Lesson: Joseph, Jesus’ Adopted Father

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Use this children’s Sunday School lesson on Joseph to teach children about believing God and about how God adopts us into His family when we believe in Christ.

Needed: A volunteer to play Joseph

Game: The Unbelievable

Divide students into two teams. You’ll read a list of statements, and they have to vote as a team whether they believe each of your statements or not. The team with the most correct answers wins.

Here are some statements all about animals . For more general questions, try these.

  1. Yogurt is made with bacteria. (True. Bacteria ferments the milk.)
  2. Your ears help keep you balanced. (True. The fluid in your ears gives you a sense of balance.)
  3. Zebras are the fastest land animal in the world. (False. Cheetahs are the fastest.)
  4. A snake’s skin feels slimy. (False. It feels dry.)
  5. Adult people have 502 bones in their body. (False. Most people only have 206 bones.)
  6. DNA stands for ‘Deoxyribonucleic acid.’ (True.)
  7. Crocodiles do not sweat, so they breathe through their mouth to cool down. (True.)
  8. The Grand Canyon is the deepest place on earth. (False. The Mariana Trench is the deepest place we know of.)
  9. Humans have been to every planet in our solar system. (False. We’ve only been to the moon so far.)
  10. Jesus had a human mother, but not a human father. (True. God was Jesus’ father. God put Jesus in Mary by a miracle.)


Over the last two weeks, we’ve met some very important people in the Bible. First, we went back and talked to Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist. And last week, we talked to Mary, Jesus’ mother. And we did all that while we were pretending to be Luke, the doctor, who went back and talked to those people and then wrote down their stories in the Bible book of Luke and the Bible book of Acts.

But there was another person who Luke did not get to talk to because this other person died before Luke started writing his books. The only way we know about this other person is through another Bible book, the book of Matthew, which was written by one of Jesus’ followers. So, let’s meet this other person now.

(Ask “Joseph” to come in. He’ll tell the following story based on Matthew 1:18-25 .)

Joseph: Hello, everyone! My name is Joseph. I was engaged to be married to Mary. I think you met her last week. But before we got married, Mary told me she was pregnant with God’s Son. Well, I have to say that I didn’t believe her at first. You see, normally, back in those days, if a woman got pregnant when she wasn’t married, she was supposed to be killed as a punishment. Well, I didn’t want that to happen to Mary, so I was just going to break-up with her and not make a big deal about it.

But then, one night, while I was sleeping, I dreamed that an angel came and talked to me. “Do not be afraid to marry Mary,” he said, “because she will give birth to God’s Son. And you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

So, I woke up and I believed what the angel told me. And I believed what Mary had told me. She really was going to give birth to God’s Son. And when Jesus was born, I adopted Him and took care of Him like He was my son. But I knew, of course, that He was really God’s Son.

(Have the students thank Joseph for telling his story and then, find out how much they learned by asking the following review questions.)

Review Questions

What good things did Joseph do in this story? (He didn’t want Mary to be killed and he believed God when the angel told him about Jesus.)

And we all have to be like Joseph in that way. We shouldn’t want anyone to be hurt and we all have to believe and trust what God tells us.

Was Joseph Jesus’ real father? (No. God was Jesus’ Father and Mary was Jesus’ mother. Joseph adopted Jesus and took care of Him.)

The angel told Joseph that Jesus would save His people from their sins. How does Jesus save us?

If we believe in Jesus, God saves us from going to Hell when we die. God said that anyone who does anything wrong, anyone who sins, has to die and go to Hell for their punishment. But Jesus came and died on the cross and went to Hell in our place, so that if we believe in Jesus, we don’t have to go to Hell. Instead, we can live forever with God and Jesus.

Game: The Adoption Option

First, explain, Joseph adopted Jesus, then ask, Were any of you adopted?

Do any of you know someone who was adopted?

What does it mean to be adopted?

To be adopted means to make someone or something part of your family that isn’t there naturally. People can adopt children or pets to make them part of their family. God says that He adopts all of us into His family when we believe in Jesus. We become His children, just like Jesus is, and Jesus becomes our brother.

So, we’re going to play a game where you get to choose what you’re going to adopt.

(Have students form a circle. Choose one student to sit in the middle and close their eyes. The other students get up and move places so that the student in the middle doesn’t know who’s sitting where. You’ll then choose another student to be “up for adoption.” The student in the middle says what they want to adopt. They can name a baby or a type of animal. If they say a baby, the student who’s “up for adoption” has to make a baby noises. If the student in the middle says a type of animal, the one “up for adoption has to try to make noises that animal makes. If the student in the middle guesses the student making the noises, they get a point. The student who was up for adoption then goes to the middle, and the same happens again. Play as long as you like. The student with the most points at the end wins.)

Closing Prayer

Father, we thank You that You’ve adopted us to be part of Your family. And thank You for the example of Joseph, who believed what You told him. Help us to always trust what you tell us. 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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