Here is a preschool lesson plan dealing with the temptation of Jesus from Mark 1:12-13. It teaches how Christ was a real human who had to fight against sin just like we do. It also shows that He overcame the devil and can empower us to do the same. Even younger children need to understand these central truths about the character of Jesus.
This is the third lesson from a series for preschoolers on knowing Jesus through the book of Mark. You can read the series introduction for more explanation and links to the other lessons. These free materials are ideal for your Preschool Sunday School lessons or any teaching setting for younger kids.
Bible Passage: Mark 1:12-13
Bible Lesson Title: Jesus Overcame Temptation
Target Age Group: 4-5 years old (U.S. preschool & Kindergarten)
Target Time Frame: 30 minutes
Original Teaching Context: Preschool Sunday School
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Knowing Jesus through the Book of Mark: Lesson Three
Scripture: Mark 1:12-13
Exegetical Idea: Jesus is fully man and able to be tempted. He resists temptation by Satan and is revealed as perfect and blameless.
Pedagogical Idea: Because Jesus was tempted, He knows what is feels like to be human. We can look to His example to resist temptation and turn to Him for comfort and strength.
Cognitive Aim: Preschoolers will know Jesus was fully man, but did not sin.
Affective Aim: Preschoolers will find comfort in Jesus’ example and the strength He provides to help us resist sin.
Behavioral Aim: Preschoolers will memorize Hebrews 4:15b and talk to their parents or a grown-up about what they have learned from these truths.
Memory Verse: Hebrews 4:15b, “…we have One [Jesus] who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin.” (NIV)
*If there is time, please include the worship song, You Are by Mark Roach. Lyrics can be found in the introduction to this lesson series, Knowing Jesus as Immanuel.*
- Kindle Curiosity (5 minutes) Description: Help children understand temptation through an obedience test. Supplies: tray of fruit and chocolate candy.
- God Revealed (10 minutes) Description: Read Mark 1:12-13 and discover that Jesus was fully man; pray. Supplies: Bible, soft blanket
- Personal Pursuit (10 minutes) Description: Learn how we are still tempted today and how we can choose to obey. Supplies: Pictures of a Bible, a child praying, a child talking to an adult, a child going to church/Sunday School, a child worshipping, etc. (any pictures that demonstrate how we can resist sin).
- Daily Knowing (7 minutes) Description: Memorize Hebrews 4:15b and challenge the preschoolers to ask an adult in their life what it means to them that Jesus was fully human and how they resist sin in their lives. Supplies: notecards with Hebrews 4:15b written on them for the parents. On the back, write the following questions for the parents: What does it mean to you that Jesus was fully human? How do you resist sin in your life? (Explain to them that they should discuss this with their children if their children forget to ask.)
1. Kindle Curiosity (5 minutes)
- Begin with the children seated at the table.
- Pass around a tray with fruit lined up on one side and packages of chocolate candy on the other. Tell the children to only take a piece of fruit, but not any of the chocolate candy. Turn around for a few moments. After they have passed around the tray, ask, did any of you want to take the chocolate candy? Did any of you take the chocolate candy when I wasn’t looking? (If they did, ask them to please return it to the tray.)
- State: When you really wanted to take the chocolate candy, the feeling you felt is called temptation. Many times we are tempted to do things that would be disobedience and sin. We are tempted because we are human. We sin because we are human. Sin is very serious. Any time we disobey, whether it is our teacher or our parents, we are not just sinning against them. We are sinning against God.
- State: We have learned that Jesus is fully God and that Jesus is God the Father’s Son. Today we are going to come to know Jesus as being fully human, just like you and me. He was tempted to sin, just like we are tempted everyday! (Lead the children to sit on a soft blanket on the floor in a circle.)
2. God Revealed (10 minutes)
- We are going to come to know Jesus through reading out of the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word. He wrote it, so we know everything in it is true. (open up the Bible to Mark). We will be reading two verses out of Mark today. Mark, chapter 1, verses 12 and 13 (show them the numbers and the letter M for Mark). Turn on your listening ears and off your mouths so we can pay attention to what God wants us to learn today! (Demonstrate.)
- Read Mark 1:12-13: Immediately the Spirit sent Him out into the desert, and He was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended Him.
- Let’s pray together to ask God to help us understand His Word and come to know Him more.
- Right after Jesus was baptized, God’s Spirit came upon Him and led Him to the desert. While He was in the desert, God allowed Satan to tempt Him. Does anyone know who Satan is? (give time for answers) Satan is God’s enemy and the enemy of every Christian. Satan does not want anyone to come to know God and follow Him. He especially did not want Jesus to come to know God because He knew that Jesus was not an ordinary man. He tried to get Jesus to disobey God while He was in the desert. Jesus had not eaten for forty days or forty nights. That’s a really long time! He was hungry and tired. Satan knew Jesus was weak physically, so he thought he could get Jesus to sin.
- But Jesus knew God and knew His Word. Instead of listening to Satan, He proclaimed what He knew from Scripture (hold up the Bible) to be true. He obeyed God instead of listening to Satan. He knew Satan is a liar and pretender. Satan would say and do anything to get Jesus not to listen to God.
3. Personal Pursuit (10 minutes)
- State: Because Jesus was hungry and tired, we know He was fully human. Jesus chose not to sin, even though Satan tempted Him in many ways. We do give in to sin. We say something mean or disobey our parents, which means we also disobey God. Jesus never gave into sin. As a man, He was perfect! Because He was without sin, He was able to become our sacrifice. He took our sins on Himself when He died on the cross so that we could be forgiven of our sins, come to know God, and follow Him.
- State: Satan still tries to tempt us today and get us to disobey God. We cannot see him, but God’s Word says he is like a lion, crouching and seeking someone to devour, seeking to turn us away from God.
- State: Sometimes God puts us through really hard times, times where He allows Satan to tempt us. We can choose to be faithful and obey like Jesus or sin. (Share a short personal story of a time when this was true in your life.) Many times after or even during a hard time, God provides us with His comfort, just like He provided Jesus with comfort through His angels. God never leaves us. He is always here, even if it feels like He isn’t. And we can always remember that Jesus has been through temptation too. He is our example. He also knows what we are feeling and can give us the strength to choose to obey God.
- There are many things we can do to help us to follow Jesus’ example and obey when we are tempted with sin. We are going to play a game! I have hidden different pictures around the room. These pictures will show us ways we can resist sin and choose to obey and follow God. When you find one, come and sit back down. (After the children find all of the pictures, see if they know what each one illustrates. Discuss them together and move on to Daily Knowing.)
4. Daily Knowing (7 minutes)
- State: Just like Jesus, we can proclaim God’s Word in order to help us not sin. When we know God’s Word, He provides us with strength to obey. Let’s learn God’s Word now together. Today we are going to memorize Hebrews 4:15b. We can make up motions together to help us memorize this verse!
- State: Praying to God often also allows us to gain God’s strength to not sin. I want you to remember to pray everyday, no matter where you are. God can always hear you, and He wants to hear to! Praying aloud is especially helpful. Many times when I pray aloud, I can feel God’s strength entering into me as I pray.
- State: After you leave today, I want to challenge you to ask you parent or a grown-up that follows God what Jesus being fully human means to them and what they do when they are tempted with sin.
- Make sure you review with them the next week or when you have encounters during the week one-on-one. Encourage them to share this verse with their parents when they pick them up so their parents will be able to help them practice at home. Provide each parent with a notecard that has Hebrews 4:15b written on it and the questions on the back (see Lesson Overview). If some children do not have parents who are believers, make a special effort to encourage them in every time you see them in their scripture memorization and pursuit of God.