Jesus Welcomes Little ChildrenMatthew 19:13-15, 1 hour & 20 minutes, targeted at grades 1-5
This week in SojournKids, we will study Matthew 19:13-15, and we will learn that:
- Jesus’ said, “Let the little children come to me.”
- Jesus loves and welcomes little children.
- Jesus gives his kingdom to needy people who cry out to him.
People brought little children to Jesus for a blessing, but the disciples said, “Stop.” They thought that Jesus was too busy for little children. But Jesus loves and welcomes little children. He said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them.”
Jesus taught the disciples, “The kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are like these children.” Little children know that they need help. They cry out for help with all kinds of things—eating, getting dressed, walking across a street. Jesus wants all people to be needy like children. He wants all people to cry out for him.
Assembly (15 minutes):
Act out the story while reading it. Have one child act like Jesus. Some act like the disciples. Some like little children (sucking thumbs). Some like the parents of the little ones.
The Story: Jesus Welcomes Little Children (15 minutes) Adapted from Catherine Vos, The Child’s Story Bible, (Eerdmans, 1935, 1967), page 304
Some of the people who listened eagerly to Jesus wanted him to bless their children. They knew that Jesus was important. They knew that he was a great teacher, and some thought that he was a prophet sent from God. Some may have even thought that he was the Messiah Christ—the Savior King come to rescue the Jewish people from their Roman rulers. “It will be beautiful,” they thought. “Our children will remember all their lives that the Savior has blessed them.” So they brought their little ones to Jesus for a blessing.
The disciples saw the people coming. They thought Jesus was too busy to bother with little children. “You shouldn’t bring your children here,” they objected. “Can’t you see that the Lord is very busy? He doesn’t have time to talk to children.”
Jesus had seen the mothers with their little ones. He was not happy that the disciples were sending the children away. He kindly called the people back, and he spoke sternly to his disciples, “Let the little children come to me,” he said. “Do not stop them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are just like these children.”
Jesus knew that little children do take time. They cry and need lots of help. But Jesus also knew that everyone needs his help, and Jesus is never too busy to offer grace to those who have needs. In fact, he gives his kingdom to the needy people who cry out for him—to people who cry out just like children cry. So, Jesus took the little children in his arms. Then, he placed his hands on their heads, and he blessed them.
The people went home happy. They never forgot the day when the Savior King placed his hands on their children’s head and spoke a blessing.
Small Group Questions (During Snack/Coloring Sheet--15 minutes)
- If Jesus came to your school or our church, who would he hang out with? Would he hang out with the same people that we hang out with? (We gravitate toward the most athletic, smartest, or best dressed people. But Jesus goes to those who are needy. He goes to the least)
- Why does Jesus go to needy people who cry like little babies? (Because He is the Savior. He came to save the sick and needy. He did not come for the righteous but sinners.)
Prayer (5 minutes)
Take prayer requests. Pray for them, then pray, "Father, help us to see how much we need your Son Jesus. Help us to always cry out to him for help."
Games / Object Lessons (30 minutes)
1. Red Light, Green Light—The disciples said stop, but Jesus said, “Let them come.”
- Play red light, green light. For stop say, “The disciples said stop.” For green light, have all of the kids say Matthew 19:14 together: “But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
2. In God’s Image – One reason why Jesus let the children come to him is because they are made in the image of God too.
- Have several pictures and tracing paper. Let the children try to trace some of these pictures. Their tracings will be “in the image” of the original, but not perfect. This represents how we are created in the image of God, but yet are not just like him.
3. Love Little Children like Jesus did.
- Take a field trip to the baby class. Don’t let the kids actually touch the babies, but as a class pray for the babies like Jesus did. Pray that the babies will grow up to love Jesus!
4. The first shall be last
- This passage is right in the middle of several passages that are about how Jesus’s kingdom works differently than our world. In our world – the strongest, smartest, fastest, and most attractive are first. But in Jesus’s Kingdom, the weak, small, and insignificant are placed first. Show the kids this by having them line up from oldest to youngest for snack and then giving them snack in the opposite order.