Lesson: Knowing Jesus Through … The Sense of Smell (Ephesians 5:2)

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Lesson Title:   Knowing Jesus Through the Five Senses: The Sense of Smell
Bible Reference:  Ephesians 5:2; Genesis 1:28-31; Genesis 2:15-17; Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 5:12
Target Age Group: Elementary
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 45 minutes
Focus Verse: “And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2
Gospel Connection: God blessed us with five senses with which we can discover the world.  In this lesson, children will use their sense of smell to discover that God created a world full of wonderful and fragrant creation for us.  When the world was overcome by sin, God gave us Jesus as a fragrant a perfect sacrifice to overcome that sin.
Learning Aim:  God’s perfect Creation was ruined when sin entered the world and Jesus is the solution to sin.
Basic Supply List:

  1. Bible
  2. Items from Nature
  3. Flowers
  4. Styrofoam Cups
  5. Kool-Aid
  6. Vinegar
  7. Cotton Balls
  8. Snow or Ice
  9. Baby Carrots
  10. Paper
  11. Scented Markers
  12. Tissue Paper
  13. Perfume
  14. Pipe Cleaners
  15. Various Household Items for Smell Test

Note: In the teaching plan below the words in italics are meant to be read aloud. The regular text is simply directions for the teacher.
> > > > Basic Teaching Plan < < < <
Introduction: Get your students ready for the lesson as they arrive by having various table activities that relate to God’s creation ready for independent play as they arrive.  These should be activities that can be stopped and cleaned up quickly such as books, small puzzles, and flash cards. Or have items from nature on the table for exploration such as pinecones, seashells, leaves, or whatever you have.  Greet each student as they arrive.
Biblical Evidence: Begin the lesson by telling the students that God gave us five senses. We have a sense of smell, touch, sight, taste, and hearing.  Today, students will use their sense of smell to know Jesus better.  Say, In the beginning of the world, God created everything and it was good. Let’s smell a few of the things that God created that are good. Pass around different nature items for the students to smell such as flowers, oranges, etc. Discuss the different scents and let the students share some of their favorite smells.  Collect the items and read Genesis 1:28-31 together as a class.  Say, Everything that God created is good and we should be so thankful that God blessed us with a sense of smell so we can enjoy His creation even more. 
Now say, God also created some things that smell bad to us that are still good, such as Marigolds, eggs, or skunks.  These things are still good, but they just have a different smell.  God gave us a diverse world full of many different smells, both good and bad.  If we didn’t know that things could smell bad then we couldn’t appreciate good smells.  Today, we are going to use good and bad smells to better understand the sacrifice that Jesus made for our world.  Let the kids smell Marigolds or vinegar or something like that if time allows.
Read Genesis 2:15-17, then Genesis 3:1-6, and finally Romans 5:12.  Ask, What did God give Adam?  God gave Adam all of the Garden of Eden and dominion (Power to care for and rule over) all of God’s good Creation. Ask, What was Adam not allowed to do? He was not allowed to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and God promised that He would die if Adam did.  Now ask, what happened in Genesis 3:1-6? In this verse, Eve saw the fruit and smelt that it would be good to eat. She touched it and believed that she could eat it. Eve and Adam ate the fruit even though God told them that they should not eat it.  This was the first time that sin entered the world.  Explain what sin is and that it is now in the world because Adam and Eve did not listen to God.  Ask, What can we learn from Romans 5:12? We learn that sin came into the world through Adam, but it affects all of us.
Now use this illustration to show how sin entered the world.  Pass around a cup of sweet smelling Kool-Aid.  The Kool-Aid is like the world before sin. Now add Vinegar to the Kool-Aid and let the students smell it again.  The good is still there, but all we can smell is the Vinegar.  When sin entered the world, it ruined God’s good creation, just like the vinegar ruined the Kool-Aid.  But thankfully for us, God gave us a way to overcome the sin. He did this by giving us Jesus.  Jesus came into the world and gave up His life to get rid of the sin.  Close by reading Ephesians 5:2. Say, We will learn more about How Jesus saved the world in the next few weeks. 
Craft:  Use scented markers to practice writing the Bible verse and/or draw pictures of today’s lesson.
Craft: Use tissue paper and pipe cleaners to make flowers and spray them with sweet smelling perfume.  Write the verse at the top of the picture.
Snowman’s Nose Relay Race:  For this relay race you will need a very large bucket of ice or snow and several baby carrots.  Hid the baby carrots (or snowman noses) in the ice (or melted snowman) Divide the class into two teams. The students must dig through the ice one at a time until they find a nose, then run back to their team. Continue until all students have had a turn.  The first team to find all of their snowman noses is the winner.
Sense of Smell Test: You will need cotton balls and Styrofoam cups for this game.  Before class, put several recognizable scents on the cotton balls and place one in each cup.  Possible items to smell could be syrup, ketchup, coca cola, chocolate syrup, soap, lemon juice, etc.  Let each student smell each cup and write down what they think they smell.  The student with the most right guesses is the winner.
Optional Activity: Write the Bible verse on a poster board and continue with the sense of taste lesson next week.
Closing: Close the lesson by rereading Ephesians 5:2.  Remind students that sin is bad but that God sent Jesus as a sacrifice to cover our sins.  Pray with the class, thanking God for our sense of smell and for giving us Jesus.


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