John the Baptist

Scripture: Matthew 3:1 – 17 and Luke 3:1 -18

Target Age Group:  1st through 6th grade

Welcome the children to the classroom and chat with them about their week as they gather around the table.

Pray and ask God to teach the children not just head knowledge, but also heart knowledge.

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Bible Lesson:
Have the children open their Bibles to Matthew 3 or pages 360 – 361 in The Golden Children’s Bible.

Remember when the angel Gabriel came to Zacharias in the temple and told him he was going to have a son?  What  was he to name him?  That’s right, remember that he wrote on the tablet “His name is John.”  And who was he a cousin to?  Jesus.  Well, John and Jesus grew up.  John was a preacher and a baptist, and Jesus came to him one day.  Let’s read the story.

(Read the story to the children because at this age some of the children do not read smoothly, which hinders comprehension for the whole class.)

Discussion:

  • What was John doing in this story?  preaching to people to repent and baptizing people
  • What does the word “repent” mean?  It means that if you are truly sorry for what you have done wrong, you will turn around and do what’s right instead.
  • What kind of clothes did John wear? Clothes made from camel’s hair, and a leather girdle around his waste.
  • What kind of food did he eat?  Locusts and wild honey.
  • Who came to hear John preach and be baptized? People from Jerusalem, Judea and all  the region around Jordan.
  • The Pharisees and Sadducees came, too.  Who were they?  They were the Jewish teachers of the law.
  • What did John say that the Pharisees and Sadducees say? “We have Abraham for our forefather.”
  • Remember the promise that God had made to Abraham?  His descendants were going to be as many in number as the stars and the sand on the seashore.  And the world was going to be blessed through them.  What did the Pharisees and Sadducees think that that meant?  If Abraham was their father, then they were special.  They were God’s chosen people.  So, they were automatically going to heaven.
  • But, what did John say about that?  God can raise up children for Abraham from these stones.  And every tree that doesn’t produce good will be cut down and burned in the fire.
  • What do you think that means?  You aren’t going to heaven just because Abraham is your father. If you don’t repent you’ll be thrown into the fire.
  • Do you think that since your parents are Christians that you are automatically a Christian? No.  We each have to repent.
  • The people asked what they should do then.  How did John answer?  Give food and clothing to the poor.
  • What were the tax collectors to do?  Not take any more taxes than they were supposed to take.
  • What were the soldiers to do?  Never accuse someone falsely, nor be violent.
  • What fruit of repentance do you think that John would tell you to produce?
  • What were the people wondering about John?  They wondered if he was the Messiah.
  • How did John answer them?  Someone else was coming who’s shoes he was not worthy to untie. I only baptize with water.  He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
  • When Jesus came to be baptized, what did John say? “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
  • What do you think John meant? Jesus never sinned so it does seem like He wouldn’t need to be baptized.  He should be baptizing John instead.
  • How did Jesus answer him?  “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”  Jesus always obeys what is right – just like he obeyed his mother and father when he was a boy – even though he is God
  • What happened when Jesus came up from the water?  The Holy Spirit came down from heaven like a dove and a voice from heaven said “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
  • Is God pleased with you?  Have you repented from your sins and changed your ways? Let’s pray and tell Jesus that we are sorry for our sins and ask Him to give us his Holy Spirit, to help us to do what’s right, and please God…

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During the remaining class time do activities that help to reinforce what the children have learned. Here are some suggestions…

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Memorize the verse.

2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

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Have the children use colors or pastels to draw their own vision of the story on a sketch pad page. Or have them color a color page related to the story. Color Page #1,   Color Page #2,  Color Page #3, Color Page #4Color Page #5       An excellent color page book is “Through-the-Bible Coloring Pages For Ages 4-8” by Janet Skiles.  The pages are reproducible.

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Show this object lesson video from Aaron Miller.

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This is a great craft from Auntie’s Bible Lessons.

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Have the class fill out these worksheets from Calvary Curriculum.

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Read the story  “After the Bath” from Keys for Kids.

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Share the “On Jesus’ Team” object lesson with a helper.

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Kids love to act out the story. Here is a great drama idea.

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Do the Dirty Pennies Made New activity.

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Share this children’s sermon from sermons4kids and do one of the activities at the bottom of the page.

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Have the children do a crossword puzzle or a decoder puzzle  from sermons4kids featuring John the Baptist.

Here is another crossword puzzle from Sharon Whittaker.

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Sing “Let Your Light Shine”  and “He Made Him”  “John’s Song” “ Wages – Romans 6:23”by Mary Rice Hopkins.   Or sing “Live a Pure LIfe” or “If We Confess Our Sins” “His Name Will Be John” by the Donut Man.

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Serve milk and gingerbread men cookies for snack.  Allow the children to “baptize” their cookies in the milk.

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Evaluate what the children have learned.  While they are coloring or crafting ask each one what they learned today.

Send each child’s parent an e-mail (or a hard copy) of the Parents’ Page.

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