Use this children’s Sunday School lesson about Jesus’ baptism to teach kids the meaning of baptism.
Needed: Bibles, drawing paper and crayons or colored pencils
Intro Game: No, No, Chosen!
In this version of Duck, Duck, Goose! students sit in a circle, and one student or leader decides which person they want to choose.
Explain that in the Old Testament, God chose certain people for special jobs.
Ask students, How many of you have been baptized?
Do you remember it?
What can you tell me about it?
Why do you think people get baptized?
The reason most people get baptized is to show that God has forgiven them for their sins. When they go in the water, it’s like they’re taking a bath. All their sins are being washed away, and they’re clean.
But today, we’re going to learn about another reason that people get baptized.
(Read Matthew 3:13-14.)
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?’”
Why do you think John didn’t want to baptize Jesus?
John knew that Jesus was more important than he was and thought that Jesus should baptize him, instead of him baptizing Jesus.
(Read Matthew 3:15.)
“Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then John consented.”
Jesus is telling John that Jesus needs to be baptized and he wants John to do it.
(Read Matthew 3:16-17.)
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.’”
We said that most people get baptized to show that God is forgiving them and washing away their sins. But do you think Jesus had any sins that He needed God to forgive Him for? Did Jesus have any sins to wash away? (No.)
Jesus was perfect. Jesus is the only person who never did anything wrong. Jesus didn’t have any sins.
So why was Jesus being baptized?
Baptism is also a way to show that someone has been given a special job to do from God.
In the Old Testament, only certain people were chosen for special jobs. When a prophet was about to become a prophet, or a new king was about to take power, or when someone was becoming a priest, someone would come and pour oil on their head, and that was called anointing. When someone was anointed and had the oil poured on their head, that meant that God was choosing them for that special job of prophet or king or priest.
Baptism is kind of our new way of anointing people for special jobs. Only instead of using oil, we use water. What special job do you think Jesus was chosen for when He was baptized?
Jesus was chosen to teach us about God and to die on the cross. Those were His special jobs from God.
In fact, we call Him Jesus “Christ” because “Christ” means anointed or chosen.
But God has also given us a special job. Our special job is the same as Jesus’ special job was – to teach people about God. God wants us to tell everyone about God and Jesus so that everyone can go to Heaven when they die. That’s why we call ourselves “Christians” – because we are “little Christs” or “little anointed ones” and we’ve been given the same job Jesus had.
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.
And did you notice how it said that a dove came down and landed on Jesus after He was baptized? What do you think that dove was?
That dove was the Holy Spirit coming to live in Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes down and lives in all of us too if we believe in Jesus. We might not see the Holy Spirit as Jesus did, but He lives in us all the same.
So, remember, when we were baptized, or when we get baptized, it’s not only to show that our sins are being washed away. It’s also to show that God is giving us the special job of telling other people about Him and Jesus. And the Holy Spirit will come and live inside us and help us to tell people about God and Jesus.
Craft: The Holy Spirit Comes Down
Give students drawing supplies and ask them to draw two pictures. The first picture should be of the dove coming down on Jesus when He was baptized. The second picture should be of the Holy Spirit coming down on them.
When they’re finished drawing, ask, What do you think it feels like for the Holy Spirit to come down and live inside us? What difference does the Holy Spirit make in our lives?
Father God, help us always to believe in You so that the Holy Spirit will live in us just as it lived in Jesus. And help us to tell others about You so that they can believe in You too. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Jesus Starts His Work.