Key Passage: Matthew 28:19-20 “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…And remember, I am with you always.”

Big Picture Question: What did Jesus do after He was raised from the dead? Jesus showed many people that He was alive, and He is alive today.

Christ Connection: God made Jesus alive again! Jesus visited many, many people so they would know He is alive. Jesus is still alive today.

Dear Parents,
This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, our journey takes us to Jesus’ appearance to the disciples in Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-29; and Acts 1:3.

Perhaps one of the most gracious things Jesus did after His resurrection was appear to the disciples, proving He was alive. The disciples were devastated to see that Jesus had died. How could He save them if He was dead? Even though Jesus had foretold His death and resurrection (Matt. 20:17-19), Jesus’ disciples believed by seeing.

Jesus showed the disciples His hands and His side to prove He was not a ghost. He had a real, physical body. Then He spoke to them: “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, was now sending the disciples to be His messengers and representatives. Jesus equipped the disciples with the Holy Spirit to proclaim the gospel.

Thomas, who was not with the disciples when Jesus came, had a hard time believing that they saw Him. Thomas wanted physical proof—and that is just what He got! Jesus showed Thomas His hands and His side. Thomas immediately believed.

Jesus’ resurrection proved that God was satisfied with Jesus’ blood sacrifice for sins and that God’s new covenant had begun. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul addressed how the resurrection is essential to the gospel. In verse 17, Paul writes, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”

If Christ had remained dead, His death would have meant nothing more than yours or mine. Humanity would still be without hope. Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope that we one day too will be raised and changed. God gives us victory over death through Jesus. Emphasize to the kids you teach that Jesus is alive! Share with them that they have a special purpose: to tell others that Jesus is alive. He is reigning as King today over all of creation.

Family Activity: Provide a bag of dried beans and a bucket. Guide kids to pour what they think is 500 beans onto the table. Help kids count the beans after they have poured them, collecting all the beans in the bucket. Explain that Jesus appeared to more than 500 people after He rose from the dead. Ask kids if they would believe something that 500 different people told them had happened. Review Luke 24:36-43. We know that Jesus is alive today!

Key Passage: Matthew 28:19-20 “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…And remember, I am with you always.”

Big Picture Question: What did Jesus teach His friends on the road to Emmaus? Jesus taught that the Bible is about Him.

Christ Connection: Jesus showed His friends that the Scriptures tell about Him! The whole Bible is about Jesus. The Bible tells us the story of what God to save His people through Jesus, His Son.

Dear Parents,

Jesus’ death and resurrection should not have surprised the disciples. Sometimes Jesus spoke metaphorically about His death and resurrection. (See Matt. 12:39; Mark 14:58; John 2:19; 3:14-15.) Other times, Jesus plainly told the disciples that He would be betrayed, crucified, buried, and resurrected three days later. (Matt. 17:2; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22) In fact, Jesus had spoken so frequently of His death and resurrection, the chief priests and Pharisees asked Pilate to place guards at the tomb in case the disciples stole Jesus’ body. (See Matt. 27:62-66.)

On resurrection morning, the angel at Jesus’ tomb asked the women, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5). Even when Peter and John ran to the empty tomb to see it for themselves, Peter was amazed but uncertain (Luke 24:12), while John believed (John 20:8).

That same day, two disciples were walking to Emmaus, arguing about recent events. Jesus began walking next to them, but God prevented them from recognizing Him. (Luke 24:16) Jesus simply asked them what they were arguing about. They stopped walking. How could He not have heard about what happened over the last three days?

The two disciples had hoped Jesus was the Redeemer of Israel. Their hopes were crushed because Jesus had died. Graciously, Jesus explained to them why the Messiah had to die, starting with Moses and the Prophets. Jesus showed them how the Scriptures point to Him. (Luke 24:27; cf. John 5:39)

When they reached Emmaus, the disciples urged Him to stay and eat. As soon as Jesus blessed the bread and broke it, “their eyes were opened” and they knew they’d seen Jesus. (Luke 24:31)

Teach your kids the Bible is not a moralistic tale. The Bible is about Jesus. When Adam and Eve sinned, God began working out His plan to send Jesus to rescue people from sin. (Gen. 3:15) All of the Old Testament points forward to Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection—the time when Jesus would bring God’s promised salvation for sinners.

Family Activity: Give each family member a Bible. Call out a book of the Bible and challenge each person to find it. Vary the difficulty of the book being found. Read Luke 24:13-35. Remind kids that Jesus taught that the Bible is about Him. Tell kids that no matter where they turn in the Bible, they can know that it all points to God’s plan for Jesus to come to earth, die on the cross for our sin, and rise again three days later as a picture of His victory over sin and death.

Dear FPC—
I can’t believe it is August 20. It feels like August just started! Even in the middle of this weird summer the sudden rush up to September seems to be happening. All around the church there is a drumbeat of progress and forward movement. Your mission study team is meeting TODAY and hopes to finish its work on the mission study. The next steps are for our Session and the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry to approve it. Your Reopening Task Force is finalizing its recommendations to Session with a plan and metrics for when and how to do a phased reopening. Session meets next week with a full agenda!
Then coming quickly after that, starting one month from today is Immerse—our congregation-wide read through the New Testament. You’ll find information, resources and more on our website very soon. A key part of this experience is talking about what you are reading with others—joining a group. Some of our existing groups are choosing to discuss Immerse together during this 8 weeks, and others are forming new “book clubs” to discuss. Either way, I hope you will join a group. What a great way to connect with others and to learn from one another!
This Sunday in worship we will turn to Paul’s remarkable description of Jesus’ Upside Down Victory. I hope you can join us in worship—either live on Facebook Live OR YouTube, or whenever is convenient for you during the week.

Blessings to you as the drumbeat of September builds for all of us!

Pastor Steve

Key Passage: “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written…about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.” Luke 18:31

Big Picture Question: Why did the widow give all she had? The widow loved God more than money.

Christ Connection: Jesus said that the widow had made a big sacrifice to help those in need. Jesus would soon make a big sacrifice Himself, but He was going to give something much more important than money. He was going to give His own life to help those in need—all of us who need a Savior.

Dear Parents,
This week’s Bible story comes from Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4, and it focuses on the widow’s gift. While Jesus was in Jerusalem in the days leading up to the Passover, He often taught in the temple complex. The scribes and Pharisees questioned Jesus in hopes of tricking Him into saying something that would provoke the Romans against Him (Luke 20:20) or would make Him seem like a blasphemer. But all their questions simply proved that Jesus, the Son of God, had a wisdom and authority that could only come from God. (Matthew 22:46; Mark 12:34)

After warning the people against the scribes, Jesus sat down where He could watch people give their offerings. The treasury of the temple was located in the women’s court. Thirteen trumpet-shaped receptacles were set up to receive donations, purification offerings, and the half-shekel tax. Jesus watched as the wealthy put large sums of money in the offering boxes. Then a poor widow put in two small copper coins.

Jesus summoned His disciples and remarked, “I assure you: This poor widow has put in more than all those giving to the temple treasury” (Mark 12:43). Undoubtedly the disciples were astonished. The widow had given the smallest amount of currency in Jesus’ time. Hadn’t Jesus noticed all the others giving more?

The widow was desperately poor. Jesus mentioned that she had given everything she had to live on. The woman, who should have been a recipient of charity, instead gave to God, trusting Him to take care of her needs. The wealthy people, however, had given out of their surplus. They gave a lot of money, but it did not really “cost” them much.

Jesus gave up everything He had in heaven to come to earth and save us from our sins. Jesus even gave up His own life, dying on the cross in our place. When Christians know and love Jesus, we can serve Him as the Lord of our lives. Out of love for Jesus, we offer everything we have. God takes care of His children and rewards those who seek Him. (Matt. 6:31-33; Mark 10:29-31; Heb. 11:6)

Family Activity: Ask each family member to go get the best gift she has been given recently. Guide each family member to show and tell about her gift, explaining why it is her favorite. Remind kids that everything we have is a gift from God. Read Mark 12:41-44. Discuss ways you can serve Jesus with what you have, no matter how much or little.

Key Passage: “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written…about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.” Luke 18:31

Big Picture Question: What did Jesus call the temple? Jesus said the temple was His Father’s house.

Christ Connection: Jesus was right to be angry when He saw people were using the temple in a wrong way. God is holy and must be worshiped in the way He says. Jesus came so that people would no longer have to offer sacrifices to worship God. Now we can meet with God anytime and anywhere. Jesus came to sacrifice His own body so we can worship God forever.

Dear Parents,
In preparation for the Passover feast, Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The Books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke also describe Jesus’ cleansing of the temple. Herod the Great completely rebuilt the temple in 20–18 B.C. as part of his architectural projects. Herod’s temple was surrounded by walls and gates, with specific places for Gentiles, women, and men to worship God and offer sacrifices.

When Jesus entered the Court of the Gentiles, He was furious to see people buying and selling in the temple. Animal sacrifices were required for participation in the temple, since God declared that all Jewish men must appear three times before the Lord each year, and they must not appear empty-handed. (See Deut. 16:16.) For many worshipers traveling from all over the Roman Empire to take part in Passover, it was easier to purchase unblemished animals for sacrificing in the Court of the Gentiles. There, they also exchanged foreign currency for the temple taxes and offerings. So why was Jesus angry at the people?

The merchants buying and selling in the temple were treating the temple as a market or bazaar, not like the house of prayer for all nations that God had intended for it to be. (See Isa. 56:7.) The moneychangers’ prices were so exorbitant, they were practically robbing the people. (Mark 11:17) On top of that, people were using the temple courts as a shortcut to get to their businesses. The Gentiles who wished to worship God in peace were surrounded by greed and extortion.

After Jesus threw out the merchants and moneychangers, the chief priests and the scribes wanted to destroy Him. (Luke 19:47) Jesus was angry that people were misusing the temple, the place people could go to meet with God. Today, Christians do not go to a temple to meet with God or to offer sacrifices for sin. Jesus died on the cross as the final payment for sin, and God’s Spirit lives in us!

Family Activity: Guide your family to discuss times when they were angry for the wrong reasons. Ask them how they could have responded differently. Read Matthew 21:12-17 together. Jesus was angry for the right reasons. People were sinning by misusing the temple, which was the place people could go to meet with God. Today, we don’t have to go to a temple to meet with God because God’s Spirit lives in all who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Key Passage: “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written…about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.” Luke 18:31

Big Picture Question: What does it mean to honor Jesus? Honoring Jesus means to treat him with respect.

Christ Connection: Mary did the right thing by pouring expensive oil on Jesus. She worshipped Him. Jesus deserves to be worshipped. Jesus knew that He was going to die to rescue people from sin. Then He would be buried, and, on the third day, He would rise from the dead.

Dear Parents,
This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, our journey takes us to Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; and John 12:1-8. Each of these accounts notes Jesus’ anointing six days before Passover. Jesus was in Bethany, eating supper at Simon the leper’s house. Since lepers were social outcasts, Simon may have been healed from his leprosy by Jesus. Jesus and His disciples attended the supper, as did Jesus’ friends Lazarus, Martha, and Mary.

While Jesus was reclining at the table, Mary broke open an expensive alabaster jar of pure nard, a fragrance imported from India. Alabaster was an expensive form of marble. Alabaster jars were intricately crafted and sealed so that to open the jar, the owner would have to break it, and the perfumes or oils within the jar would be used immediately. Mary could not pour out a little bit of the nard and keep the rest for herself. Out of sincere and total devotion, Mary poured all of the nard onto Jesus.

In stark contrast to Mary’s display of love, Judas Iscariot reacted with indignation. In Matthew’s account, the other disciples also wondered why Mary had not sold the nard—worth about a worker’s yearly wage—and given it to the poor. John states that Judas was not altruistic; Judas was in fact pilfering money from Jesus’ ministry. (See John 12:6.)

“Leave her alone,” Jesus said. “She has kept it for the day of My burial” (John 12:7). The disciples would have plenty of time to minister to the poor, but Jesus would die in less than a week. Mary probably had no way of knowing what her offering of love and devotion would have signified, but Jesus said that from that moment on, people would remember what she had done for Him.

Unlike the rich young ruler who thought the cost of following Christ was too high (Mark 10:22), Mary believed that Jesus holds more value than costly perfume. Mary’s actions were not wasteful but worshipful. By allowing Mary to anoint Him, Jesus showed that He is more valuable than anything. Jesus knew He would soon die for sinners, be buried, and rise from the dead on the third day. Those who trust in His death and resurrection will receive eternal life.

Family Activity: Guide your family to stand in a circle and close their lips. Taking turns, each person should turn to the person on her left and say, “(Name), if you love me, would you please smile?” If a person smiles, he must sit down. The last person standing wins! Discuss ways that we show our love for others. Read Mark 14:3-9 together. Remind kids that Mary worshiped Jesus with the perfume because she loved Him and knew He was more valuable than anything she had. Discuss ways that we can worship Jesus.