Jesus cares about children.

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1 Jesus Welcomes the Children Lesson 9 Bible Point Jesus cares about children. Bible Verse But Jesus said, Let the children come to me (Matthew 19:l4a). Growing Closer to Jesus Children will n learn that God wants adults to pass on precious information to children, n find that God delights in the praise that children give, and n see that God gives children important tasks to accomplish. Teacher Enrichment The Bible Basis n Jesus welcomes the children. Matthew 18:1-6; 19:13-15 Jesus discourse in the first of these two passages is inspired by his disciples arguing over who would be the greatest in the kingdom. Jesus isn t really saying here that little children are necessarily humble. What he is saying is that unless people are willing to become as lowly as children were in that culture to become that humble they would not be entering God s kingdom. However, Jesus did seem to have a special place in his heart for little children, which is demonstrated in Matthew 18:5 and again in Matthew 19: Prominent adults in that culture seldom had any time or concern for children. Jesus concern for children was so great that the fate he pronounced for anyone leading a child astray was worse than an agonizing death by drowning. We don t know why Jesus disciples felt it necessary to keep the children from Jesus in Matthew 19:13, but it may have been to protect Jesus. The disciples likely shared the view of children held by many adults mentioned earlier. They wanted Jesus to be able to tend to more significant things. But the people who brought the children to Jesus seem to have known him better than his own disciples did: Jesus gladly welcomed the children and blessed them as their parents had hoped! Prayer Read Matthew 18:10. What does this verse say to you about the children in your class? Pray: Lord, I ask a special blessing on each of the children in my class. I present them to you now by name

2 Lesson 9 Before the Lesson n Collect items for the activities you plan to use, referring to the Classroom Supplies and Learning Lab Supplies listed in the chart. n Make photocopies of the Growing Together handout (at the end of this lesson) to send home with your children. n Pray for your students and for God s direction in teaching the lesson. This Lesson at a Glance What Children Will Do Classroom Supplies Learning Lab Supplies Welcome Welcome! Receive a warm welcome from the teacher, and make name tags. Bird Name Tags (p. 70), markers, scissors, tape or safety pins Attention Grabber Bible Exploration & Application Module Review Discuss how they learned to show love for others as Jesus did throughout this module. Pass It On Pass a heart around in a specific pattern, and learn from Psalm 78:1-4, 6-7 that God thinks children are so important that he has important information he wants them to learn. Come to Jesus Play a game that teaches the story of Jesus welcoming the children in Matthew 18:1-6 and 19: Bibles Bible Closing Inside and Out Create artwork that shows how beautiful and diverse they are, and learn from Psalm 127:3 that children are a reward to their parents. What to Do Compare what children can do to serve God to what adults can do; learn from Jeremiah 1:7-8 that God gives children many ways to serve him. Kid Praise Praise God with a song, and learn from Psalm 8:2 that Jesus loves to hear children praise him. Bible, paper, scissors, markers or crayons, tape Bible Bible, CD player 104

3 Welcome Jesus Welcomes the Children SUPPLIES: Bird Name Tags (p. 70), scissors, markers, tape or safety pins Greet each child individually with an enthusiastic smile. Thank each child for coming to class today. As children arrive, ask them about last week s lesson and Growing Together discussion. Use questions such as How did you spend time alone this past week? How is that different from being lonely? and How did you make someone less lonely? Say: Today we re going to learn that Jesus cares about children. Help children attach the name tags they made during Lesson 5 to their clothing. If some of the name tags were damaged, or if children weren t in class previously, have them make new name tags using the photocopiable handout. Tell children that the attention-getting signal you ll use during this lesson is clicking the creature clicker three times. Ask children to respond by snapping their fingers three times as they stop talking and focus their attention on you. Rehearse the signal with the children, telling them to respond quickly so you ll have plenty of time for all the fun activities planned for this lesson. n Module Review Use the casual interaction time at the start of class to ask children the following module-review questions: How have you reached out this month to someone who was hungry or poor? In what ways did you cheer up someone who was sick in the last two weeks? What nice things did you do this week for someone who was feeling left out? How has Jesus shown you that he cares about you? What s your favorite thing we ve learned during the past few weeks? Why? It s important to say the Bible Point just as it s written in each activity. Repeating the Bible Point over and over will help children remember it and apply it to their lives. Attention Grabber n Pass It On SUPPLIES: Bibles Push the classroom furniture out of the way. Have the children stand in a big circle with several feet of space between each of them. Hold up the plush heart, and say: See if you can copy the way I pass this heart to the person on my right. We ll pass the heart all the way around the circle. Toss the heart straight up in the air, catch it, and gently toss it to the child on your right. Have that child copy your movements and pass it on. Encourage the children 105

4 Lesson 9 to keep the heart moving quickly so that no one has to wait too long for a turn and to keep going until it comes back to you. If anyone drops the heart, have him or her try again. If a child misses a second time, have him or her simply toss it to the next person. Say: Good job! Let s try it again, only this time, it ll be a little bit harder. Toss the heart straight up, clap twice, catch it, and toss it to the child on your left. Have the children copy your movements as they pass the heart around the circle. If you wish, pass the heart a third time. Toss the heart straight up, spin around as it s in the air, catch it, and toss it to the child on your right. If you wish, have children think of other ways to pass the heart around the circle. After about five minutes of play, put the heart away, gather the children closer to you, and have everyone sit down. Ask: What was hard or easy about copying my motions? (At first it was easy, but then it got hard because you changed it; it was easy because we got to try twice; it was hard because I couldn t catch the heart.) When is it easy to follow instructions? (When I like the person who gives me the instructions; when the instructions are to go to recess; when I like what the instructions are.) When is it hard to follow instructions? (When there are too many; when I don t want to do what the instructions say.) Let s pretend the heart we were passing was really important information. What kinds of important information do you share with other people? (What to do if there s a fire; rules in the classroom; sometimes I take phone messages for my dad.) How do you pass that important information on to those people? (I call them; I whisper secrets to my friends; I pass notes at school.) Say: Today we re going to talk about some important information that comes from the Bible. Let s find out what the Bible says I should do with this important information. Have volunteers read aloud one each of the following verses: Psalm 78:1-4, 6-7. Then ask: In this passage what does the Bible say I should do? (You should tell us about God; you should tell us stories; you should help us obey God.) The Bible says the stories about God and his people are so important that adults should be very careful to teach them to children. Why is it important for children to know these things? (So they can obey God; so they can tell their children; so they don t forget about God; so kids can know God.) Say: The Bible gives adults a very important instruction. We re to make sure kids know about God. That s why we bring children to classes like this one. We teach children about the Bible because Jesus cares about children so much that he wants to make sure children learn all they can about God. Let s find out about a time some people tried to keep children from seeing Jesus. 106

5 Bible Exploration & Application n Come to Jesus SUPPLIES: Bible Help kids form pairs. Give each pair two plastic disks. Ask the person in each pair with the longest hair to close his or her eyes as you come around with the bag of mega confetti. While one person in each pair has eyes closed, have the other child take a piece of mega confetti and hold it out of sight. When every pair has a piece of mega confetti, have everyone open their eyes and hold the disks up to their eyes like glasses. Ask them to try to figure out what color the piece of mega confetti is by looking at it only through the disks. Have kids switch roles and repeat the activity with a different piece of mega confetti. While pairs still have their disks, have them look around the room at lights and at each other. Then ask: How does our classroom look different when you look through the disks? (Everything is colored; everything is messed up; it s not very clear.) What was different about the pieces of mega confetti through the disks? (They were darker; they changed color; they were hard to see.) What was hard about telling the true color of things? (The color was messed up because of the red disks; I couldn t see the way it was supposed to look.) Return the plastic disks and mega confetti to the Learning Lab. Say: Sometimes people don t see things the way they should, just as you didn t see things quite the right way with the disks over your eyes. Today we re going to learn about some people who thought they were doing the right thing, but they didn t see the situation clearly, just as we didn t see the room clearly when we looked through the plastic disks. But Jesus cleared everything up so people saw the situation the same way he did. Open your Bible to Matthew 18:1-6, and show the passage to the children. Say: The first part of our story begins on this page. Some of Jesus followers came to him and asked, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? Maybe they wanted Jesus to pick one of them, but he didn t. Instead Jesus called to a child and had the child stand in front of them. Jesus said, I assure you, unless you turn from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus said it s important to be careful and teach children only the truth. You d think Jesus followers would ve learned that children are very important to Jesus. But something else happened to show that Jesus followers still didn t understand that Jesus cares about children. Turn to Matthew 19:13-15, and show the passage to the children. Let s play a game to find out what happens in the rest of the Bible story. Put a chair by a wall of your classroom. Tell children that the chair is where Jesus sits. Have the class line up along the opposite wall they ll be the children in the story. Choose three or four children to act as Jesus followers. Have Jesus followers stand halfway between Jesus chair and the children, and have the Followers face the children. Jesus Welcomes the Children Bible Insight The kingdom of God is a central theme in the New Testament. The word kingdom is found 55 times in Matthew, 20 times in Mark, 46 times in Luke, and 5 times in John. The phrase kingdom of God (or other phrases referring to the same concept) occurs in the Gospels about 80 times. 107

6 Lesson 9 Say: Jesus followers thought they were doing the right thing. But they didn t see things the same way Jesus did. It was as if they were looking through the plastic disks. Things weren t clear. One day, as Jesus sat (indicate Jesus chair) teaching the people, some parents brought their children to Jesus so Jesus could pray for them. But Jesus followers told them to stop. Children (indicate the children standing by the wall), try to get to Jesus. The Followers will try to tag you. Children, if a Follower tags you, you must go back to the wall. Have the Followers keep tagging children until every one of them has been tagged, even if they get to Jesus. Give the children a few minutes to play the game. When all the children have been tagged and have returned to the wall, say: Jesus saw that his followers were keeping the children away and said, Let the children come to me. Don t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children (Matthew 19:14). Now all of you are children, even the Followers. Walk as quickly as you can to Jesus. Have all the children walk to Jesus chair. When the children came to Jesus, he put his hands on them. Put your hand on each child s shoulder. And Jesus prayed for them. Pray: Dear Jesus, thank you for the children. Thank you for [each child s name]. You created them, and you love them. Help us always come to you and love you like you love us. In your name, amen. Have the children sit down. Ask: Why do you think Jesus followers didn t want the children around? (They thought Jesus was too busy teaching grown-ups; they didn t like kids; they didn t think Jesus wanted the kids there.) When have adults not wanted you around? (I m not allowed to eat at the dining table when my parents have guests; when my mom s on the phone, she wants me to go to another room.) How did it feel to be prayed for just now? (I knew you cared about me; I liked it that you said my name.) Say: Kids are very important to Jesus. Even though Jesus was right in the middle of teaching the adults, he stopped and made time to be with and pray for the children. Jesus cares about children. And he wants to have a relationship with children, just as he wants to have a relationship with adults. Let s find out why Jesus cares about children. 108

7 Jesus Welcomes the Children HANDS-ON BIBLE Give each child a piece of construction paper and a marker or crayon. Then say: Jesus loves everyone children and adults. He loved you just as much when you were 2 years old as he does now. We re going to make something to remind you that Jesus loves you. Help kids find Luke 18 in their Hands-On Bibles, and assist them as they follow directions for the Kid Stuff activity. When they get to the part that asks them to attach pictures of themselves, ask them to do this at home. Say: Put this in your room above your bed, on your mirror, on top of a pile of clothes so you always remember that Jesus loves you and wants to be your friend now and through your whole life! n Inside and Out SUPPLIES: Bible, paper, scissors, markers or crayons, tape Before class, cut sheets of white paper in half. You ll need two half-sheets for each child. Set out markers or crayons. Give each child a half-sheet of paper. Say: Let s color these papers to represent the things you like. We ll make a collage of colors. For example, if you like horses, you might want to put a splotch of brown on your paper to stand for your favorite color of horse. And if you like swimming, you might put a splotch of blue on your paper to stand for blue water. If you like growing flowers, you might put splotches of color that are the same colors as your favorite flowers. Draw swirls and splotches and shapes of all different colors. Color all the way to the edge so that the entire piece of paper is covered. Give children a few minutes to do this. While they re working, ask what the different colors mean. Compare the interests of the children. They will have many interests in common, and many will be unique. Have children write their names on the backs of their papers. Then hand out scissors and another half-sheet of plain white paper to each child. Show the children how to accordion-fold the uncolored papers and cut shapes out of the folds as if they were making snowflakes. When the children have finished cutting, have them unfold the cut papers and tape them to the colored papers so the colors show through the cuts. Give the children about five minutes to finish their work. Then say: The papers you colored show all the things you re interested in. They show what makes you special on the inside. The papers you cut show that we re all different on the outside. Nobody s paper has the same cuts in it as anyone else s, just as none of us looks like anyone else. Some of us are tall. Some are short. Some have straight hair; some have curly. There s no one in the whole world who looks exactly like you. Even if you had an identical twin, we could tell you apart because there would be something different. Ask: Why does God make everyone different? (To tell us apart; because he s creative; to have fun; because we need to be different so we can do different jobs.) 109

8 Lesson 9 Read Psalm 127:3, and then say: Your parents are blessed to have you. You re not like anyone else, and God gave you to your parents as a special gift. Jesus cares about children. He cares so much that you re a special reward to your parents. In fact, God cares so much about you that before you were born, God planned what you would look like and what you would like to do. He even knew your name way before you were born. Ask: What are some ways your name is used? (When I get in trouble, my mom calls me all three of my names; my name tells the teacher which paper is mine; my name helps people know who I am; people can get my attention with my name.) Why do you think your name is important to Jesus? (He cares about me; he knows me; he loves me; when he needs to get my attention, he can call my name.) Say: Jesus cares about children. Jesus knows my name. He knows every one of your names, too. He cares about you even more than your best friend cares about you. Jesus wants to be your friend. He knows you, and he wants you to know him, too. Have the children help put away the markers or crayons and the scissors and throw away the leftover paper bits. n What to Do SUPPLIES: Bible Have the children sit in a circle. Give each child a small handful of the mega confetti. Have the children separate the big pieces from the little pieces. Ask: What can adults do to serve God? (Sing in the choir; love their children; become a missionary; give to the poor and hungry.) For each idea the children have, have them put one big piece of confetti in the middle of the circle. Keep going until the children run out of ideas or confetti. If children have trouble thinking of ideas, suggest ideas such as teaching Sunday school, driving kids to church, giving money for kids to go to church camp, helping at church camp, reading Bible stories to kids, teaching kids how to sing or play instruments at church, and praying for people. It s best if there is a fairly large pile of large confetti pieces in the middle of the circle. When the children run out of ideas, ask: What can kids do to serve God? (Sing in a choir; come to church; give to the poor; tell kids at school about God; be nice to my brother and sister.) For each idea the children have, have them put one small piece of confetti in a separate pile in the middle of the circle. Encourage children to keep coming up with ideas until there are about the same number of small pieces of confetti in the middle of the circle as there are big pieces. Again, have several ideas in mind to spark children s thinking. 110

9 Jesus Welcomes the Children Then say: Sometimes kids feel that they can t do anything really important until they grow up. But that s not true. Jesus cares about children and has special things for them to do. Look at our two piles. There are as many small pieces as there are big pieces. Listen to what the Bible says about children serving God. Help a volunteer find and read Jeremiah 1:7-8. There s something else I think you should know. Mix up the two piles of confetti so the big pieces are mixed in with the small pieces. It s best when all God s people work together to serve God. Adults can serve alongside children, and children can help adults. Let s celebrate our opportunities to serve God. Have everyone grab a handful of the confetti and throw it up in the air as you all shout, Jesus cares about children! Have kids help you gather the confetti. Ask them to each keep one piece and return the rest to its bag in the Learning Lab. Closing n Kid Praise SUPPLIES: Bible, CD player Cue the CD to track 12, Let All the Children (Matthew track 12 19:14). Say: Find a friend to tell one thing you learned today. The person with the smallest piece of confetti will share first. When you tell what you learned, give your friend your piece of confetti. (Kids are important to God; Jesus cares about children; adults are supposed to teach us all about God; Jesus is my friend; Jesus knows my name.) When pairs have finished sharing, say: Today we ve learned that Jesus cares about children. We ve talked about lots of reasons children are special. But there s one more thing we can talk about. Listen while I read from the Bible. Read Psalm 8:2. Ask: The Bible says kids should praise God. How do you think you should praise God? (I can sing songs to him in church; I can talk to him before I go to bed and when I wake up; I can talk to him all day; I can be his friend; I can tell others about the great things he does for me.) Say: Jesus loves for children to praise him. Let s do that right now by singing this song. Play the CD, and sing the song with the children. Lyrics are at the back of this book. Have kids form a circle, and say: Let s thank God for caring about children. We re going to pray together before I close our prayer time. While we pray, take turns thanking God for the person on your right. Thank God for one special thing about that person, and make sure you say his or her name. Begin the prayer by thanking God for the child on your right; then encourage kids to continue praying around the circle. 111

10 Lesson 9 Pray: God, thank you for loving children. We know that you ve created children to be special. We re glad for all of the good things you ve given to us, our special abilities, and our talents. And we ask you to help us remember that children can serve you as well as anyone else. In Jesus name, amen. Remind children to take home any crafts they made today. Growing closer to Jesus extends beyond the classroom. Photocopy the Growing Together handout (at the end of this lesson) for this week, and send it home with your children. Encourage children and parents to use the handout to plan meaningful activities on this week s topic. Follow up the Growing Together activities next week by asking children what their families did together. 112

11 Jesus Cares 9: Jesus cares about children. Bible Story Jesus welcomes the children (Matthew 18:1-6; 19:13-15). Kids Night Bible Verse But Jesus said, Let the children come to me (Matthew 19:14a). Today your child learned that Jesus cares about children. The children learned that God offers special protection to children and that children can praise God and serve God as well as anyone else. Use these activities with your family this week to celebrate the spirit of fun and innocence that makes childhood precious. Winter Scenes Make the children in your family feel appreciated. Choose one night to be Kids Night. Devote the entire evening to your child. Leave the dishes; forget the evening paper just have fun with your child. Play games, listen to music, bundle up and play outdoors in the moonlight, enjoy popcorn and apple cider around a fire. As you tuck your child into bed, read or tell a story and tell about how excited you were when he or she became part of your family. Hug your child, and ask God to take special care of the little one you ve been entrusted with. Horton s Who Check out Dr. Seuss Horton Hears a Who! from your public library. Read it together. It s about an elephant that discovers that a person s a person no matter how small. In spite of much ridicule, Horton works hard to save a village of microscopic people. After you read the book, ask your child if small people are more important than big people, if young people are better than old, if rich people are better than poor people, if people of one nationality deserve more than other people. Ask your child why God made people so different. Talk about what you can do to help all kinds of people learn about God. Create a scene that shows all of the fun things children like to do outside in winter. Sprinkle baby powder into a small bowl. Have your child dip a cotton swab in the powder and draw pictures on a piece of dark blue or black paper. Spray the finished artwork with hair spray to keep the powder from rubbing off. Talk about the picture as you enjoy hot chocolate together. Then thank God for creating children so full of fun and energy. Be sure to say a special thank you to God for your own child. Child Care Many children in the world live in poverty. ln fact, one in five children in our own country lives in poverty, and children are helpless to change their situations for the better. Explain to your child that many others in the world don t have the advantages he or she has. Set a bowl or plate in the middle of your kitchen table. Ask your family members to put their spare change in the bowl this week. Children in your family who don t have spare change could be paid a quarter for small jobs around the house, and that money could be put in the bowl. At the end of the week, donate the money to a relief agency or local charity that helps children. Permission to photocopy this handout from Group s Hands-On Bible Curriculum Grades 1 & 2 granted for local church use. Copyright Group Publishing, Inc., 1515 Cascade Avenue, Loveland, CO group.com 113

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