coming to take our punishment and die for us. Help us to follow You and work together with You instead of getting in Your way like Satan. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, The Parables and Teachings of Jesus Vol. 2.