Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids that we need to change if we want to follow Jesus’ teaching.
Needed: Bibles, a rope, an old garment with a hole in it, three large glasses, one small glass, tarps or towels
Intro Game: Pulled Apart
Divide students into two teams for a modified tug of war. The first team divides their members in half, taking each side of the rope. The second team holds the middle of the rope. The goal of the team in the middle is to pull the ends of the rope to the middle. The goal of the team on either end is to keep the rope taught so that there’s no slack in the middle.
After the first round, switch which team is on the ends and which is in the middle and play again.
Read Matthew 9:16-17.
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
(Illustrate the first part of the teaching with a piece of clothing with holes in it.)
Can you imagine what Jesus was talking about here? How many of you have ever had one of your shirts shrink in the dryer?
Does your shirt shrink again the next time it goes in the dryer? (No.)
After your shirt shrinks once, it won’t shrink again. But what happens if you get a hole in your shirt, and you sew a patch, that hasn’t already shrunk, onto the shirt?
The patch will shrink and pull away from the shirt, kind of like you were trying to pull the rope away from the ends in our game, so you’ll still have a hole, and maybe even a worse hole than you started with.
So, as Jesus said, you can’ t put a new patch on an old piece of clothing. Instead, when you get a big enough hole in your shirt, you just need to get a new shirt.
But Jesus wasn’t really talking about clothes. He was saying that if we want to follow His teaching, we can’t be like that old piece of clothing. We can’t put Jesus’ new teaching on our old selves because it won’t work. If we want to follow Jesus’ teaching, we have to become new ourselves. We have to change.
Jesus also said that you can’t pour new wine into old wineskins. Let me show you kind of what that means.
(Place tarps or towels around your demonstration area. Fill two large glasses with water. Pull out the small glass and say something like…)
We’re going to pretend that this is you.
(Now pull out one of the large glasses filled with water.)
And we’re going to pretend that this is all the great stuff Jesus wants to teach you.
(Pour the large glass of water into the small cup and let it overflow.)
What happened? Why did the water spill out?
Jesus said we can’t learn everything He wants to teach us unless we change.
(Pull out the large empty glass.)
We have to change our lives. That means we have to stop doing the wrong things we do and start doing the right things.
It means we have to believe in Jesus and give Him our lives.
Then, we will be able to learn all the great things Jesus wants to teach us.
(Pull out the second large glass of water and pour it into the large empty glass.)
If we want to learn everything Jesus wants to teach us, we have to be ready to change our lives.
Prayer Exercise: Change My Heart
Everyone, close your eyes. I want you to think for a second to yourself and ask Jesus if there’s anything in your life He wants you to change… Ask Him if you’re doing anything bad that He wants you to stop doing… Ask Him if there’s anything good that He wants you to start doing.
Game: Power Up Freeze Tag
Divide the students into two teams. One team is It and tries to tag the members of the other team. When a student is tagged, they freeze in place. Every minute or so, a designated Power Up leader runs through the play area. If someone on the team being chased tags the Power Up leader, the leader shouts, “Power Up!” and the frozen students are back in the game. The roles also reverse, so that now they are It and the other team is running from them.
Explain that when we change to follow Jesus’ teaching, it’s like He gives us a power-up in our spirits.
Jesus, we want to be able to receive and take in everything that You have for us. Help us to change anything we need to in our lives so that You fill us up with Your good things. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, The Parables and Teachings of Jesus Vol. 1.