The aim of this message is to illustrate for children what it means to have and share compassion with others. Youngsters often have a natural inclination towards self-serving attitudes, but they can easily be prompted to care about those in need, as well. This lesson explains through simple example what compassion is, and also describes how Jesus demonstrated genuine compassion throughout His earthly ministry.
Law/Gospel Theme: Students are frequently reminded of the need to act with kindness towards those around them, but might not always fully understand why it is important to do so. The emphasis of this message is that Jesus has compassion on us. We celebrate and appreciate the true care He lavishes on us, and out of gratitude for that, we hope to share His compassion with others.
Optional Materials: Medical care items, such as bandages, braces, tissues, etc.
Bible Passage: Mark 6:30-44, 53-56
More Teaching Ideas:
- Watch the video of this children’s lesson and related Bible craft ideas
- Compare our full Jesus feeds 5000 Sunday School Lesson
- Compare another Sunday School lesson on Jesus feeding the 5000 from Matthew 14
- Get more teaching helps from the mission Bible class lesson on this story
- Download our free coloring page for the book of Mark
- Download our free Jesus feeds 5000 coloring page
Message Note: As with most messages, the details of how you choose to communicate this are adaptable and should cater to timing as well as to your audience and student needs. This example uses a “sob story” to elicit concern out of students. You might also consider dropping something that needs cleaned up. Or you could purposely trip and appear hurt on your way to see the kids. Use your judgment and ideas to best serve students.
What is Compassion? (Mark 6:30-44, 53-56) Children’s Sermon
Greet the children, adorned with medical items and ideally looking bedraggled. Be prepared with a dramatic story of how you have been “hurt”…
Hello, children of God! Boy oh boy…you just won’t believe the morning I have had! You might be wondering why I’ve got all these band-aids and things…Well, it’s quite the story. See, it started out when I missed my first alarm and woke up late. I was in such a rush to get up that I hit my leg on the furniture and it started really hurting. Well, then I stumbled and wound up knocking over a lamp, and it broke and shattered in a million pieces. I was trying to clean it up and cut myself in the process! And then I was trying to take out this lamp trash, and when I opened the door, the cat ran out. So I had to go running after her, and as I was coming back up the stairs, I tripped and hit my head! Can you believe all that? I wish I could just go back to bed and start all over…
(Pause to see the effect of this story on students. Eventually, begin to remove the medical items.) Well, you might already have guessed, but that story is mostly made up. I didn’t actually get hurt this morning. However, I wonder how you felt listening to all of that. Did you care that I had a tough day? Did it make you sad to think I had been hurt? If you could fix it, would you want to? If any of those things came to mind, you were showing something called compassion. Have you ever heard that term before? Compassion involves feeling sorry for someone. It means you care and have concern for them. Usually when you have compassion, you also feel motivated to fix the problem someone has, as well.
In the Bible, we have some wonderful examples of people who showed compassion and kindness. Do you know who gave us the greatest demonstration of compassion? That’s right: Jesus! Jesus devoted His whole life to exhibiting concern and care for those around Him. Throughout the Gospels, we see Him performing amazing miracles that helped other people. He made sick people better, provided food for those who were hungry, healed people who couldn’t see or walk, and even brought dead people back to life! The Bible tells us that Jesus looked at crowds and had compassion. He saw needy people as “sheep without a shepherd”, as though they were lost and needed a leader to help and to guide them. Jesus served people because He loved them. He cared about those He encountered and wanted to make their lives better.
Now, you might be thinking “sure, that’s great. Jesus helped people back then. So what? He’s not alive today, after all….” Well, that’s not true. Jesus is, in fact, very much alive today. We might not see Him physically on Earth, but He is still present with us. He still does have compassion upon us and wants to help us. We need only ask and trust that He will give us all we need and more. It might not mean a miracle. We might still face troubles and disappointments in this life. But He has overcome the world, and He died to give us new eternal life with Him someday. God so loved the world and had compassion on us, despite our sins, that He sent Jesus to help us. Jesus shows compassion, through His earthly life, through His current presence, and through His promises forever!
So we can rejoice and be glad for that compassion that Jesus demonstrated. And as we give thanks for it, we can look for ways that we can show other people we care and have compassion.
Let’s say a prayer to thank God for His compassion. We can ask Him to help us show care to others, as well.
(Have kids repeat each line)
Thank you for showing us compassion
You have given care and blessings
Thank you for sending Jesus to us
Help us to show love and kindness to others
Thank you for your love
I love you, God!
In Jesus name, Amen!
Bible Verses/story to Reference:
30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.
–Mark 6:30-44; 53-56
New Sunday School Curriculum: Church budgets are tight, that's why our curriculum is half the price of printed materials. Download a free sample or visit the Sunday School Store to purchase more.