Key Passage: Matthew 13:11 “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you.”

Big Picture Question: What should we always be ready for? We should be ready for Jesus to come back.

Christ Connection: Jesus wants people who believe in Him to take care of his world and to tell others about Him. No one knows when Jesus will come back to earth. We must always be ready. When Jesus comes back, He will reward those who worked hard for Him.

Dear Parents,
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. In today’s Bible story, Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives when His disciples came to Him with a question. The disciples had been puzzled when Jesus told them that the temple would be destroyed. (Matt. 24:2) They asked, “What is the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:3).

Matthew 24 records Jesus’ response. He told of persecution and tribulation. The chapter ends with a parable about faithful service to Jesus. The parable of the faithful servant serves as a warning to believers, urging them to be prepared for Jesus’ return.

Jesus described what the day will be like when He returns. He begins with a question: “Who then is a faithful and sensible slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give them food at the proper time?” (Matt. 24:45). Jesus told about a faithful servant whose master finds him working hard when he returns. The faithful servant will be put in charge of the master’s possessions. But if the servant is wicked—assuming he can do as he wants while his master is away—he will be punished when the master returns.

In the parable, the master is Jesus. He gave His disciples the specific task of teaching and preaching, of feeding His sheep. (See Matt. 28:18-20; John 21:17.) Jesus’ parable implores the faithfulness of everyone so that when the chief Shepherd appears, they “will receive the unfading crown of glory” (1 Pet. 5:4). The parable also serves as a warning to those—like the scribes and Pharisees—who take advantage of their position for their own gain.

Jesus gives believers the responsibility of caring for His world and sharing the gospel. No one knows the exact time Jesus will return to earth. We must always be ready. When Jesus returns, those who faithfully work for Him will be rewarded, but those who do not will be punished.

Family Activity: Invite kids to write or draw a picture of what they do to get ready to go somewhere. Talk about what happens if it’s time to go and someone isn’t ready. Prompt kids to explain the difference between a faithful servant and a lazy servant. Read the Christ connection and talk about ways your family can live that would make Jesus happy if He were to come back right at any moment.

Key Passage: Matthew 13:11 “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you.”

Big Picture Question: Who is invited to the kingdom of heaven? Everyone is invited to the kingdom of heaven.

Christ Connection: Heaven is like a great wedding feast, and Jesus invites everyone to come. Jesus makes a place for people who say yes to His invitation, and they can be with Him forever.

Dear Parents,
This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, kids will learn about the parable of the wedding feast. Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast is more than a simple story about a king’s rude guests. The parable reveals the King (God the Father) who seeks to honor His Son (Jesus) with a banquet. Though many people are invited to the kingdom of heaven, few will choose to come.

When Jesus told this parable, He had been teaching for three years. Many people who heard Jesus opposed Him, including the religious leaders. It was to this audience that Jesus told such a shocking story in which the attitudes and actions of the people who rejected the king’s invitation clearly paralleled the religious leaders.

In the parable, the religious leaders are represented by the guests who refused to come to the wedding banquet. They had been invited, but when the king’s servants told them the feast was ready, they did not want to come. Instead, they went about their lives—to their farms and businesses. Some of them even killed the king’s messengers!

What an insult to the king! These people had turned down an invitation to the most wonderful and joyous event they could imagine. The king would have given His best to honor his son, and the king reacted justly. He punished those who rejected him and invited others instead—those not in the city, both the good and the bad.

Likewise, God invites Gentiles into His kingdom. No one is refused based on his or her economic or social standing. The King Himself provides the required attire—robes of righteousness, like those given to Joshua the high priest. (See Zech. 3:3-4.) The King rejects those who try to come by their own merit—in their own clothes—as the man without wedding clothes did.

Salvation is a free gift. We can’t earn our way into heaven. Jesus did all the work when He died for our sins on the cross. This story reminds us that we need to be clothed in Christ’s righteousness. Jesus invites us to join Him in heaven—the great wedding feast. When we receive His invitation, Jesus gets us ready by clothing us in His righteousness.

Family Activity: Invite kids to list names of friends or family members they would like to invite to a party. Review the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22:1-14. Ask kids how they would feel if their guests refused to come to the party. Remind kids of the big picture question and answer. Pray that they, their friends, and family members would receive Jesus’ invitation to the kingdom of heaven.

Key Passage: Matthew 13:11 “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you.”

Big Picture Question: What does God give us? God gives us good gifts.

Christ Connection: Jesus told a story to teach people about God. God loves us and gives us good gifts. No one can earn a gift. Everyone sins, or disobeys God, so everyone deserves to be punished. But God gave a good gift: His Son, Jesus. People who trust in Jesus will live with God forever.

Dear Parents,
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Over the next five weeks, kids will be learning five parables that Jesus taught about God’s kingdom. The religious leaders who listened to and watched Jesus had some problems with the things He said and did. He taught about a righteousness that comes by faith rather than works, and He was friends with tax collectors and sinners. So Jesus told a parable to make clear that entering God’s kingdom was not a matter of merit but of grace.

The parable of the vineyard workers is about a landowner who hired workers to work in his vineyard. The first group agreed to work for a denarius, a fair wage for a day’s work. Throughout the day, the landowner hired more groups of workers. At the end of the day, the landowner paid every worker one denarius. The workers who had put in 12 hours did not think it was fair that those who worked just 1 hour were paid the same.

In Jesus’ parable, the second, third, fourth, and fifth groups of workers represent people who are not a part of the nation of Israel. The Israelites had been following God for generations. They faced trials, paralleling the men who worked through the heat of the day. God promised blessings to Abraham’s family, Israel. (See Gen. 12:2-3.) God kept His promise, yet He also poured out blessings on tax collectors, sinners, Gentiles.

Like the landowner and his wealth, God is free to share His grace as He desires. Jesus gave salvation to the criminal who was crucified next to Him and to Saul, who persecuted believers. Does God act fairly in saving people who have not followed Him their entire lives? The reward—eternal life—is God’s grace to those who believe, whether they believe at the first or at the last.

God does not owe us anything, yet He pours out blessings on us. He makes salvation possible for us, regardless of our abilities or efforts. The last will be first, and the first last. Jesus’ parable teaches about God’s grace. God is generous, and He loves us. We deserve to die for our sins, but God gives us what we don’t deserve—salvation through His Son, Jesus.

Family Activity: Give kids grapes to eat as a snack. Explain that grapes grow on vines in a vineyard. Review the Bible story. The landowner hired men to work his fields. At the end of the day, the landowner paid all the workers what was fair or more than they deserved. Ask the big picture question and lead kids to respond with the answer. List ways God has been generous to your family.

Key Passage: John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”

Big Picture Question: Who raised people from the dead? Jesus raised people from the dead.

Christ Connection: Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. He showed that He has power over death. Jesus died on the cross for our sin and rose from the dead. Those who trust in Jesus will live forever with Him.

Dear Parents,
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. In today’s Bible story, Jesus received word that His friend Lazarus was sick. Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha. They lived in the town of Bethany, about two miles away from Jerusalem. Mary and Martha sent a message to Jesus, likely expecting Him to come right away.

Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. (John 11:5) Yet He stayed where He was, and Lazarus died. Why would Jesus do such a thing? Jesus said that Lazarus’ sickness was “for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). He said that He was glad He wasn’t there when Lazarus died so that the disciples may believe. (John 11:15) Jesus’ timing is always perfect, and He acts or doesn’t act so that God will be glorified.

By the time Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Decay had set in, and Mary and Martha were grieving. Martha went to meet Jesus. She said to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.” Jesus had shown His power to heal people who were sick. Even still, she believed He could do a miracle.

Jesus told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). Jesus is the source of life—eternal life that cannot be destroyed by death. Believers do not need to fear death because physical death is not the end. (See John 11:25-26.) Jesus endured death for us so that when we die and are absent from our physical bodies, our souls are with the Lord. (See 2 Cor. 5:8.)

Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Jesus interrupted Lazarus’s funeral knowing His would soon follow. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He showed that He has power over death. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Jesus died on the cross for our sin and rose from the dead. He gives eternal life to those who trust in Him.

Family Activity: Build a “tomb” by draping blankets over chairs and tables. Use couch cushions or large pillows to block the entrance. Take turns sitting in the tomb until someone moves the pillows and says, “Come out!”

Key Passage: John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”

Big Picture Question: Who is most powerful? Jesus is more powerful than everyone.

Christ Connection: Jesus used His power to help the man, and then Jesus told the man to tell others what He had done. Jesus came to earth to free people from the power of sin. He was going to die on the cross to defeat evil once and for all. We can trust in Jesus to rescue us from sin, and we can tell others what Jesus has done for us.

Dear Parents,
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. In today’s Bible story, Jesus displayed His power over evil. In the midst of His public ministry, the Jewish religious leaders began plotting to kill Jesus. (See Mark 3:6.) So one day, Jesus went to a land on the east side of the Sea of Galilee, where Gentiles lived. In that land was a man who needed help. (Note: The Gospel of Matthew describes two men.) An evil spirit was inside the man, and he suffered greatly. The people had tried to control the man by tying him up with chains, but the man broke free. So he lived alone in the tombs, crying out day and night.

When Jesus stepped ashore, the man ran to Him and kneeled down. Jesus commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man, and the evil spirit spoke: “What do You have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You before God, don’t torment me!” (Mark 5:7). Many evil spirits were in the man, and Jesus gave the evil spirits permission to go into a herd of pigs. They did, and the man was healed.

The healed man wanted to follow Jesus, but Jesus told the man to go home to his own people and tell what the Lord had done for him. The man obeyed Jesus. He testified to the cities in that area about the Lord’s mercy, and the Gentile people were amazed.

In His teaching, Jesus said, “If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you” (Matt. 12:28). Jesus—as well as the Bible—is clear that Satan exists, and he and the demons work against God and His purposes. Jesus has power over evil. Only Jesus had the strength to control the man with the evil spirits. Jesus used His power to free the man. He has power over everything. Jesus came to earth to destroy the Devil by dying on the cross. One day, Jesus will end evil forever.

Family Activity: Provide strips of paper and glue sticks. Demonstrate how to make a paper chain. As kids work review the Bible story in Luke 8:26-39. Point out that the man was controlled by the evil spirit inside him. Jesus used His power to free the man. Encourage kids to break apart the paper chain. Remind kids that Jesus frees us from the power of sin.

Key Passage: John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”

Big Picture Question: Who can heal our bodies? Jesus has the power to heal our bodies.

Christ Connection: Isaiah the prophet said that the Messiah God was going to send would make blind people see. (Isaiah 35:5; 42:7) The Messiah was here! Jesus was the promised Messiah, and He made blind people see. Jesus did a miracle. In the same way, Jesus helps us to see and understand the truth about God so we can be rescued from sin.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story takes us to the outskirts of Jericho where a man named Bartimaeus sat by the side of the road begging. You see, Bartimaeus was blind. As Jesus traveled from Jericho, He passed Bartimaeus. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was passing by, he cried out to Him, using a messianic title: “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Socially, Bartimaeus would have been considered unimportant—certainly not important enough for the attention of someone as popular as Jesus. Perhaps Bartimaeus was used to being ignored by passersby, but Jesus stopped and reached out to him. Jesus said to Bartimaeus, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51).

Bartimaeus answered Jesus’ question with a plea of faith: “Teacher, I want to see!” Bartimaeus believed that Jesus could heal him, and Jesus did. Bartimaeus had nothing to offer Jesus. He knew he was needy, and he begged for mercy. Jesus is willing to help those in need.

The prophet Isaiah wrote that the promised Messiah would open the eyes of people who were blind. (Isaiah 35:5; 42:7) He was here! Jesus was the promised Messiah. Even if we are not physically blind, we are sinners. In our need, we can cry out like Bartimaeus, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Sinners can’t see the truth about God until Jesus opens our eyes and saves us.

Family Activity: Read Mark 10:46-52 or invite one of your children to read the passage aloud. Talk about how Jesus showed His power over sickness. Reinforce the big picture question and answer. Lead kids to write short prayers in response to Jesus’ question for Bartimaeus “What do you want Me to do for you?” Kids should pray for people who need Jesus’ healing or who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Key Passage: John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”

Big Picture Question: Who will always take care of us? God will give us what we need.

Christ Connection: Jesus fed more than 5,000 people! Only God’s Son could do that! He gave them food when they were hungry. But the people needed something even more important than food. They needed someone to rescue them from their sins. Jesus was getting ready to do just that. Jesus always gives us what we need.

Dear Parents,

This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, kids will learn about Jesus’ power to provide. Jesus’ disciples had been working hard, teaching people and healing them. Jesus called them to go away with Him to a place where they could rest. By now, Jesus’ popularity was so great that finding a place to be alone was difficult. When Jesus and His disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee, the crowd of people were already waiting for them on the other side.

Jesus saw the crowds. He wasn’t frustrated or angry. He didn’t tell them to go away. Instead, He had compassion on them because they were lost—like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who seeks and saves the lost. (See Luke 19:10; John 10:14.)

The miracle Jesus performed that evening—feeding 5,000 men plus women and children—is the only miracle during Jesus’ earthly ministry that is recorded in all four Gospels. God was clearly at work. The same God who provided manna for the Israelites in the wilderness multiplied loaves and fish to satisfy the crowd.

But Jesus’ didn’t intend to only meet the people’s physical needs. He came to satisfy their spiritual needs as well. By feeding the five thousand, Jesus provided for the physical needs of the crowd. The next day, Jesus called Himself the bread of life. (John 6:35) Only Jesus is able to satisfy our souls by providing forgiveness, friendship with God, and eternal life.

Family Activity: Set a cracker on the table. Ask your kids if the cracker would be enough to feed your family. Review the Bible story in Matthew 14:13-21. Allow kids to list below some things your family needs on a regular basis. Lead your family in a time of prayer, thanking God for His provision and asking Him to continue to provide for your family’s needs.

Key Passage: John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”

Big Picture Question: Who has power over creation? Jesus has power over creation.

Christ Connection: Who is Jesus? Jesus’ friends knew He was a good man and a good teacher. When Jesus calmed the wind and the waves, He showed His friends that He is the Lord. Jesus has power over everything He made!

Dear Parents,
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Over the next five weeks, kids will discover that Jesus is powerful. In today’s Bible story, Jesus showed His remarkable power over creation. After a long day of teaching, Jesus and His disciples got into a boat to cross over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. When their short sailing trip was interrupted by a violent storm, the disciples found themselves in danger with nowhere to turn—except to the One who created all things.

The Sea of Galilee is actually a freshwater lake in northern Israel. It sits nearly 700 feet below sea level and is surrounded by tall hills and mountains. The geography contributes to strong downdrafts and sudden storms that can quickly overtake the lake. This type of windstorm is what the disciples faced as they crossed the sea with Jesus.

Several of the disciples were experienced fishermen. They had spent significant time on the Sea of Galilee, but this storm was so strong. The waves overtook the boat, and the disciples were afraid they would drown. As the disciples panicked, what was Jesus doing? He was sleeping! The disciples woke Jesus. The situation was out of their control, but their reaction was full of irony: “Teacher! Don’t You care that we’re going to die?” (Mark 4:38).

The disciples obviously did not know why Jesus had come to earth. Jesus had come to rescue people from sin. Did Jesus care that the disciples were going to die? Absolutely. But He was going to rescue them from something greater than physical death by drowning. Jesus would save them from spiritual death when He died on the cross.

Who is this man? the disciples wondered. Jesus’ disciples knew Jesus was a good man and a good teacher. When Jesus calmed the wind and the waves, He showed His disciples that He is also God. God rules the sea and stills its waves. (See Job 12:15; 28:25; Ps. 33:7; 89:9; 107:25-30; Amos 4:13.)

Family Activity: Encourage your children to retell the Bible story in their own words. Open the Bible to Genesis 1 and briefly review the story of creation. Point out that God created everything. Remind the kids that Jesus has power over creation because He is God the Son. Provide crayons or markers and invite kids to draw pictures of creation—including animals, plants, or weather.

Key Passage: Matthew 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”

Big Picture Question: What makes God happy? God is happy when we turn away from sin and love Jesus.

Christ Connection: Jesus told stories about people who were looking for things that were lost. Jesus told these stories to teach about Himself. Jesus looks for people who are lost, people who do not know Him. Jesus gave His life to save people from sin.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Have you ever heard a pastor say that Jesus was seeking the lost? Who is “the lost”? What does it mean to be lost? In Luke 15, Jesus told three parables to the crowd of tax collectors, sinners, Pharisees, and scribes. Jesus’ teaching brought gospel truth to the tax collectors and sinners—those whose unrighteousness separated them from God—and to the Pharisees and scribes—those whose relied on their own righteous efforts for salvation.

The first two parables are similar. In one, a man loses a sheep. He leaves his flock to find the missing sheep, and he rejoices when it is found. In the second, a woman loses a silver coin. The woman carefully searches her home until she finds it. Then, she calls her neighbors and friends to celebrate with her. Heaven rejoices when even one sinner repents.

Finally, Jesus told a parable about two sons. The younger son asked for his inheritance. He wasted his money on immoral living and decided to return to his father. Rather than rejecting his wayward son, the father embraced him. The older son, who had always been obedient to his father, reacted with anger. Think about the crowd Jesus was speaking to. The focus is often placed on the younger son—the one with whom the tax collectors and sinners could identify—but Jesus also made a point about the older son. The older son was like the Pharisees and scribes, focused on his own morality and feeling entitled to his father’s favor.

Jesus taught what God is like. A shepherd was seeking his sheep, a woman was seeking her coin, and a father was seeking his prodigal son. Jesus told these parables to teach about Himself. As Savior, Jesus seeks sinners. He paid the ultimate price—His own life—to save people from sin.

Family Activity: Play hide-and-seek, or hide something in the room and challenge kids to find it. Play several rounds. Jesus told the parable of the Prodigal Son to teach about Himself. Jesus seeks sinners. He paid the ultimate price—His own life—to save people from sin.

Key Passage: Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Big Picture Question: What can you do when you hear the truth about Jesus? I can believe the truth about Jesus.

Christ Connection: Not everyone who hears about Jesus believes in Him. Some people don’t understand Jesus or they think they are happy without Him. People who hear the gospel—the good news about Jesus—and believe in Him will be blessed.

Dear Parents,
This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, our journey takes us to look closely at the Parable of the Sower. The Gospels record dozens of Jesus’ parables. A parable is a story Jesus told to help people understand the kingdom of God. Each parable taught a lesson and revealed secrets of God’s kingdom for those who would understand. (See Matt. 13:10-13.)

The parable of the sower would have resonated with those listening because they would have been familiar with the practice of sowing or planting seed. But the parable had a deeper meaning. It contained a lesson about God’s Word and the responses of those who hear it. In the parable, a sower’s seeds fell in four different places. Some of the seeds fell along the path, where they were eaten by birds. Other seeds fell on rocky ground. Those seeds had no roots, so they withered in the sun. Other seeds fell among thorns, and they were choked out. Other seeds fell on good soil, and they produced a crop—a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was planted.

After Jesus told the parable, He explained it to His disciples. The soil represents people’s hearts, and the seed is the word about God’s kingdom. The person whose heart is like the hard soil hears the good news about God, but he does not understand it or he rejects it. The person whose heart is like the rocky soil is quick to receive the truth, but when life gets hard, he falls away. The person whose heart is like the thorny soil cares more about the things of the world than the good news about God, and the seed cannot grow. The person whose heart is like the good soil hears the good news about God and receives it. He bears fruit, more than what was planted. In the life of a believer, the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) is evident.
Jesus’ lesson still holds true today. Not everyone believes the truth about Jesus. Some don’t understand it, some believe in Jesus for selfish reasons, and some only want part of Jesus because they love other things more. But those who hear the gospel and understand who Jesus is will become like Jesus and share His good news with others.

Family Activity: Plant a garden with your family. Check on the seeds daily to see how they are growing. Consider using different kinds of soil to see which grow the best plants.

Go further: Review the four types of soil from the parable of the sower. Encourage your kids to think about how they have responded to the gospel—the good news about Jesus. Lead them to identify which type of soil shows how they have responded. Pray together, asking God to help kids believe the truth about Jesus and share the gospel with others.