Note that we have separated the worship and Sunday school materials into separate posts to keep things organized. You can find the Sunday morning sermon here.
Family Sunday School Devotion for April 26
Family Lesson- “John Pointed to Jesus” from John 1 and 3
Listen to- “Look to the Lamb of God” from Bible Truth Kids here:
and- “Lamb of God” from the Maranatha Singers here:
Later, after the Bible story, older kids watch- “Day in the Life of a Bush Pilot-Vlog” from MAF here:
Summary- John the Baptist told people to follow Jesus.
Introduction Younger Kid Activity- Follow Directions Game Give children directions to follow, such as: walk to the door, jump three times. Say, “John knew his job was to tell people that the Messiah was coming. That is what God wanted him to do, and John followed God’s directions. God had a different job for His Son, Jesus. John saw that Jesus was following God’s directions, too. Listen to the Bible story to hear what John told his followers about Jesus.”
Introduction Older Kid Activity- Increase of Decrease? Select a kid to think of a number between 1 and 100 (or 1,000 for more of a challenge). Instruct the kid to whisper the number to you, then allow someone else to guess the number. After each guess, the kid who’s thinking of the number will tell if the next guess should increase or decrease to be closer. Play until the number is guessed correctly. Say, “You had to increase or decrease the values or your guesses to get to the correct answer. Today we will learn about a time John told people that Jesus must increase while he decreased. What do you think it means for Jesus to increase?”
Big Picture Question- Say, “Jesus is God the Son, and it is important to understand why God the Son came to earth as a human. That’s our big picture question! Why did Jesus become human? The answer is: Jesus became human to obey His Father’s plan and rescue sinners. God’s perfect plan to rescue sinners required Jesus to be a human to be the perfect sacrifice for sin. Jesus wanted to obey this plan because He loves God and He loves people.”
Bible Story- Timeline Say, “You may remember a few weeks ago that we learned that Jesus obeyed God by being baptized. God announced His love for Jesus, and the Holy Spirit landed on Jesus like a dove. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where Satan tried to trick Jesus and make Him sin. Jesus was tempted and never sinned. He remained perfect and able to be the perfect sacrifice. Today, we will learn about what John the Baptist taught about Jesus when Jesus began traveling around teaching, healing, and baptizing people.” Open a Bible to John 1:29-34; 3:22-36. Either tell the story in your own words from this passage or read aloud from the Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook (the Bible storybook your younger child received from Sunday School) page 198.
Christ Connection- Say, “John the Baptist told people to get ready for Jesus, the promised Messiah. Now that Jesus was on earth, John’s mission was complete. Jesus was greater than John, and John joyfully stepped aside as Jesus began His earthly ministry.”
Key Passage- Open a Bible to John 3:30. Read the verse aloud. Use the following hand motions (or have kids make up their own): “He” (point up towards Heaven), “must increase” (move hands apart), “I” (point to self with both thumbs), “must decrease” (move hands together). Say, “John knew that it was his time to fade into the backdrop, but God was not done with him. Even though John was no longer leading a movement, he was paving the way for us to see what it means to follow Jesus. John was put into prison for standing up for the truth. John discovered that decreasing to increase Jesus comes through being willing to give up everything to follow Jesus. Was it hard? Yes. Was it worth it? Definitely. Through our obedience, God plans to bring life and blessing to those around us. We say with John, ‘I must decrease.’”
Review Questions- Ask the following questions:
- What were Jesus and His disciples doing in the countryside? (John 3:22)
- Why were John’s disciples arguing? (John 3:26)
- What did John want to happen? (John 3:30-31, 35)
- Why is it good to glorify Jesus? (Guide kids to understand that people were created by God to glorify God. Jesus is God the Son. When we glorify Him in our lives, we are fulfilling our purpose, and it is good for us. Everything God does is for His glory and our good, including creating us to worship Him.)
- When is it hard to glorify Jesus? (Discuss situations kids may face that can fill them with pride or arrogance. Explain that sinful pride makes it impossible to glorify Jesus. Remind them that our gifts and talents were given by God as a way to glorify God. When we do well, we can thank God and remind other people about His goodness to bless us with talents and skills.)
- How can we learn to show humility? (Explain that the first step toward humility is understanding who Jesus is. He is God’s beloved Son. He is the Messiah. The story of our lives is ultimately about Him, not any of us. Help kids consider that all people are equally valuable to God as all people are made in His image. None of us are better. All of us are His creation.)
Say, “John the Baptist told people to follow Jesus.”
For Older Kids- Also, ask the following questions:
- Why did John say Jesus must increase and he (John) must decrease? (read Luke 14:11)
- Who deserves fame and glory in our own lives- us or God? (read Matthew 5:16)
- How can we point others to Jesus? (read 1 Peter 3:15)
Reflection- Ask older children to answer one of the following questions:
- What does this story teach me about God or the Gospel?
- What does the story teach me about myself?
- Whom can I tell about this story?
Closing Younger Kid Activity- Guessing Game Describe a doll or stuffed animal by telling what color its hair or clothes are and other identifying details. Read aloud Isaiah 40:30. Say, “This is a Bible verse in the Old Testament- before Jesus was born. And before John was born, but it is a prophecy describing John. You guessed who I was describing! Do you think the people who heard John preach in the wilderness knew that the prophet Isaiah had described John many years before he was born? This verse tells us that John the Baptist had a special job to tell people to get ready for Jesus. John told people to follow Jesus. Then, John described Jesus. What did John say about Jesus? (John called Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.)”
Closing Older Kid Activity- Mission Complete List on a piece of paper 5-10 tasks kids can complete fairly quickly. For example: count how many steps it takes to walk from one side of the room to the other, tell your parent the name of your favorite song, sing the alphabet song, do 20 jumping jacks, recite the key passage (John 3:30), answer the big picture question (Why did Jesus become human? Jesus became human to obey His father’s plan and rescue sinners), high-five each person in the room. When kids have finished all the tasks on the list, have them call out Mission Complete! Say, “Finishing something you worked hard at feels great. John the Baptist told people to follow Jesus. Now that Jesus was there, John’s mission was complete. Jesus was greater than John, and John joyfully stepped aside as Jesus began His earthly ministry. Because we know that Jesus is good, we can find joy in pointing others to Jesus. We don’t need fame or recognition for the things we accomplish. God gives us talents and abilities to point people to Him. We give glory to Jesus because He gave His life to rescue us. Missionaries are people who have been given talents and abilities from God. They choose to give glory to Jesus by using their talents and abilities for God’s work in making disciples around the world. Missionary pilots help missionaries living in faraway places that can’t easily be reached any other way. These pilots bring supplies and help people travel to and from small villages to do God’s work. What talents and abilities had God given you that you can use for His work- to glorify Him?” Watch youtube video “Day in the Life of a Bush Pilot- Vlog” (see above)
Pray- Thank God for the gift of salvation, which we can receive when we turn away from our sin and turn to Jesus. Pray also for missionary pilots who fly to places all around the world to support God’s work in disciple-making.
Adult Sunday School Devotion for April 26
Adult Lesson- “John Points to Jesus” from John 1 and 3
Listen to- “Lamb of God” from Twila Paris here:
and- “Wonderful Merciful Savior” from Selah here:
Summary- John humbly pointed others to Jesus, the One who laid down His life to give life to those who believe.
Christ Connection- John the Baptist said he wasn’t the groom; he was the friend of the groom. As the friend, it was his responsibility to decrease in stature and take joy in the groom’s wedding. Jesus is the groom from above who came to give His life for His bride- those who receive His Word and believe in Him.
Application- Because we have experienced the goodness of Jesus, we find joy in pointing others not to ourselves or to our accomplishments but to the soul-satisfying, self-giving Savior.
Point 1. Jesus is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world (read aloud John 1:29-34).
Note- The people to whom John was preaching were very familiar with the role that sheep played in the temporary atonement for their sin. With every sacrifice, the people were reminded that the punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). Each family unit was required to offer sacrifices to atone for their sin (Leviticus 1-7). But, each payment was temporary, and the sacrifices had to be made over and over again (Hebrews 10:1-4), that is, until Jesus’ sacrifice. Whereas the Old Testament sacrifices were temporary and incomplete, Jesus was the perfect Lamb of God who bore, in His death, the totality of the penalty of sin, offering a permanent solution to the punishment for and reality of sin (Hebrews 10:1-4, 11-14). As a result, we no longer have to offer regular sacrifices to atone for our sins. Jesus took care of all of it on our behalf. This gift of the Gospel is one that we could never earn or deserve, and yet, we have the privilege of receiving it by faith in Jesus.
Respond- How does the Old Testament sacrificial system help us understand the penalty of sin and the necessity of Jesus’ death?
Note- Before we were in Christ by faith, sin left us legally condemned before God, spiritually trapped in a state of both guilt and death. The Old Testament sacrifices did not have the power to change hearts or to permanently remove the penalty and the power of sin. But Jesus, as the perfect Lamb of God, removed both through His crucifixion and resurrection. Because of our union with the risen Christ and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, sin’s penalty and power are gone. There is no condemnation for we who are in Christ Jesus’ we have received a new course of life in Christ, enabling ;us to walk by the Spirit through His power that now lives within us (Romans 8:1-4).
Point 2. Jesus is the Groom who prompts great rejoicing in His friends (read aloud John 3:25-30).
Note- John’s disciples were confused. They were concerned with John’s popularity decreasing because they saw Jesus as competition. They were concerned that their influence would decrease as people flocked to Jesus instead of to John. They did not yet recognize who Jesus was. But John did. John knew that he didn’t have the power to bring ultimate joy and satisfaction to people; he couldn’t save people from their sin; but he could point to the One who can. As with John the Baptist, the same holds true for us: When we recognize who Jesus is, it gives us clarity about our identity and our role in His story.
Respond- What are some reasons we may struggle to make much of Christ and less or ourselves?
Note- For our hearts to remain in a posture of humility where we delight to decrease so that Jesus can increase, we must stay in a posture of worship. We must stay in a place where we recognize the true blessings found in the Gospel, which will lead us to rejoice when others also experience the blessings of the Gospel and join the Church- the bride of Christ- as we await the return of the Groom.
Point 3. Jesus is the Son who gives eternal life to those who believe (read aloud John 3:31-36).
Note- As Christians, we should take time to recognize what we have been saved from in embracing what we have been saved to– there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). For the believer, God’s wrath fell upon Jesus on the cross; all that remains now is the love and grace of God in the gift of eternal life with Him forever. As we share the Gospel with others, our heart’s motivation should be just like Jesus’ when He came to earth the first time- to offer life, not condemnation (John 3:16-18). We must not get caught up with talking about everything God condemns and fail to talk about what it is that God is giving us in the Gospel- eternal life.
Respond- Why must we communicate that hearing the Gospel comes with the need for a response?
Note- While it’s tempting for us to think about the issue of eternal judgment in hell as if it were gray, it is not. To be fair, there are many issues we encounter in life that are gray, fuzzy, and unclear, but the fate of those who reject Jesus throughout the entirety of their lives is not one of them. The eternal life we receive through Christ is an abundant life, both here in this life and in the one to come (John 10:10). But the opposite is true for those without Christ. Unbelievers will receive the fullness of God’s wrath against sin in eternal judgement, and that forever in hell, which is described as a lake of fire and the second death (Revelation 20:10-15).
Conclusion- Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah, the perfect Lamb of God, came to take away the sin of the world, removing both the penalty and power of sin. John the Baptist was deeply aware that he did not hold the power to offer such a gift to others and rejoiced at every opportunity he had to point others to Christ and the eternal life that can only be found through Him. Whoever rejects Jesus will not see life and already has God’s wrath abiding on him, but whoever believes in Jesus already has eternal life and gets to share in the great privilege of pointing others to Christ and the abundant life He offers.
Apply- Because we have experienced the goodness of Jesus, we find joy in pointing others not to ourselves or to our accomplishments but to the soul-satisfying, self-giving Savior.
-How will you respond in faith to Jesus- the Son of God, the Lamb of God, the Groom who gave His life for His Church?
-What are some ways your family can decrease so Jesus can increase among you and in your community?
-How will you point others to Christ with a posture of joy and humility this week?