The Great Creator
Sunday School Lesson: Genesis 1
In creation, God has blessed us with a wonderful and amazing world to care for and enjoy. We know that everything around us was made by Him out of His infinite love and wisdom. This lesson reminds us that the Earth did not just randomly spring up out of nowhere or evolve from primordial ooze, but was carefully crafted by our gracious God. When we look at the beauty of His handiwork, it should inspire thanks and awe for what He can do, and for how He has made us, too!
God provides us with all that we need. He has done this from the start of creation by making the world and everything in it. He gave us plants, water, animals, and our own lives! God the Father is maker of Heaven and Earth, and we can remember His glory and greatness whenever we look at His wondrous creation. Although sin has tarnished the design of all things being “good,” we now have the hope of Jesus the Son, who came as Messiah to rescue and redeem us.
Passage: Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade
Materials Needed: Construction paper; decorative supplies; glue; markers or crayons; tape; scissors; paper bags; paper plates; band-aids; doctor tools or first aid kit; Bibles.
Lesson Opening: This Bible lesson reviews how Jesus, while on Earth, often did not behave in the way people thought He might. In the same way, the Lord works in our lives in sometimes strange and unexpected ways today, but takes are of us always. Consider a few simple activities to kick things off:
- Heal it up! In honor of the healings and miracles in this story, kick things off with a round of the classic game “Operation.”
- Doctor relay: Split students into two teams, and have each team select a “patient.” The other team members will take turns running to a bag of first aid equipment and running back to apply to the patient (band-aids, Ace bandage wraps, ointment, etc.). See which team finishes first and has the most “patched-up” patient.
- What did you expect? Play an active game that keeps kids guessing for expectations. Line up two teams back to back, and give simple (or themed) names such as “doctors” and “patients.” Call off one team or the other. The team that is called will chase the other team to a designated line. If caught, students join the opposing team that tagged them.
- What could it be? In a less active guessing game, show students pictures of various items, zoomed in to close-up distance. Have children guess what they think the pictures are before revealing them.
- Who’s at your dinner party? In the first part of this passage, Jesus is criticized for eating with sinners. Have students consider what they would do if they hosted a party for people. Encourage them to identify people (historical, celebrity, or familiar) that they would invite and what they would do. What would it be like to have Jesus at a dinner party?
Explain that this lesson will look at some of the ways Jesus acted while He was alive on Earth, and remind us of the awesome power of God in our lives, even when things don’t turn out quite as we think they should.
This passage is from gospel of Matthew, and describes some of the things that Jesus did as He interacted with other people. The verses could easily be acted out or “mimed”, or you could have students take turns reading. Read the story out loud for younger students.
10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” -Matthew 9:9-13
This first passage might not make a lot of sense right away, but is quite significant. The first thing that happens is that Jesus calls Matthew to follow Him as a disciple. Now, Jesus called several people to be His followers, but the interesting note about Matthew is that he had been a tax collector. Most people did not like tax collectors, who were known for being dishonest and cheating people out of money. Here Jesus was, knowingly and willingly asking one of those men to be a disciple. Matthew followed, though.
Then, Jesus was hanging out with even more tax collectors, and in fact a number of sinners. The Pharisees, who were powerful in the Jewish church (and thought a lot of themselves), criticized this, asking Jesus why He would hang out with those sinful people. Jesus responded that He came for sinners. If everyone was already righteous and perfect, there would be no need for a Messiah! He was sent to seek the lost and care for those in spiritual sickness and need. As it turns out, that’s all of us, because we all sin! Perhaps the Pharisees expected the Savior to be a perfect rule-follower like they tried to be. Jesus didn’t match up to that pre-conceived notion, which is all for the best!
Ask: What would you do if Jesus was coming to your house for dinner? How could you prepare for such a guest?
Have you ever met someone who didn’t turn out as you first expected?
18 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. -Matthew 9:18-19
This encounter shows an interesting contrast between the Pharisees and others. While the religious leaders are concerned with appearances and can’t understand why Jesus would be associated with sinful people, this ruler comes to Jesus with utter confidence that His touch will heal his daughter. He knows that Jesus is powerful and capable of anything, and trusts Him.
Ask: What do you think Jesus will do next?
And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. -Matthew 9:20-22
Here is another great example of faith, and another remarkable reaction of Jesus. We are not sure exactly what medical condition caused this woman’s suffering, but she had been bleeding for twelve years! Not only would this be uncomfortable and inconvenient, but it would render her ceremonially unclean. She wouldn’t have been able to go to church or be in certain places. Her condition was rather private, and she probably hoped that she could secretly and sneakily receive healing by touching Jesus. She was right, and she was healed instantly, but not with the anonymity she had expected. Jesus knew that she touched Him because He could feel power go out of Him at her healing. He publicly addressed her and commended her that her faith made her well, and not any sort of odd superstition or accident. In this case, Jesus did what doctors couldn’t do, and all it took was a touch of His robe.
Ask: If you could have something fixed by touching Jesus, what do you think you would want?
And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, 24 he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went through all that district. -Matthew 9:23-26
Jesus arrives at His destination, the house of the girl who had died. Her father had already told Jesus that she was dead, and by the time He got there, the professional mourners were at work. In those days, people would hire others to cry for them when loved ones died. They may not have even known the deceased person, but could work ups some tears when needed. It’s an interesting custom. When Jesus saw everyone gathered, He informed them that the girl was just sleeping. This drew scoffing laughter, because it seemed quite obvious that she was dead. However, Jesus went inside and took the girl by the hand, and she got up, alive! That probably quieted the laughers pretty quickly. She was alive and well, which did not go unnoticed or ignored among the people of the area. They were amazed at the power of someone who could bring the dead back to life! Little did they know what Jesus had for them later…His reputation was already spreading, though, and people knew that He was a miracle-worker. He didn’t always do things in ways or timings that people might have expected or anticipated. But He always worked to provide what was needed.
Ask: Have you ever prayed for something and seen God answer it in a strange way?
Remind students that Jesus is still in the healing business! He wants to help us and promises to provide us with all that we need. We might not always receive what we think we want, or in the way we think we want it. We might be confused and wonder if God heard our prayers at all…but He always does, and He will take care of us and be with us. Jesus has given us salvation through His death, the greatest gift we could ever ask for! He will provide for us always.
Ask: How can you remember that Jesus is near and faithful?
Close with prayer, thanking God for His power and presence, and asking for trust when things are not as we might expect.