Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to encourage kids to believe in Jesus for themselves.
Needed: Bibles, a large rock, a church figurine or picture (I used a Christmas ornament of a church), playing cards, a tray of sand and a tray of rocks for each student, drawing paper, crayons or colored pencils
Intro Activity: Christian Story Interview
Have students pair up and ask each other the following questions. They’ll then present their partner’s answers as a reporter. They can write the answers down if they want.
What is your name?
When did you first hear about Jesus?
Who first told you about Jesus?
Who helps you to believe in Jesus the most?
How do they help you believe in Jesus?
What does Jesus mean to you?
Ask students, Why do you come to church?
When you come to church, what do you think is the most important thing for Christians to believe?
(Read Matthew 16:13-14.)
“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’
“They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’”
Can you believe that? Some people thought Jesus was John the Baptist or one of the old prophets coming back to life.
(Read Matthew 16:15-16.)
“’But what about you?” He asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’
Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’”
Why did Jesus ask His disciples who they thought He was?
Jesus didn’t want His disciples to just listen to what other people said about Him. Jesus knows that we all have to decide who we think Jesus is for ourselves.
We can’t come to church and be Christians just because our parents or grandparents want us to. And we can’t believe in Jesus just because other people believe in Him. We have to believe in Jesus because we want to believe in Jesus for ourselves.
Who did Peter say Jesus was? (The Messiah, the Son of God.)
(Read Matthew 16:17-18.)
“Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
Jesus said that He would build His church on the rock.
(Show students your rock with the church sitting on it.)
The rock is Peter and His belief that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. That’s the most important thing we have to believe about Jesus: that He’s God’s Son and that He came to save us. That’s the first thing and the most important thing that the church has to believe, so that goes on the bottom and holds the rest of the church up.
So, remember, you have to decide to believe in Jesus for yourself and not just listen to what other people say about Him or believe in Him because other people do. And the most important thing to believe is that Jesus is God’s Son and that He came to save us.
Game: Sand vs. Stone
Give each student a tray full of sand and a tray full of rocks. Then, give each student 10 playing cards to build two card churches out of. They’ll use five cards to build a church on the sand and five cards to build a church on the rocks.
When they’re finished, have them gently blow on the side of each church. If either one of their churches stand, give them a point. You can have many winners in this game.
Remind students that believing in Jesus is the foundation that we build the church on.
Craft: Laying the Foundation
Give students drawing supplies and have them draw a picture of their church sitting on a large rock. Tell the students to label the rock, “Jesus is God’s Son, the Messiah (or Savior).”
Jesus, we thank You for coming to save us. We pray that You’ll help all of us to believe in You for ourselves. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, The Parables and Teachings of Jesus Vol. 2.