Scripture: John 3: 1-20
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.
Have the children open their Bibles to John 3
(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.)
- Who was Nicodemus? a Pharisee, a member of the Jewish ruling council. That means he was like a pastor or a Bible teacher. He knew a lot about the scriptures.
- When did he come to see Jesus? at night
- Why do you think that he came to see him at night? He didn’t want the other members of the council to know that he was visiting Jesus.
- By what name does he call Jesus? Rabbi
- What does Rabbi mean? Teacher
- What does he say to Jesus? We know that you are a teacher who has come from God.
- Why did he think that Jesus had come from God? Because he did miracles and nobody could do those things without God’s help.
- So Nicodemus knew that Jesus was from God, but did that mean that he was saved? No.
- What did Jesus say to Nicodemus? “No one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
- What did Nicodemus think of that? He asked how someone could be born again.
- What kind of birth was Nicodemus thinking of? the birth of our earthly bodies.
- What kind of birth was Jesus talking about? Spiritual birth. He said, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
- What does Jesus compare the Spirit to? The wind. You can hear it, but you can’t see it coming and going. (If the wind is blowing outside point out to the children how the trees or the grass move in the wind. Ask them if they have ever listened to the wind in a storm, or if they have seen trees taken down by the wind. We can see the effects of the wind, but it is invisible. The Spirit is like that.)
- Jesus told Nicodemus, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” What did he say about God? He loved the people of the world so much that he gave his only son for them. And what did he say about believers? They will have eternal life.
- What about the people that don’t believe? They are condemned.
- Do you think that Nicodemus became a believer?
- Let’s look at the two other times that Nicodemus was mentioned in the Bible.
- John 7:50 tells us that Nicodemus defended Jesus to the Pharisees who wanted to kill Jesus. He said, “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”
- John 19: 38-42 says that Nicodemus was with Joseph of Arimathea, who was a believer, and helped him to bury Jesus after he died on the cross. “Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” So, Nicodemus was with Joseph of Arimathea, who was a believer, and helped him to bury Jesus after he died on the cross.
- I think that Nicodemus had become a believer. Don’t you?
- Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?
- Let’s pray and let Jesus know that we believe in him and that we want to be his followers and be born again in the Spirit …
During the remaining class time do activities that help to reinforce what the children have learned. Here are some suggestions…
Memorize the verse.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
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 from sermons4kids. An excellent color page book is “Through-the-Bible Coloring Pages For Ages 4-8” by Janet Skiles. The pages are reproducible.
Show a video of this story:
Share “The Butterfly” object lesson from Sermons4kids. Don’t forget the activities at the bottom of the page!
Have the children fill out these worksheets and color page from Calvary Curriculum.
Jesus Without Language has a very cute craft. I did this one with first through third graders. The scene portion of the craft is difficult to put together, so I did that part for them. All they had to do was glue the people and objects on. And they loved it!
Have the children make the book “Nicodemus” or the book “How to Get to Heaven” from Lambsongs (Scroll down.)
Here is another good craft from My Little House. (Scroll down to April: Jesus and Nicodemus and click on the link for the template.)
Show a power point presentation about Nicodemus or a color book from Gospel Hall. (Search for Nicodemus)
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.