Unit 29, Session 2: Jesus Was Born

Do you think it was just by chance that Caesar Augustus called for a census? Did it just so happen that Mary and Joseph were traveling to Bethlehem—the very place the Messiah was prophesied to be born? (Micah 5:2) God is in control of all things, which He showed by using a pagan emperor to bring about His plan.

After Jesus was born, Mary laid Him in a manger. A king in a manger! It was so unlikely. But Jesus was no ordinary baby. He was God’s Son, sent in the most humble of positions, “not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).

Imagine the shepherds’ surprise when an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared. The Bible says that they were terrified! But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David” (Luke 2:10-11).

What a relief! This angel had come to bring good news. First, he proclaimed a Savior. The people of Israel were well aware of their need for a Savior. They made sacrifices daily to atone for their sin. Finally, a Savior had come who would be the perfect sacrifice for sin, once and for all.

Jesus was also Messiah the Lord. The word Messiah means “anointed one,” especially a king. The Deliverer and Redeemer would be King over His people. And this was all happening in Bethlehem, the city of David—just as the prophet Micah said.

This is the best news ever! An army of angels appeared, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors” (Luke 2:14). The purpose of Jesus’ birth was twofold: to bring glory to God and to make peace between God and those who trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The birth of Jesus was good news! Jesus was not an ordinary baby. He was God’s Son, sent to earth from heaven. Jesus came into the world to save people from their sins and to be their King..

FAMILY STARTING POINTS

2’s
○ Jesus was born.
○ Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
○ Jesus is God’s Son.
○ God sent Jesus to earth because He loves us.

3-5’s
○ Why was Jesus born? Jesus was born to rescue us.
○ Jesus was born as God promised.

6-8’s
○ Why was Jesus born? Jesus was born to rescue us from sin.
○ Jesus was born to be God’s promised Savior.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE
1 John 4:9

NEXT WEEK
● “Stephen’s Address” (Acts 6:8–7:60)

Unit 29, Session 1: Angels Spoke to Mary and Joseph

People had been waiting a long time for Jesus. God hinted at His coming in the garden of Eden when He promised a seed to conquer the serpent. (Gen. 3:15) The prophets told of His coming hundreds of years before His birth. God was working out His plan to bring His people back to Himself.

In the Bible, God sometimes used angels to communicate His message to people. Angels spoke to Abraham in Genesis 18. The Angel of the Lord spoke to Balaam in Numbers 22. Now Mary and Joseph, the earthly parents of Jesus, each received a special visit from an angel to announce the birth of God’s promised Messiah.

The angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary surprised her. By His grace, God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus. The angel’s message revealed much about this promised child.

First, He would be great in both being and nature. He would be the Son of the Most High. Jesus is the Son of God, and the Lord God promised to give Him the throne of His father David. These words fulfilled the prophecy given to David in 2 Samuel 7:12-16. He would reign over the house of Jacob forever. His kingdom would have no end.

The good news that Jesus was coming into the world was good news because of why He was coming. An angel revealed Jesus’ purpose to Joseph in Matthew 1:21, “He will save His people from their sins.” The gospel is the good news of what God has done for us through Christ.

The announcement of Jesus’ birth is not the beginning of the gospel; God had been planning for this moment since before the beginning of time. (See Eph. 1:3-10.) Help your kids understand that God’s plan has always been to save sinners and bring them back to Himself. Jesus, whose name means “Yahweh saves,” is the culmination of that plan.

The baby Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy, as well as other Old Testament prophecies, about the coming Savior. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus fulfilled God’s plan of redemption that God planned before the world began.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS

2’s
○ Jesus was born.
○ God promised to send Jesus to earth.
○ God chose Mary and Joseph to be Jesus’ family.
○ Jesus is God’s Son.

3-5’s
○ Why was Jesus born? Jesus was born to rescue us.
○ God chose a family for Jesus.

 6-8’s
○ Why was Jesus born? Jesus was born to rescue us from sin.
○ God chose Mary and Joseph to be Jesus’ earthly parents.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE
1 John 4:9

NEXT WEEK
“Jesus Was Born” (Luke 2:1-20)

Unit 28, Session 2: Peter Healed a Beggar

With the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Jesus’ disciples were empowered to carrying out Jesus’ mission for them—to take the gospel to all the nations. More and more people believed in Jesus. They met together at the temple to praise and worship God, and the first church began.

One afternoon, two of Jesus’ disciples—Peter and John—went to the temple to pray. They encountered at the gate a man who could not walk. Rather than give the man money, Peter gave him something much more valuable: immediate physical healing in Jesus’ name.

After Jesus returned to heaven, the Holy Spirit gave the disciples power to begin working. With the power of Jesus’ name, Peter healed a man who was lame. Not even the religious leaders could stop Jesus’ followers from sharing the good news about Jesus.

As you talk with your kids about this Bible story, keep three things in mind. First, Peter’s healing the beggar was not magic; it was a miracle. Beginning in Acts 3:12, Peter responded to the people who were amazed at what had happened. “Why are you amazed at this … as though we had made him walk by our own power?” The man wasn’t healed because Peter was a super-believer. Peter explained that it was by Jesus’ power the man was healed.

Second, the man’s healing made him happy and thankful. He entered the temple and rejoiced! Consider the wonderful miracle of salvation. We are dead in our sin, and God makes us alive in Christ! How we should rejoice and give thanks to the Lord!

Finally, Peter and John were bold in their witness. When confronted by the religious leaders, they did not shy away. Peter and John preached about the salvation found in Jesus. In fact, they said they were “unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

The same power that enabled Peter to heal the man who was lame—the power of the Holy Spirit—enables believers today to live on mission for Jesus. Pray that God would give your kids a willingness to be used by Him for His glory and for the fame of Jesus’ name.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS

2’s
○ The Holy Spirit helps us.
○ Peter and John went to the temple.
○ They healed a man in Jesus’ name.
○ Only Jesus rescues and heals people.

3-5’s
○ What does the Holy Spirit do? The Holy Spirit helps Christians.
○ In Jesus’ name, Peter healed a man.

6-8’s
○ What does the Holy Spirit do? The Holy Spirit helps Christians follow Jesus.
○ In Jesus’ name, Peter healed a man who could not walk.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE
Philippians 2:13

NEXT WEEK
● “CHRISTMAS: Angels Spoke to Mary and Joseph” (Luke 1:26-56; Matthew 1:18-24)

Unit 28, Session 1: The Holy Spirit Came

When Jesus ascended to heaven, He instructed the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come upon them. So the disciples went back to Jerusalem, where they waited and prayed.

The time came for the Jewish festival called Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks. As with the Passover festival, Jews from all over the Roman Empire would be at the temple in Jerusalem.

During this festival, the Holy Spirit came to believers in Jerusalem. They heard a sound like a violent, rushing wind. When the Holy Spirit filled the disciples, they were able to speak in foreign languages. They went out into the city and began to preach, and the Jews from all over the world were amazed. These disciples were from Galilee, but they were speaking in languages the visitors could understand.

The disciples told people about God’s plan. The Holy Spirit helped Peter teach: Jesus is the Messiah; Jesus was killed, but He is alive! (Acts 2:22-36) The Holy Spirit convicted the crowd and they asked, “Brothers, what must we do?” Peter told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus. (Acts 2:37-38) That day, three thousand people received salvation!

God kept His promise to send the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit’s help, Jesus’ disciples could begin their work to share the gospel with the entire world. God gives the Holy Spirit to those who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit gives us power to do God’s work, and He changes us to be more like Jesus.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS

2’s
○ The Holy Spirit helps us.
○ God sent the Holy Spirit to Jesus’ friends.
○ Jesus’ friends told people about God’s plan.
○ People who trust in Jesus receive the Holy Spirit.

3-5’s
○ What does the Holy Spirit do? The Holy Spirit helps Christians.
○ The Holy Spirit came to Jesus’ followers.

6-8’s
○ What does the Holy Spirit do? The Holy Spirit helps Christians follow Jesus.
○ The Holy Spirit came to the apostles on the Day of Pentecost.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE
Philippians 2:13

NEXT WEEK
“Peter Healed a Beggar” (Acts 3:1-10; 4:5-31)

Unit 27, Session 6: A Song of Thanksgiving

Picture the reality of your salvation: Imagine standing as a defendant in a courtroom. You’ve been justly found guilty of a crime and the penalty is death. But rather than ordering law enforcement to lead you away to be executed, the judge gets up and takes your place. He takes your punishment upon himself, declaring your innocence and allowing you to walk free. How would you respond?

This is essentially what Jesus does for sinners who trust in Him. God is the Judge, and rather than sentencing us to death like we deserve, the Father sent His Son to take our place. That is mercy and grace. So how should we respond?

Look at how Moses and the Israelites responded when God rescued them from Egypt and led them across the Red Sea. Exodus 15 describes their song. They praised the Lord and told what He had done for them. This same attitude of thankfulness—the proper response to the good news of the gospel—is described in the Old Testament by the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah had a vision of God’s grace toward sinners, and he describes in Isaiah 12 the song we will sing to the Lord. We will praise God for His mercy and compassion (Isa. 12:1-2), thank Him for keeping His promise to save us (vv. 3-4), and tell of His glory and greatness among the nations (vv. 5-6).

Isaiah looked forward to the day when God’s words would come true—God would bless His people, and they would be thankful and tell everyone about Him. By sending His Son, God kept His promise to save people from sin. Jesus died on the cross and rose again. Those who trust in Him rejoice and are saved.

Once we experience salvation, we don’t sit back and cruise through the Christian life. Salvation is a call to action. Out of thankfulness for the Lord, we can love others like Jesus (1 John 4:10-12) and share with the world the good news of the gospel (Matt. 28:19-20; John 14:15). Guide your kids to recognize that every good gift comes from God (Jas. 1:17), and God’s greatest gift to us is His own Son, Jesus. With hearts of gratitude, praise and worship the Lord together.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS

2’s
○ Jesus is alive in heaven.
○ Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.
○ God sent Jesus to rescue us.
○ We can thank God for Jesus.

3-5’s
○ What is our mission? Our mission is to tell others about Jesus.
○ We thank God because Jesus is alive.

6-8’s
○ What is our mission as believers? Our mission as believers is to make disciples of all nations by the power of the Spirit.
○ We are thankful because Jesus died on the cross and rose again to save us from our sins.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (2’s: 1 Corinthians 15:4)

NEXT WEEK
● “The Holy Spirit Came” (Acts 2:1-4,22-27)

Unit 27, Session 5: Jesus Ascended to Heaven

After Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus showed His followers that He is alive. He taught them about Himself and about God’s kingdom. (Luke 24:25-27,44-48) Jesus told them that He would soon return to the Father. (John 20:17)

Jesus directed the Eleven to go a mountain. When they arrived, Jesus appeared. Some of them wondered if Jesus was finally going to overthrow the Roman government and set up His kingdom on earth.

Jesus said, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8).

Jesus told them to remain in Jerusalem until they received the Father’s promise—the Holy Spirit. Those who repented of their sins and trusted in Jesus’ death and resurrection would be baptized by the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:5) The Holy Spirit would give them power to live holy lives and take the gospel to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

After Jesus told the disciples these things, Jesus was taken up into the sky—right in front of their eyes! (Acts 1:9) Suddenly two men stood on the mountain next to the disciples. “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven?” they asked. They said Jesus would return the same way. (Acts 1:11)

 

Jesus is alive in heaven, waiting to return for His people. Jesus told the disciples He was going to prepare a place for them, and when we die, we will be with the Lord. (John 14:1-3)

Jesus left earth and returned to heaven, but He did not leave us alone. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and help us do God’s work. One day Jesus will return to make all things new and to rule as Lord over all.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS

2’s
○ Jesus is alive in heaven.
○ Jesus told His friends to wait for the Holy Spirit.
○ The friends watched Jesus go up into heaven.
○ Jesus will come back one day.

3-5’s
○ What is our mission? Our mission is to tell others about Jesus.
○ Jesus went up to heaven in a cloud.

6-8’s
○ What is our mission as believers? Our mission as believers is to make disciples of all nations by the power of the Spirit.
○ Jesus ascended to heaven in a cloud.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (2’s: 1 Corinthians 15:4)

NEXT WEEK
● “A Song of Thanksgiving” (Isaiah 12)

Unit 27, Session 4: Jesus Gave the Great Commission

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He appeared to His disciples over a 40-day period. At one point, He appeared to more than 500 people. During that time, Jesus taught about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3) Some disciples wondered if Jesus was going to restore the kingdom of Israel. (Acts 1:6)

Jesus had a different plan for the disciples. He directed the Eleven to go to a mountain, where He appeared to them again. They worshiped Him, but some still doubted. (Matt. 28:17) On the mountain, Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission. First, Jesus stated that all authority had been given to Him. Before the resurrection, Jesus had authority as God the Son. Through the resurrection, however, the Father gave Jesus far more than even Satan had promised. (Matt. 4:8-9) Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God subjected everything to His beloved Son. (See Heb. 2:5-9.)

Because of Jesus’ authority, He commanded His disciples to go into the world and preach the gospel, the good news about Him. The Great Commission is not just for missionaries far from home. All believers are called to share the gospel with others, teach them to obey God’s commands, and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus finished His commission with a profound promise: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

Talk to your kids about the importance of living out the Great Commission. Because Jesus has authority over all places and all people at all times, we can take the good news about Jesus to all places and all people at all times. God has given us a mission and gives us power through the Holy Spirit to obey this calling.

The good news about what Jesus has done to rescue us from our sins is too great to keep to ourselves. Before Jesus went back to heaven, He gave the disciples a job to do. Jesus wants His followers to teach people everywhere about Jesus so they will trust in Him as their Lord and Savior.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS

2’s
○ Jesus is alive in heaven.
○ Jesus has power over everything.
○ Jesus gave His friends a job to do on earth.
○ Jesus’ followers tell people everywhere about Him.

3-5’s
○ What is our mission? Our mission is to tell others about Jesus.
○ Jesus gave His friends a mission.

6-8’s
○ What is our mission as believers? Our mission as believers is to make disciples of all nations by the power of the Spirit.
○ Jesus gave the disciples the Great Commission.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (2’s: 1 Corinthians 15:4)

NEXT WEEK
● “Jesus Ascended to Heaven” (Acts 1:4-14)

Unit 27, Session 3: Jesus Forgives and Restores

After Jesus’ resurrection and His appearance to the disciples, seven of the disciples returned to Galilee, near the Sea of Galilee where Jesus had called four of His disciples to be fishers of men. (See Luke 5:1-11.) The disciples went fishing. Perhaps they felt it reasonable to return to the fishing business since their stint as disciples was apparently over—or so they thought!

In Bible times, nighttime was the preferred time for fishing. Fish caught at night could be sold fresh in the morning at market. But by daybreak, the disciples had caught nothing. Jesus stood at the shore, but the disciples did not know it was Him. He called to them, “Men, you don’t have any fish, do you?” (John 21:5). Then He urged them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. They obeyed, and they were unable to haul in the big catch!

John knew right away who He was. “It is the Lord!” John exclaimed. Peter immediately tied his outer garment around him and jumped into the sea, swimming 300 feet to shore. When the other six disciples arrived in the boat, they found Jesus sitting beside a charcoal fire with fish and bread. “Come and have breakfast,” Jesus said. Jesus ate with His disciples; then He turned to Peter.

John 21:15-19 describes Peter’s restoration. The disciple who told Jesus that he would die for Him (Luke 22:31-34) had denied Jesus three times. (Luke 22:54-62) Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Jesus. Each time Peter responded yes, Jesus told Peter to feed His lambs. Jesus restored Peter to ministry.

Emphasize to your kids that Jesus’ plan for the disciples did not end with His death and resurrection.

When Jesus first called the disciples to follow Him, Jesus had promised to make them fishers of men. Instead of catching fish, they would tell people about Jesus. (Luke 5:1-11) The disciples had left Jesus when He was arrested and even denied Him, but Jesus still wanted to use them in God’s plan. Jesus is the Lord who forgives us and makes things right again.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS
2’s
○ Jesus is alive in heaven.
○ Jesus ate fish with His friends.
○ Jesus forgave Peter.
○ Jesus wanted Peter to tell others about Him.
3-5’s
○ What is our mission? Our mission is to tell others about Jesus.
○ Jesus forgave Peter.
6-8’s
○ What is our mission as believers? Our mission as believers is to make disciples of all nations by the power of the Spirit.
○ Jesus forgave Peter and gave him a mission.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (2’s: 1 Corinthians 15:4)

NEXT WEEK
● “Jesus Gave the Great Commission” (Matthew 28:16-20)

Unit 27, Session 2: Jesus and the Doubter

Jesus’ followers had seen Jesus alive! Two disciples met Jesus as they were walking to Emmaus, and then Jesus appeared to a group of His disciples as they met together in a locked room. But one of the disciples, Thomas, had missed out. He wasn’t there when Jesus appeared. He hadn’t seen Jesus for himself.

So despite his friends’ claims that the Lord was risen, Thomas doubted. In fact, he refused to believe. (John 20:25) Witnesses testified that they had seen Jesus, but Thomas wanted physical evidence. He lacked faith and was stubborn in his unbelief.

More than a week passed, and Thomas was with the other disciples in a room. Again, the doors were locked for their safety. Much like before, Jesus appeared before the disciples and said, “Peace be with you.”

This time, Thomas was there. Jesus told Thomas to believe. He urged him not only to look, but to feel Jesus’ wounds for himself. Here, Jesus gave grace to Thomas. He gave Thomas the physical proof he was looking for. Jesus was no ghost; Jesus was alive!

Thomas immediately believed, and Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.” (John 20:29)

Thomas saw Jesus for himself. He saw that Jesus had been raised from the dead and was alive. He saw Jesus’ scars from the cross, where Jesus died for our sins. We have not seen Jesus, but Jesus said if we believe in Him without seeing Him, we are blessed.

The Bible says that God is pleased when we have faith. (Heb. 11:6) As you talk with your kids, explain the meaning of the word faith: “the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Faith is believing without seeing. It is trusting that God is who He says He is, and He will do what He says He will do. (See Num. 23:19.)

Faith cannot be mustered up on your own; it is a gift from God. (Eph. 2:8-9) Pray that God would grant your kids faith to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS

2’s
○ Jesus is alive in heaven.
○ Jesus showed Thomas that He is alive.
○ Thomas believed Jesus is the Lord.
○ We can believe God’s words about Jesus.

 3-5’s
○ What is our mission? Our mission is to tell others about Jesus.
○ Jesus showed His hands and side to Thomas.

6-8’s
○ What is our mission as believers? Our mission as believers is to make disciples of all nations by the power of the Spirit.
○ Jesus showed His hands and side to Thomas.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (2’s: 1 Corinthians 15:4)

NEXT WEEK
● “Jesus Forgives and Restores” (John 21:1-19)

 

Unit 27, Session 1: Jesus Appeared to the Disciples

Only a few days had passed since Jesus was arrested, beaten, and crucified. His followers were undoubtedly afraid and confused. They met together in a house, locking the doors because they were afraid of the Jews. Would the Jews do to them what they had done to Jesus? The disciples had believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but they had abandoned Him and Jesus was killed. How could He save anyone if He was dead?

But now some people were reporting that Jesus was alive! Could it be true? The disciples were talking about these things when Jesus stood among them. They thought they were seeing a ghost.

“Peace to you!” He said. What good news! Imagine how Jesus’ words might have calmed the disciples’ anxious hearts. Their Lord, whom they had deserted, didn’t show up to scold them for their failures or shame them for their lack of faith. He spoke peace to them.

Even though Jesus had foretold His death and resurrection (Matt. 20:17-19), Jesus showed His disciples physical proof that He was alive. He showed them His hands and His side. With His resurrection, Jesus’ mission was accomplished. He paid the debt for sinners, and the transaction cleared. But the disciples’ work was just beginning.

Jesus gave His followers a job to do: “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). This verse contains the Gospel of John’s version of the Great Commission. Jesus, the One sent from the Father, sent the disciples to be His messengers and representatives. Jesus equipped the disciples with the Holy Spirit to proclaim the gospel—the good news of what Jesus has done—to the world.

For 40 days, Jesus presented Himself to at least 500 people and proved that He is alive. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8) Jesus is still alive today. He sends out believers to tell others about Him and gives us power through the Holy Spirit.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS
2’s
○ Jesus is alive in heaven.
○ The friends were hiding in a room.
○ Jesus showed His friends He is alive.
○ Jesus told His friends about God’s plan.

3-5’s
○ What is our mission? Our mission is to tell others about Jesus.
○ Jesus appeared to His friends.
6-8’s
○ What is our mission as believers? Our mission as believers is to make disciples of all nations by the power of the Spirit.
○ Jesus appeared to His disciples.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (2’s: 1 Corinthians 15:4)

NEXT WEEK
● “Jesus and the Doubter” (John 20:24-29)