Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jesus Got Baptized, What's Up With That?

Continuing in Luke, we are at the baptism of Jesus. What do kids need to know about the baptism of Jesus? Why did Jesus get baptized? Did he have sins to repent from? God had something to say about it. What did God say? What else happened and what did it mean? Just covering these basics will help kids begin to understand the baptism of a penitent believer. And let's face it, kids are curious about baptism!

This origami dove is pretty easy, only takes a couple minutes to fold. I didn't have paper lace doilies, so I used basket style coffee filters. Here is the link to the instructions: Good luck!

Hi Everybody! This is my puppet friend, Eli. What kind of animal is Eli? (call on a 2 or 3 year old) An elephant, very good! Is it true that elephants never forget? (heads shake or nod) Well I don't know about real elephants, but I do know that Eli has a great memory. It seems like he remembers everything! Especially Bible verses. Let me see if he gets this one right. (speaking to puppet) Eli, what is our Bible verse for today's lesson? (listen to puppet). Sure enough, he got it right! Luke 3: 21-22. "Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He prayed, heaven opened, and the Holy Spirit came down on Jesus in the form of a dove, and a voice came out of heaven saying, 'You are My beloved Son, I am very pleased with You.'"

Remember our lesson last Sunday? Who was baptizing all the people? (John the Baptist) Right! So who baptized Jesus? (John the Baptist) Right again! John the Baptist told the people to do something before they got baptized. Eli, what was it? (repent from their sins) I know all people sin, but Jesus is the Son of ... who? (God!) Right, Jesus is the Son of God. (speaking to puppet) Eli, isn't there a Bible verse that tells if Jesus ever sinned? (listen to Eli) I knew you would remember! (speaking to kids) Eli said "in Jesus there is no sin." 1 John 3:5. Thanks, Eli. So the people had sins to repent from, but Jesus was like, perfect. So why did Jesus need to get baptized? What's up with that?

Well here's the thing, part of baptism is symbolic. Eli, do you know what symbolic means? (Eli shakes his head) Here's what symbolic means: a symbol looks like one thing, but means another thing. Give me a thumbs up. (they do) Good, what does thumbs up mean? (we like something, we agree with someone, this movie is good) Baptism looks like just getting dunked under water, right? (nods) But it means something else. It means the person is starting over to be different. It's like saying, "before I did things my way, not God's way, and that was sinning, but now I want to do things God's way."

Jesus getting baptized was really important. You know how I know that? (heads shake) Because all four gospels tell about it. Who can name the four gospels? (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) Excellent! They all tell the story about Jesus getting baptized. It is the beginning of His ministry, His work, the very first thing He does! And what does God think of Jesus getting started this way? Who remembers? Eli? (he was pleased) Yes, God was very pleased with Jesus, and He let everybody know it, didn't He? How did God let the people know He was pleased with Jesus? (speaking from heaven) Yeah, God spoke from heaven. That must have been awesome to hear! So even though Jesus' baptism was different from everyone else's baptism because Jesus didn't have to repent, still God wanted Jesus to be baptized, and God was very pleased with Jesus.

So, for all the rest of us, baptism is the start of a new life, a life with God. We repent from our sins, and God forgives us. One more thing happens when we get baptized, and it happened to Jesus when He got baptized. What was it? (the dove) Right, the dove! The dove was the Holy Spirit! Baptism is when we get God's gift of the Holy Spirit! Jesus said the Holy Spirit is our Helper. The Holy Spirit helps us live our new life with God!

Here is a paper dove for each of you. It is a symbol of Who? (the Holy Spirit) God's Holy Spirit, right!

Let's bow our heads, fold our hands, and close our eyes. Dear God, You spoke from heaven to everybody. How awesome! You said You are so pleased with Jesus. We want to please You, too. Thank you for forgiving our sins and giving us Your Holy Spirit to help us. In Jesus name we pray, amen.

If you ever have an opportunity to volunteer for nursery duty at your church, do it! This kind of paper project is so fun for kids, especially the 3 and 4 year olds, and you can tell a Bible story while you demonstrate the steps for them. There is nothing better than teaching kids about God, and how much He loves them!

John the Baptist, God Prepares the Way (I Know the Plans I Have For You)

Why is it that we don't hear much about John the Baptist, the goofy guy from the wilderness? God had John out there preparing the way for Jesus, and that makes me feel good. If God prepared the way for Jesus, He'll prepare my way for me (and you, and you, and you... ) ;-) I believe this because the Bible teaches we are "joint heirs with Jesus", not lesser siblings, but equal siblings, even though we are different from Jesus (duh, diety!) Since God is "not a respecter of persons" i.e. God doesn't play favorites, what He does for one of His children, He'll do for us all. What He did for Jesus, He'll do for us. What He promised Jeremiah (Jer. 29:11), He promises to us! I think kids can understand this, at least I'll try to teach it to them. Here goes...

Hi Everybody! I invited Dooley to come with me today. (Dooley waves, kids wave back.) We were having Puppet Bible Study at my house last week and someone mentioned John the Baptist. Dooley said, "Who's John the Baptist?" So I invited him to come with me this morning because we are going to talk about John the Baptist. 

(speaking to puppet) Dooley, some of these church kids already know some things about John the Baptist. (turning to kids) Who knows what John the Baptist wore for clothing? (camel hair tunic, leather belt) Right! Do any of you know what John the Baptist ate for food? (locusts and wild honey) Good job! Can anybody tell Dooley where John the Baptist lived? (in the wilderness) Impressive!

This question is a little harder. John the Baptist had one main job to do. God gave him this job. What was John's main job? (they'll probably guess baptising people or preaching, etc.) You're getting close, but those are not quite the main job that God gave John the Baptist to do.

John the Baptist was supposed to prepare the way for Jesus! That means he had to get the people ready so Jesus could start His ministry. John the Baptist told the people that the Lord was coming, so they needed to repent from their sins and be baptized.

And you know what happened? (they don't know) Dooley, what do you think happened? (Dooley shakes his head, he doesn't know) Lots of people listened to John the Baptist. They came out of the city and towns just to listen to him. And they did repent from their sins, and they did get baptised by John the Baptist.

So Dooley, now you know! God gave John the Baptist a very important job to do. John the Baptist had to prepare the people for Jesus. Did he do his job? (puppet and kids nod) Yes, and he did a good job, too. He got the people ready for Jesus. So then John's job was done, and Jesus could start His ministry.

You see, God prepared the way for Jesus, and He let John the Baptist be His helper. God prepares our way, too. He said in the Bible, in Jeremiah, "I know the plans I have for you" (point to Dooley) and you (point to another), and you, and you, and all of us (pointing with each "you"), "good plans, not bad plans, to give us a future and a hope". See God has a plan for each one of us, a good plan, and He will help make our plan happen for us, just like he helped John the Baptist make His plan for Jesus happen. How cool is that?!

Now, I don't know how John got people's attention so that they would come out of the city and towns to hear him. I don't know if John blew a horn, but he might have. So I have a horn for each of you today. (Dooley claps his hands) This is not an inside toy! Only blow your horn outside, okay? (they all nod, of course!) Moms, Dads, they all agree to only blow their horns outside. (all laugh, pass out horns)

Let's all bow our heads, close our eyes, and fold our hands. Dear God, You prepared the way for Jesus, and You let John the Baptist help You with that! We know You have a plan for each of us, and thank You for caring about us so much. Please guide us along the paths You planned for us. We want to stay on Your good paths! In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

I can almost guarantee one of them will blow the horn in church, but that's okay. Hopefully no babies will cry! May God continually bless your ministry to His little ones. Thanks for reading :-)