Use this children’s Sunday School lesson about Jesus clearing the Temple to teach kids about the sanctity of God’s House.
Needed: Bibles, whiteboard or blackboard, soft balls or paper wads, drawing paper and crayons or colored pencils
Intro Activity: Acting It Out
Divide students into groups of three or four. Have each group decide on and act out one part of your church service. After each group, briefly discuss why your church includes that in its weekly worship.
Ask students, Why do people come to church? (Write the students’ answers on the board. Accept any answers they give. Examples could include learning about God, worshipping, doing a mission project, having fun activities or meals, etc.)
Are we supposed to be serious when we’re in church? (Yes, when it’s time for the church service or when it’s time to do a lesson.)
Can we ever have fun at church? (Yes, when we’re not doing serious things.)
There was a time when people were doing the wrong things in church, and it made Jesus very angry.
(Read John 2:13-17.)
“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts He found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So He made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves He said, ‘Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!’ His disciples remembered that it is written: ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’”
It says that Jesus made a whip and started turning tables over and telling everyone to get out of the church, or the Temple. Why was Jesus so mad? What were the people doing?
People were selling things in the church. People were using the church for the wrong thing. They were trying to make money instead of praying or worshipping God or doing any of the other things that we’re supposed to do in church. It was like they were using the church as a store instead of a church. We give money to the church, but the church isn’t supposed to be about making money.
What do you think about Jesus getting mad? Is it okay for us to get mad sometimes?
It’s okay to get mad. Jesus was perfect, and even He got mad. It just depends on what you get mad about. If you get mad because somebody is doing something wrong, that’s okay.
It also depends on what you do when you’re mad. You’re not allowed to beat people up when you’re mad or call them names. Jesus didn’t hurt anyone when He got mad, He only scared them and messed up their things. So, you are allowed to let people know that you’re mad at them, but you have to control your temper too.
So, remember, we have to use the church only for the right reasons, and if we get mad at someone, we have to make sure we’re getting mad for the right reasons. We also have to control our temper and not hit that person.
Game: Don’t Hit Dodgeball
Divide students into two teams. They stand at opposite sides of your play area. Their goal is to avoid hitting the other team while making the other team hit them. If someone throws and hits a member of the other team, they’re out. Meanwhile, members of the other team can dive in front of thrown balls to get the thrower out.
Players can’t hold balls. They have three seconds to throw, or they’re out. If a ball stays on one side for more than five seconds, the whole team is out. You can pretend the balls are bombs that they want to throw out of their area without hitting anyone else.
The first team to get all the members of the opposite team out wins.
Give students drawing supplies and have them draw two pictures. The first picture can be their favorite memory of something that was fun at church. The second should be their favorite memory of something serious happening at church. Have students share explain their drawings.
Jesus, help us treat the church like the special place that it is. And help us to feel angry only about the things You feel angry about. And help us to control our anger as You did. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Jesus Starts His Work.