Who are you? How do others know you love Jesus? It’s important for our lives to show evidence of our faith, and for others to see Christ’s love in what we say and do. We want the Holy Spirit to be active and alive in us. As Christians, we should be so excited and thankful for how Jesus changes our lives that we want to share His love with those around us. We follow His commandments by caring for others and demonstrating the love of Jesus. Use this lesson to communicate the comforting truths Jesus told His disciples in John 14.
Jesus tells His disciples (and us) that if we love Him, we will obey His commandments. But this doesn’t mean that we have to do certain things in order to be Christians, or that our actions will make God love us any more or less. The greatest commandment He gave was to love God and love others. Knowing that Jesus has loved us and sacrificed for us should naturally result in a desire to care for others and demonstrate God’s love for them. We pass along the great love He generously bestows, and His spirit lives within us!
Love out Loud! Sunday School Lesson: Sharing the Love of Jesus
Passage: John 14:15-31
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade
Materials Needed: Construction paper; glue; markers or crayons; tape; scissors; decorative supplies; paper plates; pictures of people in various jobs; pipe cleaners; beads; Bibles.
Lesson Opening: This lesson focuses on how the Holy Spirit can be seen in our daily lives as Christians, and others will know we love the Lord by the “fruit” of our actions. Start the lesson by encouraging children to consider what love looks like, or use the spiritual fruit connection to work fruit into the conversation. Consider a few simple activities to kick things off:
See the full Sunday School Lesson on John 14:15-31
- “Fruit of the Spirit Basket Upset”: Play this traditional game with a slight twist. Arrange children in a circle. Assign students traits according to the elements described in the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control). There should be two students who have the same trait for each word. Call out one or two words and have everyone assigned them get up and switch places in the circle. There should be one less chair (or spot) than there are students, so the student who winds up without a spot will go to the center and call the next word or words. If “spiritual fruit basket” is called, all students will switch places.
- What’s that fruit? Look at several pictures of trees or plants, and try to identify what type of fruit grows on them. Discuss how these are fruits we eat, but our lives can be sort of like fruit-bearing trees when we are living out God’s love with others.
- Who does what? Match different job occupations to images depicting uniforms or identifying traits that would go with the job. Describe how we might identify ourselves in various ways. The most important identification is who we are in Jesus!
- How can we show love? Describe situations or show pictures of people in need of care. Brainstorm with students ways that they could demonstrate love in each situation.
Today’s passage reminds us of the importance of demonstrating Christ’s love to those around us. It also comforts us with the knowledge of how Jesus loves us and gave us the Holy Spirit!
This passage is the second part of a wonderful conversation that Jesus has with His disciples before His death. He wanted to comfort them with the promise of the Holy Spirit, and also encourage them to share His love with others. His followers needed a little explanation to understand His words, and students likely will, as well. Take turns reading verses, or read them out loud for younger children.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
There are two key things Jesus says here. First, He advises that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. The most important commandment Jesus gave was to love God and love one another! So by showing love to others, we are also demonstrating Christ’s love in us, and showing how thankful we are for His love. Jesus also promises here to send a Helper. This is the Holy Spirit, who gives comfort and peace and ability to do great things in His name.
Ask: How can we show love to other people?
What are some things that bring comfort to you in hard times?
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” -John 14:18-21
Jesus said this to give the disciples extra hope, but it gives us hope as well. We did not see the Savior during His earthly life, but He promises here that He is still with us, and that we can carry on His work when we love Him and love others. God loves us, so that we can pass that love to those around us and demonstrate how Jesus lived and served others. He has not left us, but is still with us now, even though we don’t see Him!
*Note: this may be tough for younger students to understand. Explain the concept similar to a loved one going on a trip and leaving a reminder or calling on the phone daily.
Ask: What do you love about Jesus? How is God like a loving Father?
Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. -John 14:22-24
It’s worth noting here that God’s love is unconditional. This does not indicate that He somehow loves us more if we do certain things or live a certain way. But it pleases Him when we obey Him and show that we love Him, too. Jesus is also indicating how He is one with the Father. The Trinity can be a tricky concept to tackle, but here Jesus is offering a connection with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Separate, but still one.
Ask: How can we keep God’s Word and commandments?
“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
This is an especially comforting and hopeful statement. Jesus promises His peace. There are many things in this life that will trouble and challenge us. We might search for comfort and hope on our own, but Jesus gives us a much better kind of peace. His comfort and joy are richer and greater than anything manmade. Jesus promises His disciples that He will send a Helper, and He gives that same helper to us. His peace is always there for us.
You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
Jesus again gives His followers an assurance. He is going away, yes, but not forever. He is going to the Father, ultimately to prepare a place for us in Heaven. Jesus loves the Father, and He also loves us! So we can love Jesus and rejoice that He will come again some day.
Ask: What would you take with you on a trip if you needed something comforting? What can you do to remember that Jesus is always with you?
Close with prayer, thanking God for giving us Jesus and helping us to love others.