Kids ask a lot of great questions, especially about Jesus. Here are some quick and easy children’s messages you can have in your pocket the next time you hear one of these questions.
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1. Did God Forget About Jesus When He Was on the Cross?
THEME God hears us when we cry.
BIBLE REFERENCE Mark 15:33-41
SIMPLE SUPPLIES You’ll need a Bible, two disposable cups, string, scissors, and beads or washers. Before the lesson, make a “telephone” by poking a small hole in the bottom of each cup. Cut one 10-foot length of string, and thread it through the hole in the bottom of one cup. Tie a washer or bead to the end of the string inside the cup. Repeat this process with the other end of the string and the other cup.
Say: Can you guess what these cups and string are for? Give time for responses. I’ve made something like a telephone with them. Let’s see how it works. Choose two volunteers. Have each child hold a cup and carefully walk away from each other until the string is taught. Then as one child speaks into one cup, the other holds the cup to listen through it. Have volunteers take turns talking and listening.
Did my telephone always work? Could you always hear your partner? What made it easier or harder to hear the other person? Let children respond. This phone may not have worked perfectly, but there is one type of communication that always works. There is one special “call” we can make that will always be heard—our prayers!
Open your Bible to Mark 15. The Bible tells us that many of the leaders during Jesus’ time didn’t like the things Jesus was saying and doing. They wanted to make him stop saying he was God. But Jesus just kept right on teaching, blessing, and healing the people. Finally, the leaders decided to kill Jesus by nailing him to a cross. God knew that Jesus would die this way, but God also knew that Jesus would rise from the dead and live in heaven forever! While Jesus was on the cross, he cried out to God. Read Mark 15:34 aloud. God heard Jesus’ prayer, but didn’t take Jesus down from the cross and save him from death. Instead, he gave Jesus the strength to finish his task.
Have you ever cried out to God? Why? Did you hear or see God’s answer? Allow time for responses. Sometimes God changes our problems so they’re not problems anymore, and sometimes he gives us the strength to make it through the problems. We can never be sure how God will answer our prayers. But one thing is for certain, God always hears us when we cry out to him! God heard Jesus and he hears us, too.
Pray: Dear God, thank you for always listening to our prayers. Please help us remember to cry out to you when things are good and when things are bad. Thank you for always being there for us. We love you. Amen.
If time permits, let children experiment more with the “telephone.”
2. Why Didn’t Jesus Just Use His Power to Get Down From the Cross?
THEME Jesus gave himself for us.
BIBLE REFERENCE Luke 23:33-43
SIMPLE SUPPLIES You’ll need a Bible, an adult helper, masking tape, and a superhero costume (or sweatpants and shirt that can be stuffed with towels or newspaper to look like muscles). Prior to the lesson, have your helper dress up as a muscle-bound superhero, and then have this person stay out of sight. Using masking tape on the ground, mark off an area where you can play a game of tag.
Also, mark a 5×5-foot square that will serve as “jail.” Say: Today we’re going to play Hobble Tag. Stand up and put your knees together. Now try to walk. This is how you’ll be allowed to move around during the game. As you can see, there are masking tape boundaries drawn on the floor. During our game of Tag, you may not go outside these lines. If you go outside the boundaries or get tagged, you must go to the jail box. Point out the jail box. I will be “It,” and I can walk or run normally. Let’s play!
Play Tag until all the children are in jail. Then have your volunteer suddenly burst out from the hiding place. You may try to capture the superhero, but this person is impervious to your assaults. Have the superhero walk into the jail and set all the captives free, saying, “I will take your place, you may go free!”
The game is now over. While your superhero sits in jail, seat the children for discussion time. What was different or unusual about this game of Tag? What was the superhero all about? Can you think of anyone else who’s like our superhero? Let children answer. This superhero reminds me of Jesus.
The Bible tells us that after Jesus had been teaching the people for about three years, some religious leaders decided that they were going to kill him. They had Jesus arrested, and soldiers took him away. Jesus was nailed on a cross and left to die. Jesus did this as a way of taking our punishment on himself, just like the superhero went to jail for you in our game. While he was on the cross, Jesus cried out to God. Some soldiers watching this made fun of Jesus and teased that if he was really God’s Son, he should just use his power to get down from the cross. Listen to what they said. Read Luke 23:35-39 aloud. But that wasn’t God’s plan. Jesus had all the power in the world, yet he died on the cross. Do you think he could have gotten himself down? Why or why not? Why do you think Jesus didn’t take himself down from the cross?
Allow time for responses. When we sin, we must be punished. Jesus had never done anything wrong and didn’t need to be punished. When Jesus died, he took the punishment for all our sins. He died so that we could have forgiveness for our sins and so that we could be close to God. Jesus gave himself for us.
Our superhero has stayed in jail ever since you were set free. Did Jesus stay dead? Allow time for responses. Jesus rose to life again and lives in heaven forever. Take a minute to think of a sin in your life that you need God’s forgiveness for. Pretend to put that sin in your fist. Have the superhero go through the group pretending to take the sins from the children’s hands. Jesus is the real superhero who takes away our sin and lets us be close to God.
Pray: Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus to die so that we could be close to you and be forgiven of our sins. We love Jesus and we love you! Amen.
3. Where Is Jesus Now?
THEME When Jesus went to heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit to be with us.
BIBLE REFERENCE Acts 1:1-11
SIMPLE SUPPLIES You’ll need a Bible; colorful, interesting picture postcards of vacation places; pieces of heavy paper cut to the size of postcards; and pencils.
Say: When was the last time you went on a vacation? Where did you go? Have you ever sent a postcard to someone while you were on vacation or gotten a postcard from someone who was on a vacation? Allow children to respond. People send postcards because they want the people they love to know what it’s like where they are and to let their friends know they’re thinking of them.
I brought some postcards with me today. Have the children hand around the postcards. Aren’t the places on the cards beautiful? I know of someplace even more beautiful. It has streets of gold, wonderful trees with delicious fruit on them all year, and no night. Do you know the place I’m talking about? Allow children to respond. That’s right—heaven. Have you ever gotten a postcard from heaven? Allow children to respond. No, I haven’t either. But we all have gotten something wonderful from someone who went to heaven.
In the Bible it tells about when Jesus went back to heaven. Jesus had risen from the dead and spent 40 days meeting with people and doing wonderful things. But then it was time for him to go to heaven.
Acts 1:8-11 tells us what happened next. Read this passage aloud. Jesus went back to heaven. Although Jesus didn’t send a postcard of heaven to the people then or to us now, he did send the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does many wonderful things for us. Even though we can’t know exactly what it’s like in heaven where Jesus is, we can have the Holy Spirit to give us power and comfort.
I have some blank postcards here for you. Hand out paper and pencils. On one side of the card, write a prayer of thanks to Jesus for sending the Holy Spirit to us, and later you can draw a picture on the other side of what you think heaven might be like. Give children time to write their prayers, and then pray together.
Pray: Dear Jesus, thank you that you sent the Holy Spirit to us when you went to heaven. Even though we don’t have a picture of where you are now, I’m excited to be there with you someday! In your name, amen.
If you liked these quick and easy messages, you will love Quick Children’s Sermons: Will My Dog Be in Heaven? Kids ask the most amazing questions—and now you’ll be ready to answer 50 of the toughest ones! Here are the questions kids really want answered; the everyday stuff they think about as they discover who God is and struggle to make sense of a confusing, overwhelming world. You’ll find intriguing questions about God, Jesus, the Bible, and life in general. Your kids will discover solid Bible principles through interactive learning, and you’ll be delighted with the wise, witty, and fun answers.
Perfect for children’s messages, children’s church, or as a resource for church workers and parents when these off-the-wall questions arise!
Have your kids ever asked you a question you weren’t prepared for? Tell us about it using the comment section below!