This is lesson continues our curriculum for preschoolers about knowing Jesus. Each lesson is based on a passage in the Gospel of Mark. You can read the series introduction for more explanation and links to the other lessons.
This particular lesson is from passages in Mark 9 & 10 where Jesus explains what it means to really be important in God’s eyes. Jesus desires us to follow His example-to use our lives to serve others. Anyone who does not receive Him like an infant will not receive Him at all.
Bible Passage: Mark 9:30-37; 10:13-16
Bible Lesson Title: True Greatest in Jesus’ Kingdom
Target Age Group: 4-5 years old (preschool & Kindergarten)
Target Time Frame: 37 minutes
Original Teaching Context: Preschool Sunday School
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Exegetical Idea: Jesus teaches His disciples about true greatness and their need to receive Him like an infant.
Pedagogical Idea: Jesus desires us to follow His example-to use our lives to serve others. Anyone who does not receive Him like an infant will not receive Him at all.
Cognitive Aim: Preschoolers will know Jesus came to serve. He desires us to be last, to serve, and to receive Him like an infant.
Affective Aim: Preschoolers will feel conviction of their sin of selfishness and self-absorption.
Behavioral Aim: Preschoolers will memorize Mark 10:15 and pray to Jesus together.
Memory Verse: Mark 10:15, “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like an infant will not enter into it at all.” (NASB, translated infant instead of child, Strong’s 3813, paidion).
- Kindle Curiosity (5 minutes) Description: Put on Bible outfits, introduce lesson through a discussion about infants. Supplies: Bible outfits, soft blanket, baby dolls
- God Revealed (15 minutes) Description: Experience the story. Supplies: Bible, imaginations, baby dolls
- Personal Pursuit (10 minutes) Description: Discuss what Jesus desires for us to learn from His teaching. Draw about what they heard and experienced. Supplies: Blank paper, crayons, markers. Optional: Worship song Enough by Chris Tomlin (YouTube link below).
- Daily Knowing (7-10 minutes) Description: Memorize Mark 10:15; pray together. Supplies: Notecards with Mark 10:15 written on them for parents. On the back, encourage parents to talk to their children daily about receiving Christ as an infant and how they can do this in their daily lives.
**Before the children arrive, have the Bible outfits ready.
1. Kindle Curiosity (5 minutes)
- The preschoolers can play with the dolls before the lesson begins if they are interested.
- Have the children put on their Bible outfits and gather around you on a soft blanket.
- Hold up a baby doll and ask: What can a baby do? (Cry, sleep, and potty). Infants cannot do much by themselves! They are needy in every way. They depend completely on their mommies and daddies to take care of them. They cannot even hold their heads up by themselves! Who knows the special way a baby has to be held? (Allow a child to demonstrate and let any child who wants to practice holding a baby do so.)
- In today’s story, Jesus has a very important lesson to share with us! This lesson is about becoming like an infant. Listen closely so you can discover what Jesus wants us to know!
2. God Revealed (15 minutes)
- State: We have been journeying through the book of Mark with Jesus, following Him and learning from Him. Today we are in Mark chapter nine and ten (show them in your Bible.) The Bible is God’s Word, so we know everything in it is true! Jesus and His disciples are traveling today. Are you ready to travel with them? Everyone stand up!
- State: First, we are going to be Jesus’ disciples. We are beginning a journey through Galilee. I need one of you to be a child that will be in our pretend house (choose a child and have them sit on the floor in what will be your pretend house.) Now let’s go disciples! (Lead them around the room.) Jesus does not want anyone else to follow Him right now because He has some very important things to teach us. I am going to pretend to be Jesus, so make sure you are paying attention to my words-they are really Jesus’ words straight from the Bible!
- State: The Son of man is to be given over into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. When He has been killed, three days later, He will rise from the dead.
- State: Now this is the second time that Jesus has told the disciples what is going to happen! But the disciples still did not understand this, and they were too afraid to ask Him. Since you are Jesus’ disciples today, can you show me confused faces? You do not understand what He means, but are too afraid to ask!
- State: Now we are coming to a place called Capernaum, and we are going to go into this house (pretend to open a door and lead them into a house. Sit down on the floor together.) I (Jesus) heard you talking on the way here, what were you talking about?
- State: The disciples (you) do not want to answer Jesus! You had been talking about which of you was the greatest. Because Jesus is God, He already knew this! This is what Jesus says, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” (Take the child who was waiting in the house into your arms.) “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent me.”
- State: It’s time to travel again! Everyone follow me! We are going to a place called Judea. Crowds began following Jesus again, and He began to teach them. I need a few children to play parents and their children and the others to continue to be disciples. (Choose the children and have them gather around Jesus and the disciples. Have them act out what you read. Give some of them babies to hold. You are Jesus.)
- State: Parents began bringing infants and young children to Jesus so that He might touch them and bless them! But the disciples rebuked them! (Instruct the disciples to tell the parents “no” and shoo them away.) When Jesus saw this, He was angry! “Let the children come to Me; do not stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like an infant will not enter it at all.” And Jesus took the children in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them (do this.)
3. Personal Pursuit (10 minutes)
- State: Let’s talk about the important lessons Jesus was teaching the disciples. After teaching the disciples for the second time that He came to suffer and die, the disciples had an argument about which of them was the greatest! They did not understand that Jesus came to serve and give Himself up for us. They were more concerned about themselves and cared nothing for each other. What was the lesson Jesus taught them? (See if they remember.) He told them that whoever truly wants to be great (first), he will be last and servant to all. How often do you want to be the best or the greatest? (All the time! List out things like winning a game, being the first in line, etc.) This is sin when it becomes what is most important to us. We all do this everyday, and Jesus does not like it.
- State: But Jesus has given us grace through teaching us how to change. What would it look like to put others in front of yourself? (Cheering on others to win, helping others win, inviting others to be first, etc.) The important thing Jesus cares about is our hearts! He wants us to have hearts that are not focused on being great and first, but hearts that love Him and love others, hearts that desire to serve Him and serve others.
- Ask: Now why do you think Jesus was angry when the disciples told the parents to take their children away? (Allow time for answers.) The disciples had sinned. Jesus had just taught them that whoever welcomes a child, welcomes Him. Now they are turning the children away, and in a sense, turning Jesus away! God hates sin and it does make Him angry. But Jesus continues to show grace and patience with the disciples. He offers them correction and teaches them a powerful lesson. Not only does He teach them to let the children come to Him, but says whoever does not receive Him like an infant will never enter into the kingdom of God!
- Ask: How would a person receive Jesus as an infant? Well, let’s remember the list we made earlier about what infants can do. Was the list long or short? Infants cannot do much by themselves! They are needy in every way. They depend completely on their mommies and daddies to take care of them. Jesus desires us to see how much we need Him. We are nothing without Christ, and can do nothing on our own. We need Him in every way! Jesus wants us to see our need for Him, come to Him, and trust Him completely to provide everything we will ever need.
- State: Just like the disciples, we can miss what Jesus wants us to understand about Him and ourselves. He came to serve. He desires us to follow His example. We should not be selfish and only care about being the greatest. Instead, we should daily strive to do things for others and consider them as more important than ourselves. We also have to remember how much we need Jesus and His presence in every part of our lives. We are nothing without Him! From our first moments on earth as tiny infants to when we are grandmas and grandpas, the first place we should seek to be is in the presence of Jesus, receiving His many blessings and His great love.
- Pass out blank sheets of paper. State: I want you to draw a picture of what you heard today. You can draw out the story as it happened. You can draw ways you can serve others. You can draw yourself with Jesus, receiving from Him everything you need.
- Optional worship time: Chris Tomlin, Enoughhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW-toYBiF8o
4. Daily Knowing (7-10 minutes)
- State: Today we are going to memorize Mark 10:15, “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like an infant will not enter into it at all.” We must receive Jesus as an infant, looking to Him for all of our needs. Let’s think of hand motions that will help us memorize this verse!
- We are in desperate need for Jesus presence. Let’s pray to Him now and ask Him to help us go to Him for our every need. We also need to ask Him to forgive us for caring only about ourselves just like the disciples. True greatness comes from being a servant. Only Jesus can change our hearts. We are nothing without Him.
- Make sure you review with them the next week or when you have encounters during the week one-on-one. Remind the parents how important it is for them to help their children review their verses all throughout the week. Encourage them to memorize the verse with their children. Provide each parent with a notecard that has Mark 10:15 written on it. On the back, encourage parents to talk to their children daily about receiving Christ as an infant and how they can do this in their daily lives.