Lesson Title: Knowing Jesus Through the Five Senses: The Sense of Touch
Bible Reference: John 19:16-20:31
Target Age Group: Elementary
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 45 minutes
Focus Verse: “Stop doubting and believe.” John 20:27b
Gospel Connection: This lesson uses everyday objects to tell the most important story in the Bible; Jesus’ death and resurrection. In John 20, Thomas refused to believe that Jesus had truly returned until he touched Jesus’ hands and felt the scars in His palms. It was easy for the disciples to believe once they saw Jesus, but it can be a struggle for the modern child to believe that Jesus is real. Today, they will use their sense of touch to learn about Jesus, just like Thomas did.
Learning Aim: Jesus died so that I can live.
Basic Supply List:
- Pieces of Wood
- Pieces of Cloth
- White Paper
- An empty toilet paper tube
- Hot wheels car
- Three Large Bowls
- Cotton Balls
- Construction Paper
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: Place a variety of small items, white computer paper, and crayons on the table. Invite the children to feel each object and try to describe how it feels. Cover an object with paper and use a crayon to make a rubbing of it. Say, Just look at how all of these objects are different. Our sense of touch helps us understand the world around us. Today, we will use our sense of touch to learn the most important story about Jesus.
Biblical Evidence: You will use the following objects to retell the story of John 19:16-20:31. Pass each object around and allow each child to feel it while you tell the story. You may want to use multiple items for larger groups.
- Pass around a piece of wood which symbolizes Jesus’ cross. (John 19:16-27) Say, This is the most important story in the Bible. When Jesus was alive, He told everyone that He was God’s Son. This made a lot of people made because they thought He was lying. Jesus had to stand before Pilate, who is like a judge. At first, Pilate wanted to let Jesus go because He hadn’t really done anything wrong, but the people who were watching in the crowd were mad and told Pilate that Jesus needed to be crucified. Crucified means death by hanging on a cross. Crosses are made out of wood, like the wood that you just felt. Finally Pilate gave in and sentenced Jesus to be crucified. The soldiers took Him away immediately. Jesus had to carry his own wooden cross and the soldiers beat Him. The cross was very heavy and once they reached a hill called Golgotha the soldiers stood the cross up and hung Jesus on it by putting nails through His hands.
- Pass around a sponge which symbolizes the sponge filled with vinegar which was offered to Jesus on the cross. (John 16:2837) Say, As Jesus was hanging on the cross, He was thirsty. Instead of giving Him something to drink the soldiers filled a sponge with yucky vinegar and offered it to Him. While Jesus was on the cross He suffered tremendously. Crucifixion was a terribly painful way to die. And remember that Jesus was innocent. So why did Jesus do this? Because God is perfect and he loves people, but people cannot be with God because they sin. It takes a sacrifice to get rid of that sin. Jesus is perfect so He decided to be that sacrifice. Isn’t that amazing? Jesus went through all of that pain and suffering and died so that you would have a way to be with God.
- Pass around a piece of cloth which symbolizes Jesus’ burial cloth. (John 38-42) Say, After several hours, Jesus died and went to be with God in Heaven. Several of His disciples took His body off of the cross and carried it to the tomb in which He was to be buried. They wrapped Him in burial cloth similar to the cloth that you just felt and covered Him with spices. Finally, they laid Him in the tomb and rolled a big stone over the opening. Jesus was definitely dead.
- Pass around a stone which symbolizes the stone covering the entrance to Jesus’ tomb. (John 20:1-9) Say, Three days later a woman named Mary Magdalene went to Jesus’ tomb and discovered that the big stone in front of the tomb had been moved and that Jesus was gone. She quickly told the disciples who were also amazed. What happened to Jesus? Where did He go? They thought that someone had stolen Jesus’ body.
- Pass around a tissue, which symbolizes the sadness that Mary Magdalene felt when she discovered that Jesus was gone. John 20:10-18) Say, Mary Magdalene stood by the tomb crying when she looked inside and saw two angels in the tomb. The angels asked her why she was so sad. Then she looked around and saw a man standing by the door of the tomb. Quickly, she asked this man, whom she thought was a gardener, where they took Jesus’ body. Then the man looked at her and said, “Mary” and she realized that this man was Jesus. He was alive! Mary went and told the other disciples that Jesus was alive.
- Ask children feel the palm of their hands to remind them that Thomas felt the nail scars in Jesus’ hands. (John 20:19-31) Say, As the day went on, Jesus saw several more of the disciples and they believed that Jesus was alive again, even though He had been dead. When the disciples told their friend Thomas that Jesus was back he didn’t believe them. He said that he wouldn’t believe it until he felt the scars in Jesus’ hands. So Jesus appeared to Thomas and let Thomas feel the scars right in the middle of His palms. Then Thomas believed that Jesus was really alive. Just like Thomas we have to stop doubting and fully believe that Jesus is real and that He is who the Bible says He is.
In the Middle Game: Tie a string between two chairs. Place an empty toilet paper roll on the string so that it can slide back and forth between the two chairs. Place a hot wheels car inside the tube. Line the children up and allow each of them to try to stand beside the first chair and push the car to the other side without it falling out of the tube. They may not walk forward and they will likely not be able to get the car to the other side without it falling out of the tube. Say, Was it difficult to get the car to the other side? Why? Allow for answers. Say, What would make it easier? Allow for answers.
Now, play the game again and let the children hold onto the tube, string and car and walk it to the other side. This will be much easier and all kids should succeed. Say, At first, getting the car to the other side was impossible. We needed a mediator, someone to go in the middle and help us get to the other side. You became that mediator for the car. Trying to get to God is another task that seems impossible. We can’t get to God on our own, we need a mediator. Jesus is that mediator. He created a way for us to be with God when He died on the cross. When you let Jesus be the Lord of your life He will carry you to God. Discuss this as much as necessary and be prepared to talk to kids who are interested in having a relationship with Jesus.
Sticky Fingers: Remind kids that they should stick with Jesus as they play this game. Form two teams. Each team will have two bowls in front of them. One is full of honey (or substitute jelly, marshmallow fluff, etc.) and the other is full of cotton balls. One at the time the kids will stick their hand in the honey then the cotton balls and then run to the other side of the playing area and dump the cotton balls into another bowl. They may not hold onto the cotton balls. They can only keep the ones that stick to their hands. Whoever collects the most cotton balls by the end of the game wins. You could play this with plastic spoons instead of your hands if you don’t want to make such a big mess.
Bible Verse Banner: Have each child trace their hand on a piece of colored construction paper. Tape the hands to the string from the “In The Middle” game and write the Bible Verse, “Stop Doubting and Believe” John 20:27b across the hands. Say, Jesus wants us to believe in Him as well. Sometimes it is hard to believe in Jesus because we cannot see Him. What helps us know that He is real? Tell them that we can read the Bible, learn from our Pastor, teachers and family, and that we can pray that Jesus will help us understand.
Closing: Close the lesson by bringing the class together to pray. Say, Today we heard the most important story in the Bible. We were able to use our sense of touch to learn about when Jesus died and came back to life so that we can have a relationship with God. Jesus is real and He loves you. He is the perfect sacrifice for our sins. He is the Mediator between us and God. Dismiss in prayer, thanking God for giving us Jesus.