The beginnings of Jesus ministry point to his character as a servant. Both in his baptism and while resisting the Devil’s temptation, Jesus showed humility. This lesson teaches about those events and how children can also follow in his example. It is part 3 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 help students understand Jesus’ acts of service through his baptism and successful victory over Satan’s temptations.
MAIN IDEA: Jesus clearly explained the reason for baptism and showed us how to resist the temptation to sin. When we follow his example, we grow stronger in our relationship with him.
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES: Matthew 3:13-17, Luke 4:1-13, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Matthew 26:41, Hebrews 4:15
MATERIAL(S): Blank birthday cards, pens, pencils, and/or markers, activity sheets (click to download)
Introduction (5 minutes)
OPENING PRAYER: “God, please give understanding today as we continue to learn how Jesus was a servant. Help us imitate his obedience to you through baptism and turning away from temptation. Amen.”
PREVIOUS LESSON REVIEW: Say, “Last week we learned about Jesus’ birth and childhood. What do you remember about his early life (e.g. he had brothers and sisters, he was the firstborn, he liked going to the temple and learning about God, etc)?” Remind the students that Jesus was a servant from the beginning of his life and they too can serve during their childhood years.
Lesson (15 minutes)
- Comment, “Jesus was baptized before he started his ministry. Can anyone tell me what the word ‘baptism’ means (to fully immerse someone in water – like Jesus)? Why do we get baptized when we become Christians?” After explaining who John the Baptist was, turn to Matthew 3:13-17 and discuss why Jesus was baptized (not to be ‘cleansed’ since He was perfect, but to set an example of obedience to God). Ask, “So what would you say to a Christian who says they don’t need to be baptized? What would you say to someone who thinks baptism is how they will get into heaven? Only through the repentance of sins and belief in Jesus’ as God’s son can we accept eternal life. Baptism is the first step of obedience when someone becomes a believer.” Encourage students to remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 3 and be willing to show others – friends, family members, neighbors – the truth about baptism. Say, “Part of being servants to others means lovingly sharing the truth when others are misled or confused.”
- Explain to the students that after Jesus had been baptized, he was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert where he was tempted by Satan for 40 days. Say, “Before Jesus picked disciples, or even started preaching, Satan tried to get him off track!” Read Luke 4:1-13. Ask, “What does this true story about Jesus teach us about temptation (that we can succeed, that we should know the Bible, trust God when tempted, etc)?” Help students understand that just because we are tempted does not mean we have to sin! Write on the board, “When I am tempted, I can…”. Look up these additional verses about temptation and make a list of things to do to fight our temptations: 1 Corinthians 10:13, Matthew 26:41, Hebrews 4:15. Say, “Satan will try to tempt us as we serve to keep us from being obedient to God, just like he did to Jesus.” Encourage the students to pray and read the previous verses when they feel too tired, grumpy, or annoyed to serve. Comment, “God will give us the strength and compassion we need to keep serving!”
Service Project (10 minutes)
BIRTHDAY CARDS: Obtain a list of birthdays for needy children in your community (such as foster children) or orphans living in another country. Bring blank birthday cards and writing instruments such as pens, pencils, or markers. Take time writing short messages and ask the students to sign each card. Say, “Sending birthday cards to needy children is an easy way to serve and share our faith with others.” Before dismissing, specifically pray that the recipients will accept Jesus as their Savior if they do not already know him.
Activity Sheet (10 minutes) *See attachment*
Pass out the “Jesus’ Temptation to Sin” activity page. Consider completing the “Brainstorm” section as a class. Reiterate that reviewing the information we learned helps us remember God’s word and prepare for victory over temptation. Ask students to complete the activity sheets at home if they are not finished by the end of class.
Conclusion (5 minutes)
RECAP: Jesus showed us that believer’s baptism is an act of obedience to God. Also, he showed us how to resist temptation by using God’s word and turning away from sin. Christ’s servant-like example through his baptism and victory over temptation gives us understanding and hope.
CLOSING PRAYER: “Lord, thank you for Jesus who explained baptism and successfully overcame temptation. We know with your help we too can live a life of service. Please give us the desire and willingness to serve 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.