Sometimes the end of the holiday season leaves us with something of a disappointing let-down. Following the anticipation and excitement of Christmas, there is a sense of anticlimax as the wrapping paper is put away and Nativity scenes taken down. It is important to realize that Christmas is only the beginning of the story, which culminates God’s plan for His people. Jesus was born in a remarkable way, but He was born in order to serve and ultimately die. This lesson celebrates in a brief overview the person and life of Christ.
Lesson focus: There is a lot more to Jesus than we might imagine, and He was born with important purposes that we can remember and follow.
Passage: Zechariah 9:9-11 (and other passages in chapters 9 and 11); Luke 1:5-25 and 57-66 (and surrounding verses).
Target Audience: Older elementary/middle school ages.
Materials Needed: White boards and marbles; paper; Bibles
What do you know about the Son of God? In pairs or groups (depending on size of the group), have students work to come up with all that they know about Jesus. Have them create a list as well as a drawn picture of what they imagine he looked like. If students are slow to start, provide some suggestions of subjects (how old was Jesus when he began teaching? Where did he live? Who were his parents? What did he eat?) Allow enough time for them to come up with a solid list, and then discuss and compare the lists and drawings.
The focus of today’s lesson has to do with Christ’s humanity. We are well familiarized with many (supposed) facts about His life…born to the virgin Mary, turned water into wine, suffered and died…these are actually amazing details, yet somehow we manage to make them mundane. But how about some lesser known facts? For example…
- No one really knows when Jesus was born (time of year)
- Jesus had several half brothers and sisters (including James, Joses, Simon, and Judas)
- Jesus and John the Baptists were second cousins, about six months apart
- Jesus made his living as a carpenter. His earthly ministry only lasted about three years.
- Jesus ate, drank, slept, cried, and even pooped! (He was human after all!!)
So why did he do it? What is the significance of Christ’s humanity? Have students use sword drill-style tactics or help them look up some verses to discuss elements of Jesus’s humanity and reason for it:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! -Philippians 2:5-8
What are you willing to sacrifice for your friends or loved one? Jesus was God. He did not have to become human. But God made himself one of us in an act of complete humility, so that we could be raised up and made like HIM.
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. -Hebrews 4:14-15
22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. -1 Corinthians 15:22
God made Himself man so that He could understand and sympathize with our struggle…sort of like earning a true believable credential. Jesus also experienced genuine human emotions. Let’s take a look at some…
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. -Mark 1:35
Christ needed alone time
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
He got angry
Jesus wept. –John 11:35
He got sad
Since we know Jesus did not sin, it might seem like He was above all humanity. But He felt. He loved and lived. Having feelings is not sinful. God knows our feelings all the more because He chose to go through them Himself!
Because we know this is true, we can celebrate that Jesus came to earth and lived. We can rejoicing in His life, and honor it all year long.
Follow-up: Challenge: Practice humility. When God took on human form, it was the ultimate act of humbling. This week, look for a way you can be humble. Maybe this means apologizing to someone you have been feeling a grudge towards. Or perhaps it is just asking for help with something you’ve been trying to do on your own. Pray about it and decide what would help practice humility. Also, take time this week to talk with God and really focus on Him as one who knows how you feel…write a letter if you need to. How can we maintain an attitude of respect and worship but hold intimacy too?
Close with prayer and reminder of God’s work in our lives. Thank Him for giving us Jesus and for giving our lives special meaning. Ask Him to help direct our paths and show what His purpose for us is.