The Holy Spirit is usually the most vague element of the trinity, and thus the most difficult to teach and understand. Yet its role is an important one, and this is integral to our role as believers, too. This lesson explores the significance of Jesus promising the Holy Spirit, and explains how it acts in our lives today.
Lesson focus: Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, and it provides us comfort and hope. The Holy Spirit works through us, as well, to serve others and tell about Christ.
Passage: John 14:15-21
Target Audience: K-6th Grade (adaptable)
Materials Needed: Milk, chocolate syrup, balloons, straws, crepe paper/tissue paper
Lesson Opening: Surprise! Where does it go?? Start with an activity to illustrate how the Holy Spirit can be somewhat unpredictable at times. Provide each child with a balloon, and have them blow air into it and release it. Ask students to aim for a particular target. It isn’t easy to control where the balloon lands! Mention that in some ways the Holy Spirit is like this…we can’t always predict or control how it works. Sometimes (like the wind or balloon air) it is difficult to even understand. But this part of the Godhood is vital to our work as Christians. What does that mean? Let’s take a look…
Invite students to share ideas about what the Holy Spirit means to them. What does the Holy Spirit do? Where does it come from? Have kids take a look at the passage in John…
“If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. -John 14:15-18
Who has ever had a babysitter? Question students about experiences with babysitters, whether family members or acquaintances. When a parent leaves temporarily, they often place another responsible adult in charge of taking care of kids. In a small sense, that is sort of how the Holy Spirit works. Jesus promised to send this special care-taker and comforter to stand in, and to nurture us. What kinds of things do you bring on a trip? Supplies? Memories of home? Comforting items? That is also the Holy Spirit, in a sense. It is a guardian and a comforter, a guide and compass. What’s more, it is the Holy Spirit that completes the work started when we accept Jesus…
Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” -John 14:19-21
Show children a clear glass of milk. Explain how it is somewhat like our lives. Then, pour in some chocolate syrup. Is this chocolate milk yet? Not quite…it is a blob of chocolate and plain milk, separate. But if we take a spoon and stir it up, the items will combine and make something different (chocolate milk). The stirring action is comparable to the Holy Spirit. It infuses our lives with Christ and stirs up new possibilities and actions. How do we let this happen?
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. -John 14:23-24
We can study the words of Jesus in the Bible, and pray to Him for understanding. When we do this, we belong to God, and the results should show. If we love Jesus, we obey what He has taught. And a wonderful promise goes with this…
“All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. -John 14:25-27
This is the best promise of the comfort of the Holy Spirit. It is a spokesman, a go-between, an enabling force…but most of all it is the peace that passes understanding. Nothing in the world can touch us when Jesus is in our lives. The understanding of the Holy Spirit is more than what the world says is important, and will calm our troubled souls. Amen!
Holy Spirit like the wind…make streamers to remember the Holy Spirit. Depending on timing, these can be as easy as straws or popsicle sticks attached to streamers, or you may opt for more elaborate windmills or wind socks with hanging tissue paper. Remind students that we do not see the wind, but we see its effects…the same is true of the Holy Spirit!
Close with prayer and reminder of God’s work in our lives. Thank God for the Holy Spirit and ask Him to allow its work and blessing in us.