This is an introductory lesson for a series for preschoolers on knowing Jesus through the book of Mark. Be sure to read the series introduction for more explanation and links to the other lessons.
To begin these Bible lessons, we actually start with a passage from Isaiah that will help to interpret Mark. This lesson will allow you to teach the children why Jesus needed to come to earth and help them understand that Jesus is God.
It outlines three of the four basic points of the Gospel: God is holy, man is sinful, Jesus is the answer. This lesson covers important truth about God and about us as humans. It may be difficult for the preschoolers to understand and difficult to teach. Not everything is included (it’s hard to cover everything involved in God’s plan of redemption!), but as the series progresses, children will hopefully begin to understand more and more who Jesus is and our need for Him as the Redeemer.
Bible Passage: Isaiah 7:14; 9:1-7; Matthew 1:22-23
Bible Lesson Title: Knowing Jesus as Immanuel
Target Age Group: 4-5 years old (U.S. preschool & Kindergarten)
Target Time Frame: 30 minutes
Original Teaching Context: Preschool Sunday School
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Introductory Lesson: Knowing Jesus as Immanuel (30 mins)
Scripture: Isaiah 7:14; 9:1-7; Matthew 1:22-23
Cognitive Aim: Preschoolers will begin to understand why Jesus came to earth and will know He is God.
Affective Aim: Preschoolers will feel the nearness of God.
Behavioral Aim: Preschoolers will praise God through song and memorize Ephesians 2:13
Memory Verse: “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13
- Kindle Curiosity (5 minutes) Description: Preschoolers try to wash stains out of clothes; Supplies: heavily stained cloths or clothes, tubs of water, methods of cleaning (scrubs, soaps, etc.)
- God Revealed (10 minutes) Description: Learn about why Jesus had to come and who He is; Supplies: soft blanket, Bible
- Personal Pursuit (10 minutes) Description: Discover the meaning of Immanuel; Supplies: Bible, each child’s name written on a sheet of paper with the meaning on the back. Hide them throughout the classroom.
- Daily Knowing (7 minutes) Description: Memorize Ephesians 2:13, praise God through song (optional); Supplies: notecards with memory verse written for parents, computer or CD with song “You Are” by Mark Roach (optional)
1. Kindle Curiosity (5 minutes)
Have stained cloths and tubs of water with towels underneath ready for the children on a table.
State: Oh my! Someone left all of these dirty cloths out! Would you please help me wash them?
As they attempt to wash the cloths, continue to offer different methods of cleaning, such as using a sponge to scrub, using different types of soap, etc.
As they are finishing up, state: Today we are going to learn how our hearts can become dirty and stained just like these cloths and there is nothing we can do to get the stains off. But, I know someone who can make our hearts clean again, and I want to tell you all about Him!
2. God Revealed (10 minutes)
State: Let’s go over to my blanket and get ready to hear something very special. Everything I am about to say comes from the Bible (hold it up). The Bible is God’s Word. He wrote it, so we know everything in it is true. Turn on your listening ears and turn off you mouths so I know you are ready to hear this important truth. Are you ready? (The following paragraphs are very important, but may be difficult for the preschoolers to follow. Speak slowly and emphatically. If they have a question, be sure to answer them.)
State: God is perfect. He is holy. We are not perfect or holy. God gave us a set of commands to obey to help us follow Him and honor Him, but we could not keep these rules because we are not perfect. What types of rules do you have trouble obeying at home? (Give time for answers; if they have trouble, help them think of possibilities.)
State: When you do not obey at home, sometimes you are punished or get privileges taken away. When we do not keep God’s commands, it is called sin. All of us sin because it is impossible for us to obey all of God’s commands all of the time. Do you ever have a day where you never do anything wrong? I know I don’t! When we sin, our hearts become dirty and stained. There is nothing we can do to make them clean, just like we couldn’t get the stains out of the cloths we tried to wash. This is part of our punishment for our sin.
State: Not only do our hearts become stained with sin, but our sin also separates us from God, makes us far away from Him. A very long time ago, before anyone you know was born, God promised His people that the Messiah would come, a perfect King who would rule forever with justice, truth, and mercy. The Messiah would make it possible for us to not be separated from God anymore. He would allow us to be close to God again. He would be the only one who could make our hearts clean from sin. This promise is in the Bible, in the first half called the Old Testament.
State: God kept His promise; He had a special plan. God’s special plan was to come down to earth as a human, born as a baby just like you and I. This baby would grow up and die for us. His name is Jesus Christ. He is the Messiah, the one who God promised would come. He has many different names, and the names of Jesus help us to know more about who He is. We will learn one of Jesus’ special names today.
3. Personal Pursuit (10 minutes)
(Have a list of the names of the children in your class and their meaning. For example, my name is Kara; Kara means pure.)
State: Before I tell you Jesus’ special name, we have a game to play! I have hidden your names all throughout the room. It is your job to find your name and then come and sit back down. Ready…set…go!
State: Sometimes moms and dads name their children names that have a special meaning to them. Today we are going to see what your names mean! Would you like to do that? Okay, then everyone turn over your paper and let’s see what’s on the back!
Hold up each child’s name and read the back out loud to the class. For example, “Kara. Kara’s name means pure. That is a very special name. Aaron. Aaron’s name means…That is a very special name…”
State: Who is ready to learn Jesus’ special name? (Hold up the paper with “Immanuel” written on it.) Does anyone recognize this letter? (point to the ‘I’). This is an ‘I’. Jesus’ special name is Immanuel. Immanuel means God with us. God gave us this special name for Jesus so we would know He was God with us on earth. Jesus is Immanuel. Can you say it with me? Immanuel. God with us. Immanuel. God with us.
State: Before Jesus was even born, God told Isaiah to tell His people about a sign that would let them know the Messiah had come. Isaiah said, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”
Ask: What does Immanuel mean?! God with us! Because of Jesus, we can pray to God whenever we want. He is always near. Let’s pray together and thank God for coming down to earth so that He could always be near to us.
4. Daily Knowing (7 minutes)
State: We have spent a lot of time listening today, and I am very proud of you. Let’s all stand up and get our wiggles out! (Allow them some time to stretch out and wiggle and then transition into a time of Scripture memory).
State: Today we are going to memorize Ephesians 2:13 to help us remember that Jesus allows us to be close to God again. Remember, it is important for us to learn God’s word because that is how we come to know Him more. Today we have come to know that Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. Let’s see if we can think of some hand motions for Ephesians 2:13, “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Make sure you review with them the next week or when you have encounters during the week one-on-one.
Encourage them to share this verse with their parents when they pick them up so their parents will be able to help them practice at home. Provide each parent with a notecard that has Ephesians 2:13 written on it. If some children do not have parents who are believers, make a special effort to encourage them every time you see them in their scripture memorization and pursuit of God.
If there is time, the following is a beautiful worship song that declares who Jesus is. This song will be one that can be sung over the following weeks in praise to God as we learn who Jesus is through the book of Mark. Feel free to do it at the beginning of the lesson or at the end. You may just want to learn the chorus and teach them yourself. The entire song will take them a while to learn.
You Are by Mark Roach
You are holy, you are faithful; You are Savior, you are friend; You are all I’ll ever need, Lord, you are.
You are ev’ry questions’ answer; You are ev’ry reason why; You are moving, you are still, Lord, you are.
Chorus: You are the Lord on high; You are the way, the truth, the life; You are the Word made flesh; You are the bright Morning Star; You are.
You are Glory Hallelujah; You are hope of peace on earth; You are Alpha and Omega, you are.
You are comfort, you are refuge; You are love personified; You are kindness and compassion, you are.
You are my God and my King; You are the words that I sing; You are the reason I make this offering. (Repeat twice)
Copyright © 2005 Mark Roach.
Need More Ideas? Check out our series titled Preschoolers Knowing God or Jesus is My Good Shepherd lessons.