“Let’s swap!” Trading one item for another is something children are familiar with, but we usually aim for an even swap. When we think about how Jesus came to Earth and died in our place, it doesn’t sound fair at all. God sent His son to give us new life, and through Him our sins are traded for salvation. In Christ, we see the fullness of God’s love for us, and celebrate what He did on our behalf. It’s beautiful and remarkable to think about how we have been adopted into the family of God through Jesus!
Lesson focus: We cannot even fathom the depth of God’s love for us. He chose to take on humanity as Jesus and come to Earth to live and die for us. In this passage from Hebrews, we see how Jesus shows us who God is, and connects us to the Lord. Jesus traded Heaven for Earth, and He also trades our sins for His salvation. He grants us new life in Him and loves us more than we deserve!
Passage: Hebrews 1 & 2
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade (Might be better geared toward older crowd)
Materials Needed: Construction paper; paper plates; cross; glitter; glue; markers or crayons; trading cards; tape; scissors; decorative supplies; Bibles.
More Teaching Ideas:
- Watch the video of this children’s sermon
- See all our children’s ministry ideas for the book of Hebrews
Game Activities to Introduce the Lesson
Lesson Opening: The main emphasis in describing this important Bible passage is how we “swap” our sins for God’s love and salvation. Consider discussing “trading” elements with kids, along with descriptions of family, humility and sacrifice. So have fun and choose how you’d like to kick things off! Some possible ideas include:
- Examine a variety of trading items, such as cards, pins, or collectibles. Discuss what it means to trade or swap things, and how you likely look for items of similar values.
- Who’s in my family? Display pictures of famous figures (or people in your church!) and encourage students to match the pictures with family members (siblings/parents).
- What would you sacrifice? Play a “would you rather” game to discuss what kinds of things children might be willing to give up, if they had to.
- Humility relay: Split students into groups for a relay race, but have the movement method race on the knees! *You might need to provide cushioning or a modification if the floor is too rough for this relay.
Explain to students that today’s lesson reminds us of how God reveals Himself to us through Jesus, who sacrificed a great deal to “trade” our sins and sorrows for His love and salvation.
Sunday School Lesson (Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12)
Bible Lesson: Coming from an epistle passage, this may best lend itself t group reading. Older students can take turns reading verses, or the teacher can read off and pause at intervals to discuss. Open up by reminding students that this portion of Scripture comes from a letter written to encourage people. In these verses, we see how Jesus shows us the love and character of God, and how He brings us into God’s family.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. -Hebrews 1:1-4
What is being described in these verses? The author references how God is represented in Christ. This sets up the very reasons that Jesus came to Earth. He came to show how much God loves us, and to purify us from our sins. Jesus is above all things, even angels, but through Him we see God’s glory revealed.
Ask: Have you ever wanted to know what God would be like if He lived on Earth?
When we look at the life of Jesus, we can know!
It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:
“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
a son of man that you care for him?
7 You made them a little lower than the angels;
you crowned them with glory and honor
8 and put everything under their feet.” -Hebrews 2:5-8
Sometimes we think of angels as fictional cartoon characters, but we know from Scripture that they are very real beings! Angels are God’s messengers and helpers. They are not God Himself, but neither are they human. These verses indicate that God loves us and values us enough to give us responsibility over Earthly things. God cares for us! We might not be quite as “lofty” as angels, but we have power over the things God created, which are entrusted to us by Him. However, there are still things we don’t know or can’t know just yet. That is why we put our trust and hope in God.
In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. -Hebrews 2:8b-9
Jesus suffered and died for us. He traded His heavenly throne to become a lowly human, going from higher than the angels to lower than them, in order that He could take on our sins! Explain that we deserve to die for the bad things we do, but Jesus took our place. Not only did He swap Heaven for Earth, but He swapped our sins for His own death and in return gives us righteousness. He traded His life for ours, and because of His death we all have the chance for life! That doesn’t sound like a very even trade, but it sure works out for us!
Ask: What do you think should be our response for this incredible gift? How would you act if someone took a punishment on your behalf, for something they didn’t do?
Explain that after Jesus traded His Heavenly place for the humility of Earth and death on a cross, He of course came back to life! Jesus then went back to Heaven in glory.
The great news for us, though, is not only that we have salvation through the saving swap of Christ, but that through Him we get to be part of God’s family! He calls us His own, adopting us as sons and daughters, as brothers and sisters with one another and with Jesus!
10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12 He says,
“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.”
Jesus took on all of our pain and became sin, dying even though He was perfect and faultless. Because of His death and resurrection, sin has been defeated! We still struggle in our Earthly lives, but we have the hope of knowing ultimately HE has won the battle. We can take pride in our position as children of God, and sing with joyful praise for all that He has done.
Craft: Use crafts that embrace the elements of the cross and the price Jesus paid for our salvation. You may also consider a “wheel” craft or up and down journey to illustrate how Christ came to Earth. Ideas include…
- Decorate a collage with crosses, coins, and glitter, showing how the cross makes us “shiny” new creations.
- Use plates or cardboard to illustrate the “down and up” journey of Jesus with two decorated narrative wheels. Attach together with a brad fastener.
- Create an “adoption certificate” or name badge to remember place in the family of God.