Use this children’s Sunday School lesson about John the Baptist to teach kids about having humility toward Jesus.
Needed: Bibles, a trophy or prize you have won (bring a trophy or prize to show even if it isn’t something you’ve won), drawing paper and crayons or colored pencils
Intro Game: Disciple Tag
Choose one student to be It. When they tag someone, that person links hands with them and joins their team. They continue adding people to their team, linking hands with each one until all but one student is part of their chain. That remaining student becomes It for the next round.
Play two or three rounds and then, explain that when we tell people about Jesus, we want them to believe in Jesus too. If they do, they become a Christian and join our team. Then, they help us tell more people about Jesus.
Ask students, How many of you want to be famous when you grow up?
How many of you want to be famous now? Maybe you want to be really popular in your school and have everyone like you.
Why do you think we want to be famous?
(Show your trophy or prize.) What about winning trophies or ribbons or things like that? Have any of you ever won a trophy or gotten first place in a competition for something you did?
Why do people like to get trophies and win at things?
Well, in the Bible, there was a man who said he didn’t want to be popular anymore and he didn’t want to win. His name was John the Baptist, and he was Jesus’ older cousin. John the Baptist was very famous in Israel because he was such a great preacher. But let’s read what happened when Jesus started preaching too.
(Read John 3:22-24.)
“After this, Jesus and His disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where He spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.)”
So, John was preaching and baptizing in one place, but then, Jesus started preaching and baptizing somewhere else.
(Read John 3:25-26.)
“An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, He is baptizing, and everyone is going to Him.’”
John and Jesus were both preaching and baptizing people, but who were most of the people going to, John or Jesus? (Jesus.)
Most people were going to listen to Jesus. How do you think it made John feel when he heard that most people were going to listen to Jesus instead of coming to listen to him?
(Read John 3:27-30.)
“To this John replied, ‘A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, “I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of Him.” The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.’”
John said that he was glad most people were going to see Jesus instead of him because John knew that since Jesus was the Savior, or the Messiah, Jesus was more important than he was.
He didn’t want to be the most popular anymore because he wanted Jesus to be the most popular. He didn’t want to win everyone’s attention or have everyone listen to him or baptize the most people. He wanted Jesus to win.
And that’s what we should be like in our life too. We shouldn’t worry about how popular we are or how many people like us. We should simply be trying to get people to like Jesus.
And we shouldn’t worry about winning all the time because life isn’t about us and how great we are or how many things we win. Life is about Jesus and how great He is. Jesus is part of God, and He died for us so that we can be forgiven for our sins and go to Heaven when we die instead of going to Hell. Our life is about Jesus because of everything He’s done for us.
Game: Shoe Swap
Remind students that earlier, John the Baptist said that he wasn’t worthy to even untie Jesus’ sandal.
Students and leader sit in a circle and take their shoes off, leaving them in front of their chair. The leader then calls out a description for more than one pair of shoes. Whoever is sitting in a chair with a pair of shoes matching that description has to get up and move to another chair.
Anytime someone sits in the chair with the leader’s shoes in front of them, they have to say, “I’m not worthy!” and then, call out the next description.
Description ideas include: colors, laces, open-toed, tennis shoes, dress shoes, Velcro, etc.
Explain that we’re not worthy to serve Jesus, but He still lets us serve Him because He loves us.
Craft: Jesus, the Most Important Thing!
Give students drawing supplies and have them draw out a scene that shows that Jesus is the most important thing in their lives. It could be showing that Jesus is King in the life or the difference that believing in Jesus makes to them. They might draw a scene of what they might be doing if they didn’t believe in Jesus and what they do now that they believe in Him.
Jesus, thank You for taking our place on the cross so that we can be forgiven for all our sins. Help us to remember that our life is about You now, not being popular or winning prizes. The most important thing in our lives is You and helping other people to know You. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Jesus Starts His Work.