Bible Passage: Matthew 4; 9; Mark 1–3; Luke 5–6
Story Point: Jesus called disciples to follow Him.
Key Passage: John 3:30
Show videos: There is a video for Early Childhood, and one for Elementary. If you have children in both age groups, show both!
Discussion Time: Follow up with the following questions. Answers are provided, but first see what your child comes up with.
Early Childhood 2-5 years old:
- What were Simon Peter and Andrew doing when Jesus saw them? (fishing)
- What did Jesus say to them? (“Follow Me, and I will teach you to fish for people.”)
- Who were the other fishermen Jesus saw fixing their nets before Jesus called them? (James and John)
- What was Matthew’s job? (He was a tax collector.)
- What was the special job Jesus gave His disciples? (work with Jesus and tell others about Him)
- Why did Jesus become human? Jesus became human to rescue sinners.
Elementary 1st-5th Grade:
- What did Jesus say He would teach His disciples to do? (fish for people, Matt. 4:19)
- What were some things Jesus’ disciples left behind to follow Him? (nets, boats, family, jobs, and so forth; Matt. 4:20-22; 9:9)
- With whom did Jesus eat and spend His time? (sinners and tax collectors, Matt. 9:10)
- Why does Jesus love sinners? Help kids understand that everyone is a sinner, and Jesus loves all people because we are created in God’s image. Jesus wants to see people repent of sin, turning to God to be saved. He loves sinners and rescues them. He helps us turn away from sin and glorify God instead.
- What might we lose by following Jesus? Guide kids to talk about the cost of loving and obeying Jesus. Help them think about the ways others might react to them, the influence they may lose, or the persecution they may face. Remind the kids that, in some places, following Jesus may even cost a person her life.
- What can we gain by following Jesus? Discuss the unending joy and eternal life we have with God when we have faith in Jesus. Point kids to the hope they have in life: that we gain new purpose, can resist sin, and are filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Point kids also to the hope we have for the future: that Jesus will return and fix all that sin has broken. On that day, we will reign with Christ as children of God.
Activity: Discipleship in the Real World
Direct the kids to sit in a circle. Teach them a simple trick or new skill. This can be anything: making a paper airplane, tying shoes in a new way, whistling, winking, or any other skill you can teach. Work with your kids to learn the skill and talk to them about what makes the skill easy or hard to learn. Challenge them to teach that skill to a friend or sibling.
Say • Those new skills were not super important to know, but the way I taught you to do them is a picture of discipleship. Jesus called disciples to follow Him. As Christians, we can help to train new Christians to follow Jesus, too. We can show what it looks like to love and obey Jesus in all parts of our lives. By talking to people about the difficulties and joys of obeying Jesus—and showing them what that looks like—we can teach them to do the same.