VERSES: Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-18; John 1:19-28
MEMORY VERSE: Matthew 3:3 "...Prepare ye the way of the Lord , make his paths straight."
BOOK TO REMEMBER: 1 Corinthians. Write "1 Corinthians" on small slips of paper and hand out at the end of class so the students may memorize this book of the New Testament. Review all New Testament books.
PRAYER: Thank God for our food and clothes and all the blessings He gives us.
SPECIAL SONG: The Books Of The New Testament (see March - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog. Click orange circle to hear tune.)
VISUAL AID: Bible map, showing Judea, Jerusalem, Nazareth. Picture of locusts and honey (found in books or on the internet). I used to have the students taste a bit of honey, but, recently, there has been some medical information that states that honey is hard for children under two to digest honey and they discourage children eating honey, so now I am hesitant to promote honey-tasting.
- Do you remember Zacharias and Elisabeth's little baby boy whom they named John? He was the cousin of Jesus and he grew up to be a man who lived in the wilderness. The Bible says that he was a lot like Elijah, the Old Testament prophet. His clothing was made of camel's hair and he had a thick leather belt around his waist. He had an unusual diet, too. He ate locusts and wild honey.
- John had a job to do. It was prophesied way back in Isaiah and Malachi that John would be preaching in the wilderness of Judea and would be telling everyone to repent or turn from their wicked ways and do what God wanted them to do. While John was in the wilderness, the word of God came to John and he began preaching. He told the people that the kingdom of heaven was near. His job was to prepare the way for Jesus, so he preached, telling everyone to repent. He baptized many people in the Jordan River, but John only baptized for repentance.
- The Jews sent Levites and priests to check out John. They did not know who he was. They were looking for the Christ to come and thought maybe John was the Christ, so they asked him, "Who are you?" John said he was not the Christ. They asked him, "Are you Elijah? Are you that prophet?" He must have looked a little like Elijah because of what he was wearing, but John said that he was not Elijah. He told some of the high-ranking Jews, the Pharisees and Sadducees, that they should repent, too, because they were doing wicked things, pretending to be holy and righteous, but they were not doing good things. John was full of courage because he was not afraid of telling important people that they were not doing things God's way, even if it meant he would go to prison for telling the truth (Luke 3:19, 20). He was very brave. He told everyone that there was another person coming after him who was more mighty than he was and that person was Jesus.
"Older Student" Tips:
- Read Isaiah 40:2 and Malachi 3:1. 700 years in advance, the prophets prophesied about John coming to prepare the way of the Lord.
- John only baptized for repentance.
ACTIVITY: John Preaches In The Wilderness
Materials needed: 9" x 12" light blue construction paper, 6" x 12 dark brown paper, 5" x 7" white bond paper, 3" x 6" of any color paper, glue, marker, crayons, scissors.
- Hand out blue paper. This is the background.
- Hand out brown paper.
- Tear the longest edge of the brown paper all along the top. This is the wilderness.
- Glue the wilderness to the bottom of the background.
- Hand out white paper.
- Draw John with his camel's hair clothes and his leather belt or girdle.
- Color John.
- Cut John out.
- Glue John in the middle of the wilderness.
- Write "REPENT!" on the scrap white paper.
- Cut out "REPENT!" in a speech bubble.
- Glue "REPENT!" close to John.
- Write "Leather belt" and "Clothes made of camel's hair" close to John.
- Hand out any color scrap paper.
- Fold any color paper in half.
- On front, write "What did John eat?"
- Unfold and write "Locusts and wild honey" inside.
- Glue the back of the any color scrap paper to the wilderness.
- Write "John Preaching In The Wilderness" and "Matthew 3:1-12" at the top of the blue paper.
- Decorate wilderness a bit.