The Light of Christ Shines (1 John 1:1 – 2:2) Sunday School Lesson for Kids

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“Light it Up – 1 John 1:1-2:2” is a Bible lesson and activity resource for children. The lesson focuses on the importance of light, as a metaphor for God’s love and guidance. It encourages children to recognize that God is always with them, even in the darkness, and to share His light with others. The lesson includes a Bible study, object lesson, and activities.

Download this lesson plan from the Sunday School Store in KJV and ESV.

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Light it up! Sunday School Lesson on God’s Light and Grace 

Light makes a difference! It guides our way, helps us see, and gives comfort in the midst of darkness. This lesson reminds kids that we have a light that is always with us: the light of Christ! 1 John tells us that God is light and “in Him is no darkness.” We can rejoice that we walk in the light with Him, and consider how we share His light with those around us, shining in the darkness! 

On one hand, this passage seems to be a harsh reminder that we have all sinned, and denying that means “the truth is not in us.” However, the prominent message is that the blood of Jesus cleanses those sins. When we walk in His light, we have fellowship with Him. Jesus is our advocate, speaking on our behalf and even dying on our behalf so that we are considered blameless in God’s eyes. Yes, we do wrong, but that is why Christ died for us. That knowledge brings comfort and hope like a bright light in a dark room! 

Passage: 1 John 1:1-2:2  

Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade 

Materials Needed: Construction paper; shakers; glue; markers or crayons; cups; tea lights; flashlights or headlamps; tape; scissors; paper plates; glow sticks; decorative supplies; Bibles. 

Lesson Opening: This passage reminds us of how God is light, and we can live in and share His light. We also remember that, despite our sin, Jesus speaks on our behalf and gives us grace! Kick things off with a thought-provoking activity based on one of the themes. Some possible ideas include:

  • Flashlight tag: If your learning area can get sufficiently dark, play “flashlight tag” or shine a flashlight beam on certain items one at a time in “I Spy” fashion. 
  • Lighting the way…have a fashion show of sorts with glow stick items. See who can make the longest chain, most decorative necklace, or best overall “outfit” using glow sticks or glow jewelry. Again, this could work better in a dark setting, but can still be done with light! 
  • Let it shine… Lead the group in a round of singing “This Little Light of Mine.” 
  • An advocate who speaks…as Jesus speaks on our behalf, we can speak for one another. Provide students with a cause or person who might need spoken for. Allow them to take turns making a lawyer-like argument on behalf of the cause.
  • “Lite Brite”:: break out the old classic toy and have students work together to create a picture with the tiny bulbs. Note what a difference it makes to have the light turned on and shining through the colors! 
  • Shadow challenge: Have students use hands, puppets, or other implements to make shadows against a wall. Emphasize the contrast between darkness and light, and how God’s light shines in darkness. We can shine His light, as well! 
  • Light through the years…for historic interest (and appreciation of modern convenience), invite older students to explore some history of lights, light bulbs, and methods of illumination over time. Remind them that God’s light is different than physical light, but even more important!

Explain that this lesson will take a look at how God is light and shines in the midst of darkness. We as Christians can take comfort and hope in that, and can shine His light for others to know His love!

Bible Lesson: 

This passage includes some metaphoric elements that remind us of God’s comfort, guidance, and love. While the epistle lesson is not so much an easy one to act out, it is still great to read and discuss. You might have students take turns reading these verses, or read them out loud and pause to explain what is being said. 

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. -1 John 1:1-4

John (the author of the epistle) reminds us here of the blessing of the Trinity. Jesus was with god the Father from the beginning, and continues to be with us today. We have “fellowship” with others when we understand this truth and rejoice together in what God does for us. We have joy because we know that God is with us always and gives us opportunities to love and serve one another. 

Ask: What brings you joy? How does Jesus give us “complete” joy? 

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  -1 John 1:5-7

Light is essential to so many things. We need it to see where we are going or guide our way in dark places. It drives away darkness and shows up brightly for all to see. These verses remind us that God is light, and no darkness can dwell in Him. Even in a dark room, a light will shine brightly. God shines His light in our lives no matter what else is going on. God’s light gives us the ability to fellowship and “shine” and share with others in our lives, too.

Ask: How can we be the light of Jesus? How can we share His love with others?

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.   -1 John 1:8-10

It’s tough to remember that we are sinners and consistently make mistakes. We do what we know we shouldn’t do. The good news is that God promises to forgive us and cleanse our sines. No matter what we’ve done, it is not so bad that it can’t be forgiven! We can’t deny the fact that we do wrong. But we can rejoice in the fact that the blood of Jesus covers that. He will always be near to us and forgive us. 

Ask: How can we know and be assured of forgiveness? 

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 
-1 John 2:1-2:2

Here we are reminded of the joy we have in Jesus. We make mistakes, but Jesus speaks on our behalf. Not only is He the light of the whole world, He forgives us, and He lived and died for us. We know it’s impossible not to sin. But we have a redeemer who loves us and grants us grace. That is a comforting “light” in our lives and to all people!

God is our light. He shines the way in our darkness and He did all that we cannot. Jeuss lived for us and loves us, and He wants us to live for Him and for others. He calls us to shine in the darkness and tell others about Him. We rely on Him for salvation, and out of gratitude for His love, we continue to light the way for others! 

Close with prayer, asking God to guide us and help us be light to others. 

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