Use this children’s Sunday School lesson about Jesus’ first disciples to teach kids the importance of spending time with Jesus.
Needed: Bibles, soft balls or paper wads
Intro Game: Taking Our Place
Play a game of dodgeball with soft play balls or paper wads. When one team starts to accumulate a lot of players in the “Out” zone, run in and say that you’ll take their place being out. They can get back in the game. Do the same for the other team. Keep doing it as long as time allows. Then, explain that just like you were taking the place of people who were out, Jesus took our place on the cross. He took our punishment so that we could be forgiven for our sins.
An alternative is a game of two-team tag. Take the place of students who are tagged and out of the game.
Ask students, What do you like to do with your friends?
When you do all those things with your friends, you’re spending time with them, aren’t you?
There were some men who wanted to spend time with Jesus in our Bible lesson today.
(Read John 1:35-36.)
“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’”
What did John call Jesus? (The Lamb of God.)
What does it mean for Jesus to be called the Lamb of God?
In the Old Testament, the first part of the Bible, people used to sacrifice lambs and other animals to God. You see, God’s rule was that anyone who did something wrong, anyone who sinned, had to be put to death as the punishment for their sin. But since God loved people and didn’t want them to die, He said that people could kill an animal instead. If they killed the animal, God would pretend that the animal was dying for the sin instead of the person that actually committed the sin. The animal was their substitute, taking the punishment for them. But they had to do that every time. Every time someone sinned, they had to kill another animal. Jesus is like our sacrificial lamb because Jesus died for our sins. Now, instead of sacrificing animals, we remember that Jesus died for all of our sins.
(Read John 1:37-39.)
“When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’
“They said, ‘Rabbi’ (which means “Teacher”), ‘where are you staying?’
“’Come,’ He replied, ‘and you will see.’
“So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.”
John’s disciples followed Jesus, and they asked Him whose house He was staying at. Why do you think John’s disciples wanted to know where Jesus was staying?
They wanted to know where Jesus lived so that they could go visit Him. They wanted to spend time with Jesus and talk to Him and learn about Him.
Jesus told the two disciples to come with Him. Then, they spent the rest of the day with Jesus. Do you think we can spend time with Jesus?
How can we spend time with Jesus?
We can’t spend time with Jesus in the same way that the disciples did because we can’t see Jesus as they did. But we can spend time with Jesus by praying and reading our Bibles and going to church. Those are some ways that we can learn about and spend time with Jesus.
Prayer Exercise: Spending Time with Jesus
Have students separate around the room. Ask them to spend 5 minutes praying to Jesus. Tell them that they can talk to Jesus about anything they want to. After 4 minutes, ask them to stop talking to Jesus and to listen to anything He might want to say to them in their heart.
(Read John 1:40-42.)
“Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.
“Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas’ (which, when translated, is Peter).’”
It says that after Andrew, one of the disciples who spent the day with Jesus, left Jesus, he went and told his brother Peter about Jesus, so then, Peter also came to Jesus.
(Read John 1:43-45.)
“The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, He said to him, ‘Follow me.’
“Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’”
It says that Philip believed in Jesus and then, what did he do? (He went to tell Nathanael about Jesus.)
So, Andrew went to tell his brother Peter about Jesus, and Philip went to tell his friend Nathanael about Jesus. Do you think God wants you to tell other people about Jesus? (Yes.)
God wants us to tell everyone about Jesus so that they can believe in Him too and go to Heaven when they die.
Activity: Acting It Out
Divide students into groups of two or three. Have each group decide on and act out one way that they can help someone and convince them to believe in Jesus. Name some outreach activities that your church does if students need help thinking of something.
(Read John 1:46-51.)
“’Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked.
“’Come and see,’ said Philip.
“When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, He said of him, ‘Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.’
“’How do You know me?’ Nathanael asked.
“Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.’
“Then Nathanael declared, ‘Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the king of Israel.’
“Jesus said, ‘You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.’ He then added, ‘Very truly I tell you, you will see “heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on” the Son of Man.’”
Nathanael asked Jesus how He knew him, and Jesus said that He saw Nathanael under the fig tree. Jesus knew all about Nathanael before He ever met him. Do you think Jesus could know all about you, too? (Yes.)
Jesus knows everything about you. He knows what you’re thinking and what you’re doing and how you’re feeling all the time. Jesus knows everything. He knows the good things you do and the bad things. He knows everything about you. And He loves you.
So, let’s remember to thank Jesus for being the Lamb of God and dying for our sins. And let’s spend time with Him by praying and reading our Bibles and going to church. And lastly, let’s make sure that we’re telling other people about Him too so that they can believe in Him as we do.
Game: Taking Our Place
Play the intro game again for as long as time permits
Jesus, we thank You for taking our place so that we could be forgiven for our sins. Help us to spend time with You every day and help us to tell other people about You. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Jesus Starts His Work.