15 Jan Children’s Thematic Message 2: How Well Do You Know Jesus?
Objectives of the message
To help the children know that the Bible (both the Old and New Testaments) is not a book on morals, history or religions, but it is solely meant to reveal Jesus.
To instill in the children the Truth that they will only know the Holy Spirit correctly, if they know Jesus rightly.
To help the children realize that they have misunderstood who Jesus is by their preconceived mindset, that comes from their background, culture or worldly knowledge.
Through knowing Jesus correctly, they will be set free from accusations due to their weakness. As a result, they will strive towards perfection in the likeness of God.
To help the children realize that good works comes from knowing who Jesus is, and it is not that they must legalistically do good works as Christians.
To instill in the children the love to know more about Jesus in Spirit, and because of that, yearn to read the Bible and pray.
To make the children understand that knowing Jesus will ultimately direct them to walk with God practically in their lives.
Bible Verses to Read and Memorize
Verses to Read:
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. – John 2:1-11
In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. –John 5:17-19
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.” “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.” 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. -Matthew 16:13-17
Verses to Memorize:
Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does”. – John 5:19
Main theme: How Well Do You Know Jesus?
Critical viewpoints to understand about the scripture:
<Jn 2:4>: Why do you involve me? = Testing of Mary. At this moment, Jesus is indirectly asking: “Am I the lord of this banquet, that I should care?” So HE is Lord!
<Jn 5:19>: the Son does only what HE sees his Father doing.We have all fallen short of the glory of God by choosing our own will, making our own choice. Yet Jesus came to restore this image by showing how HE listens to the Father in all things.
<Mt 16:16>: Jesus is the Christ. Christ means the Messiah, the anointed one of God’s People. So Jesus is the anointed Prophet (to show us the way to God), anointed Priest (to pay the price of our sins), and anointed King (to set us free from Satan).
Explaining and Expounding the Scripture
Did Jesus come to show that HE could do miracles or to show that HE is Lord?
Answer: To show that HE is Lord. When Jesus was treated as a guest, there will be lack. Today, when many people or religions treat Jesus as a respected religious figure or a good teacher, they are actually insulting Him, and problems will come upon them. He must be Lord, and we must hand Him our sovereignty, and practically listen to Him. Then the fullness of all blessings will come into our lives (as how the choice wine was then produced).
Why did the Jews resolutely want to kill Jesus?
(1) They were offended when Jesus called God His Father, making Him equal to God
(2) It could also mean that these Jews only worshipped God with their lips, but they did not have a personal relationship with God
(3) The Jews were only living in a religious practice of worshipping God, but they did not acknowledge or listen to God in their lives. Therefore, they’re still living in sins (disobedient), and fall short of the glory of God.
How did most people misunderstand Jesus?
Answer: Identify Him as John the Baptist (A prophet who come only to preach repentance, telling people to turn from sin); Elijah (A prophet who did great awesome miracles, even to the point of commanding rain and fire to come down from heaven); Jeremiah (A prophet who always cry for his people, someone full of love and compassion). Now, does Jesus have all these? Yes! But HE is more than these. He is one who truly bears His people’s sins, does supernatural transformation in the hearts of men, and gives the Holy Spirit to His people, such that they can be like Him in all His ways. He is Christ, the only true savior, the one who solves the most fundamental (spiritual) problem of mankind.
How did Peter know Jesus is the Christ? By his smartness/ferventness?
(1) Neither. It is given Peter by Grace (made known to him by God the Father who loves him). So when a person comes to Jesus and acknowledges Him as Savior and Lord, it is by the Grace of God, such that no one can boast anything about his own merit.
(2) Next, we must understand that to know Jesus is different from “to know of Jesus or know about Jesus”. Many people know Jesus incorrectly.
E.g. I know of/about John (as a friend), is different from I know John. To know a person is to share the deepest relationship with that person, like that of a Husband and Wife.
So after a person truly know Jesus, how would he live his life?
(1) He will see all things and do all things with the Father’s love in him, just as Jesus did.
(2) He would want to be like Jesus, especially in listening to the Father in all things, thus he will always be reminded in his heart (by the Holy Spirit) about Jesus’ loving and righteous example. So Christianity is not about doing good deeds per se, but to be like Jesus.
(3) He would start praying for God’s people who are lost and find ways to evangelize or minister to them. So knowing Jesus is inheriting Jesus’ heartbeat for His people.
(4) He will continue to test and approve how to live out Jesus through his God-given personality, conditions and roles (as a child, as a student, as a friend, as a sibling, etc).
Critical Thinking and Practical Application
When Jimmy shares about Jesus to his friends and classmates, they said: “Oh, I’ve heard about Him before. I have also gone to church before. Jesus is your Christian God, he can do miracles, he came to earth to save people, right?” Now do you think Jimmy’s friends know Jesus? Why not?
Answer: They do not have a personal relationship with Jesus. There are many such people around us, so we must help them to truly know Jesus.
Dino has been brought up in a Christian family. His parents always says: “You have already believed in Jesus, so you must be obedient, be a good testimony, don’t do bad things, or else Jesus will not be pleased”. So Dino thought believing in Jesus means doing good things and be a good person. Now, is his parents’ teaching ‘correct’? Did Dino know Jesus correctly? Why not?
Answer: Knowing Jesus is receiving Him into our lives and thus experience a change in our hearts. Though we may still be imperfect, we continue to look to Him who loves us infinitely (through reading His word and praying). From there, we invisibly develop more willingness to love God and men, and naturally yearn to be good.
Karen has accepted Jesus into her life, and she knows Jesus as personal savior and Lord. But recently she met with a lot of trials. She was scolded by her parents and teachers for not doing well in studies. Her friends also made fun of her looks and said her hair looked funny. She also quarreled with her siblings. Everything just looked gloomy. But having known Jesus, what do you think she will do?
Answer: (1) The Holy Spirit will assure her that she is loved, thus she will not keep feeling down and lousy; (2) The Holy Spirit will prompt her to rely on God, thus she will find strength to pray and correct the things that she does not do well; (3) Then after she has received strength to trust and obey God, God will turn everything around. Relationships and things will thus be restored. (Challenge the children to seek and experience all the above ‘miracles’ through knowing Jesus).
Charmaine has gone to church since young, been baptized, has read the whole Bible and knows every story in the Bible. Therefore, she thought she has known everything about Jesus. Do you think it is so? Why not?
Answer: (1) First, we can finish reading the stories and words in the Bible, but Jesus Himself is infinite. We can never know Him enough. So the person who knows Him correctly is one who receives the heart to keep knowing Him, from now till eternity; (2) Second, the person who knows Jesus is one who after reading the Bible, seeks to experience Jesus personally in his life everyday, in the people and things he encounter. (Teachers, give some practical examples).
Ken loves to play soccer very much. One day, he was going for an appointment to play soccer with some of his friends. Just before he went out, his good friend called and was crying. His friend just had a serious argument with his parents and his parent drove him out of the house. Ken canceled his soccer game and went to meet his good friend. He consoled his friend and also took the opportunity to share the gospel with his friend. From what Ken did, do you think Ken know Jesus? Why yes?
Answer: (1) He shares Jesus’ heartbeat (love for people), such that he misses his favorite soccer match to minister to his friend; (2) Second, he listens to Jesus’ timely instruction (just as Jesus listens to the Father). So children, do you think God will reward Ken? If yes, how are some of the ways God will reward him? Do you want to know Jesus the way Ken knows Him?
*Teachers can think of more examples to get children into critical thinking and practical applications if need be. (This material can be more engaging through your living prayers and applications. So teachers, put in your best effort to confirm and teach!). However, if you do need help on some answers for the case studies above, email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*It will be good to read through the scripture and notes thoroughly before teaching. Have a good grasp with the message, together with some testimonies, so that you could relate things accurately to our young minds.