Lesson: John the Baptist is Born

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Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids about how Luke wrote his gospel and about the obedience of Zechariah during the birth of John the Baptist.

Needed: Clue hunt around the church, volunteers to play Zechariah and Elizabeth, Zechariah’s writing tablet, drawing paper and crayons or colored pencils, stapler or hole punch and string, optional craft foam

Game: Christian Story Interview

Have students pair up and ask each other the following questions. They’ll then present their partner’s answers as a reporter. They can write the answers down if they want.

  • What is your name?
  • How old are you?
  • When did you first hear about Jesus?
  • When was the first time you went to a church?
  • When was the first time you came to this church?
  • Why do you believe in Jesus?
  • How does your family celebrate Jesus’ birth during Christmas?

Game: Clue Hunt

Prepare a clue hunt around the church or your meeting area. The clues can be strips of paper hidden in a room. The clue on each strip of paper gives the students a hint as to where to find the next strip of paper. The last clue should lead the students to the place where your actors are waiting.

Tell students that they are going to pretend to be Luke the Doctor. Explain that Luke was a man who heard about John the Baptist and Jesus and became a Christian after John the Baptist and Jesus were already dead. Luke never got to meet John the Baptist or Jesus, so he decided to go find the people who did know them. He wanted to interview those people who knew John the Baptist and Jesus so that he could hear about everything that happened to them and what they were like. Today, they’re going to pretend to be Luke and see if they can find and interview people who will tell you about the miraculous way in which John the Baptist was born.

Lesson

When students find Zechariah and Elizabeth, Zechariah and Elizabeth tell their story based on Luke 1:5-25 .

Zechariah: Hello, students! My name is Zechariah. Over two thousand years ago, I was a priest of God. But my wife, Elizabeth, here, well…

Elizabeth: Well, lets’ just say that my body wasn’t able to grow a child inside of it. I couldn’t have any babies. And that made us really sad because we wanted to have a baby. We just couldn’t.

Zechariah: But then, one day when it was my turn to go to the Temple in Jerusalem and burn the good-smelling incense for God in the sanctuary, an angel suddenly appeared and stood beside me! I was really scared because I had never seen an angel before. But the angel told me not to be afraid. He said hisname was Gabriel and that God had sent him to tell me that God was going to answer our prayer for a son. God was going to make Elizabeth’s body be able to have a baby. But the angel, Gabriel, said I hadto name my son John when he was born. And he said that my son, John, was going to be a great preacher, filled with God’s Holy Spirit, and that he was going to get people ready to listen to God. Well, all of this was pretty amazing so I asked the angel, Gabriel, ‘How can I be sure that what you’re telling me is true?’ You see, I didn’t know if I believed him or not. So then, to prove that he really was an angel and that he really did come from God, the angel, Gabriel, made it so that I couldn’t talk anymore!

Elizabeth: And that’s what happened. Zechariah came home from the Temple and he couldn’t talk. And I did become pregnant! I was so happy! When it was time for the baby to be born, everyone thought I would name the baby Zechariah Jr., or something like that, after his dad. But I didn’t. I named him John because that’s what the angel had told Zechariah to name him. But everyone just thought I was being silly naming my baby John. So, Zechariah there got out a piece of paper and wrote this. (Show Zechariah’s writing tablet.) ‘His name is John’.

Zechariah: And then I could talk again because I had obeyed God! And when John grew up, he did some really great things for God and saw God do even greater things through his cousin, Jesus. But you’ll hear more about Him another time.

(Have students thank Zechariah and Elizabeth and then see how much they can remember with the review questions below. Remember to allow students enough time to think about and answer the questions before clarifying the teaching.)

Review Questions

When we went to find Zechariah and Elizabeth, we were pretending to be someone. Who were we pretending to be? Who was the person who really went back and interviewed them? (Luke the doctor.)

Luke the doctor is the person who wrote the book of the Bible named Luke and the book of the Bible named Acts. The way he wrote his books was by going back and interviewing people who met Jesus and the other people who knew Him.

Could Zechariah and Elizabeth have kids before God sent the angel to them? (No. Elizabeth’s body couldn’t make babies.)

Why do you think Elizabeth could have a baby after the angel talked to Zechariah? (God has the power to do anything and God made Elizabeth’s body be able to get pregnant.)

Why did the angel Gabriel make it so that Zechariah couldn’t talk? (Because Zechariah didn’t believe what the angel Gabriel told him.)

Do you think it’s important to believe the things that God tells us? (Yes.)

How can we learn what God wants to tell us? (We can read the Bible, pray, and go to church. Those are all ways that God tells us things.)

What did the angel say John’s job was going to be when he grew up? (John was going to be a preacher.)

Craft: Zechariah’s Writing Tablet

Have students a booklet out of drawing or construction paper. If you want to make it a little nicer, you can use craft foam as the binding for the booklet. Staple the booklet together or use a hole punch and yarn to string it together.

On the cover, have students write, “Zechariah’s Writing Tablet.” On the first page, have them draw or write a summary of the story of when Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and told him that he was going to have a son. On the back cover have them do the same for when Zechariah wrote on the tablet naming his son John. The pages in between are for the students to write down anything God teaches them this Christmas season or anything He tells them to do.

Closing Prayer

Father God, we ask that You’ll make us like Zechariah, who obeyed You when You told him to name his son “John.” Help us to do whatever You ask us to, even if it seems strange or difficult. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Miracle Children.

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