Jesus didn’t wait until he was a “grown-up” to start serving others. Even as a child, he displayed the character of a servant. In this lesson children will learn about his example and how they can follow him. It is part 2 of the “Servanthood for Kids Series” we will be posting over the month of September.
TARGET AGES: 9 – 13 Older Elementary. You may need to simplify this lesson when working with younger children.
CURRICULUM UNIT: This lesson is part of the Servanthood for Kids: The Life of Jesus
OBJECTIVE: To teach students the aspects of Jesus’ early life that supported his role as a servant.
MAIN IDEA: Jesus was a servant from birth. The circumstances surrounding his childhood gave him the opportunity to experience life, so we can trust and follow his example of servanthood.
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES: Philippians 2:8, Matthew 2:1, Matthew 1:24-25, Luke 2:39-40, Matthew 13:55-56, Matthew 1:16, Luke 2:49, Hebrews 4:15, Matthew 1:18, Luke 2:25-38, Luke 2:52
MATERIAL(S): Dice, dry erase board or poster board, activity pages (click to download)
Introduction (5 minutes)
OPENING PRAYER: “Lord, thank you for Jesus’ life on earth. Help us to learn from his birth and childhood and how we can follow his example of servanthood. Amen.”
PREVIOUS LESSON REVIEW: Ask, “Who remembers what the word ‘servant’ means (someone who performs duties for other people)? Why is Jesus the ultimate example of a servant (because he died for us – Philippians 2:8)?” Remind the students that serving God and others should be a daily part of a believer’s life because thinking of others before ourselves gives glory to God and shows our true faith. Comment, “The next few weeks we are going to study Jesus’ life to learn how to be servants.”
Icebreaker (5 minutes)
Say, “We are going to play a game to learn more about one another.” Write the following prompts on the dry erase board or poster board:
- Where were you born?
- Are you a single child, the oldest, youngest, or middle child in your family?
- When did you first learn about God and start coming to church?
- What are your siblings’ names?
- What are your parents’ names?
- What is an activity you enjoy?
Explain that each person will roll the dice to get a number and then answer the question for that number (repeat if there is time). After the game say, “Did you know the bible tells us this same information about Jesus? In the same way we get to know each other by sharing information, we know more about Jesus by studying the bible.”
Lesson (15 minutes)
Prepare the following questions on the dry erase board or poster board:
Was he the oldest, youngest, or middle child? Matthew 1:24-25
Did Jesus have brothers and sisters? Matthew 13:55-56
What was an activity he enjoyed? Luke 2:49
What were his parents’ names? Matthew 1:16
When did he first learn about God? Luke 2:39-40
Where was Jesus born? Matthew 2:1
- Ask for volunteers to read each passage to answer each question. Ask, “Why is this information important (because it shows that Jesus’ can relate to our lives)? Jesus didn’t just come to be crucified and resurrected– he came to live and serve within similar conditions we all face. We truly have a Savior who ‘empathizes with our weaknesses’(Hebrews 4:15)!”
- Go on to discuss additional important events regarding Jesus’ birth and childhood. First, emphasize that he was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:18) and explain what that means. Second, he was born in the Roman Empire (the Romans had conquered and occupied his peoples’ land). Third, there were people, other than his parents, who knew who Jesus was before he started his ministry (Simeon and Anna – Luke 2:25-38). Lastly, he was known for being wise even as a child (Luke 2:52)! Comment, “There are many similarities between us and Jesus because he lived a human life. However, the difference is he was perfect in everything he did! That is one of the reasons we look to Jesus as our ultimate example of servanthood.”
Activity (15 minutes)
Pass out the “Jesus Birth and Childhood Activity Page” (attachment). Students will review the lesson by looking up scripture and completing the word scramble.
Conclusion (5 minutes)
RECAP: Jesus’ humble childhood set him up for a life of service. Even though everyone has different families, abilities, and interests, God wants to use us as servants.
CLOSING PRAYER: “God, thank you for giving us the example of servanthood through Jesus’ life. Help us to honor his example by serving you and others. Amen.”
Servanthood Lessons in the Life of Jesus
This lesson is part of a 10 unit curriculum for older children (age 9 – 13) that follows the life of Jesus and explains how he was a model of serving others.