Jesus Ascended to Heaven

Dear Parents,

We’re glad your child joined us this week in The Gospel Project® for Kids. This week’s Bible story comes from Acts 1:3-11 and centers on Jesus’ ascension into heaven.

After Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus showed His followers that He is alive. (Matt. 28:9-10; Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:16-17,19-20,26-27; 21:14) Jesus taught them about Himself and about God’s kingdom. (Luke 24:25-27,44-48) Jesus told them that He would soon return to the Father. (John 20:17)

Jesus directed the Eleven to go a mountain. When they arrived, Jesus appeared. Some of them worshiped Jesus, but some of them doubted. (Matt. 28:17) Some of them wondered if Jesus was going to overthrow the Roman government and set up His kingdom on earth. “Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” they asked. (Acts 1:6)

Jesus said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8). Jesus also told them to remain in Jerusalem until they received the Father’s promise—the Holy Spirit. Those who repented of their sins and trusted in Jesus’ death and resurrection would be baptized by the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:5) The Holy Spirit would give them power to live holy lives and take the gospel to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

After Jesus told the disciples these things, Jesus was taken up into the sky—right in front of their eyes! (Acts 1:9) Suddenly two men stood on the mountain next to the disciples. “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven?” they asked. They said Jesus would return the same way. (Acts 1:11) Until Jesus returns, His followers need to work faithfully.

Jesus is alive in heaven, waiting to return for His people. Jesus told the disciples He was going to prepare a place for them, and when we die, we will be with the Lord in heaven. (John 14:1-3) In the meantime, Jesus has not left us alone. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and help us do God’s work. One day Jesus will return to make all things new and to rule as Lord over all.

Ask your family members to tell about a time when they felt lonely. Read Acts 1:3-11. Jesus’ disciples were probably sad that Jesus would not be with them any longer, but Jesus told them that He’d send Someone who would be with them forever. Jesus didn’t leave us alone. When we love and trust Him, the Holy Spirit comes to be with us and help us do God’s work. We don’t have to be lonely when we remember that God’s Spirit is always with us!

Jesus Gave the Great Comission

Dear Parents, Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. This week, we learned about Jesus giving the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20 and Mark 16:15-16. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He appeared to His disciples over a 40 day period. At one point, He appeared to over 500 disciples. Then […]

Jesus Served Breakfast by the Sea

Dear Parents, Thanks for bringing your kids this week to study the lesson from The Gospel Project® for Kids. This week’s Bible story is found in John 21:1-19. After Jesus’ resurrection and His appearance to the disciples, seven of the disciples returned to Galilee, near the Sea of Galilee. It was the same sea where […]

Jesus Appeared to His Disciples

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.

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!

The Emmaus Disciples

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. This week we are in Luke 24:13-35 and Mark 16:12-13, as we discover Jesus’ teachings after His resurrection.

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.

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.

Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection

Dear Parents, Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. We look forward to hearing about the conversations you get to have with kids as you continue learning about the end of Jesus’ life and His glorious resurrection three days later! Why did Jesus have to die? Why couldn’t He just […]

Jesus on Trial

So Jesus was arrested. This was not the way the disciples thought things should happen, even though Jesus plainly told them it would. Just a few days before, the people in Jerusalem were welcoming Jesus and shouting praises to Him. The disciples didn’t know what to think. In fear, they left Jesus and ran away.

The guards led Jesus to the house of the Jewish High Priest. Peter followed, but he stayed far enough behind so that no one would notice him.

I can just picture Peter, rubbing his hands together over the fire, trying to blend in with the crowd. The whole time, he was nervously trying to catch a glimpse of what is going on inside with Jesus. “You are not one of Jesus’ disciples, are you?” a girl asked him. “I am not,” he replied.

 Ever since Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the Pharisees had been looking for a way to get rid of Jesus.  Many false witnesses were called who lied.  The high priest said Jesus was guilty of blasphemy and He should be put to death. Blasphemy is telling lies about God.  All the Sanhedrin agreed that Jesus was guilty and should be killed.

Jesus controlled His own power and allowed these men to mistreat Him. How could He allow all of this to happen? Jesus had agreed to follow God’s plan completely. His mind was aligned with God’s mind. His will was God’s will. And God’s will was for mankind to be saved from their sin.

Outside, a person asked Peter if he was a disciple. “I am not!” he said. A little while later, some people realized that Peter spoke with a Galilean accent and said that was proof that he was one of Jesus’ disciples. But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, the rooster crowed.   Peter remembered Jesus telling him that before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.

This was certainly the lowest moment in Peter’s entire life. He was weak, and he was bitterly disappointed in himself.

Our lives are also full of temptation and struggles. We are tempted to lie, talk badly about other people, put our needs before others, and to deny being a follower of Jesus, just to name a few. Through all of this, God wants us to abide with Him. No matter what situation we face, we can either bring God glory, or fail to do so. The difference is this: You will either rely on your own strength, or plug into God’s power.

 

Jesus Prayed in the Garden

The wind was picking up now, blowing clouds across the moon, shrouding the garden in darkness.

“Stay up with me?”  Jesus asked his friends.  They said yes and waited under the olive trees, but they were tired and soon feel asleep.

Jesus walked ahead alone, into the dark.  He needed to talk to his heavenly Father.

He knew it was time for him to die.  They had planned it long ago, he and his Father.  Jesus was going to take the punishment for all the wrong things anybody had ever done, or ever would do.

“Papa! Father!” Jesus cried.   And he fell to the ground.  “Is there any other way to get your children back?  To heal their hears?  To get rid of the poison?”

But Jesus knew—there was no other way.  All the poison of sin was going to have to go into his own heart.

God was going to pour into Jesus’ heart all the sadness and brokenness in people’s hearts.  He was going to pour into Jesus’ body all the sickness in people’s bodies.  God was going to have to blame his son for everything that had gone wrong.  It would crush Jesus.

Violent sobs shook Jesus’ whole body.  Then Jesus was quiet.  Like a lamb.  “I trust you, Papa,” he said.  “Whatever you say, I will do.”

Suddenly, through the trees, a glitter of starlight flashed off steel.  Into the quiet garden came whispers, muffled voices, clanking metal—and the sound of boots marching.

Jesus stood up.

He woke his friends.  “Now is the time,” he said gently.  “Everything that was written about me—what God has been telling his people all through the long years—it’s all coming true.”

And into the night, with burning torches and lanterns, with swords and clubs and armor, they came—an army of soldiers.  Judas led them straight to Jesus so they could arrest him.

Jesus was waiting for them.

–from the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones

The Last Supper

Dear Parents,

This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, our journey takes us to The Last Supper in John 13–17. Although this is the same event as we focused on last week, this week we are emphasizing Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Our story starts when Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, had approached the religious leaders. (Matt. 26:14-16) For 30 pieces of silver, Judas agreed to betray Jesus. Hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, David prophesied the Messiah would be betrayed by a close friend—one who broke bread with Him. (Ps. 41:9) Jesus knew Judas Iscariot’s true motivations from the moment Jesus called him to be a disciple. (John 6:70-71; 13:18-19; 17:12.) Jesus’ death and resurrection was God’s plan from the very beginning. (Acts 2:23)

During the Passover meal on the night He was betrayed, Jesus did something very unusual. Knowing that His death was near, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet—even the feet of Judas. (See John 13:2-11.) Jesus set forth an example of love and humility for His disciples to mirror in their own actions towards each other. (John 13:14-16)

After Judas left to betray Jesus, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him” (John 13:31). He told His disciples He would prepare a place for them (John 14:1-4), promised that the Holy Spirit would come to them (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7-14), warned them about the trials they would face as His followers (John 16:1-4,33), and encouraged them through prayer (John 17:9-19). Jesus also prayed for all who would believe the gospel from their testimony. (John 17:20-26) Then Jesus led them to the garden where He was betrayed and arrested.

In the Old Testament, God made a covenant—or promise—with His people. He gave them commandments to follow so they could live in right relationship with Him. God’s people broke the covenant. They didn’t obey God, and they didn’t love Him. Jesus made a new covenant by dying on the cross. He brought forgiveness and made the way for people to know and love God again.

When believers participate in the Lord’s Supper, they remember the last night of Jesus’ life, when He prepared to take God’s wrath upon His sinless shoulders. Believers also proclaim His death and resurrection until He returns for His church, like He promised. (John 17:24; 1 Cor. 11:26)

Begin your time with prayer. Review John 13–17. Using a pitcher of water, a bucket, and a towel, wash your family members’ feet. Remind kids that Jesus washed His disciples’ feet at the last supper. There were no paved roads in Jerusalem, and everyone walked everywhere they went. Feet were probably stinky! Normally, the least powerful person in a household would wash feet, but in this story, Jesus, who has the power of God, humbly washed His disciples’ feet.

Preparation for Passover

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. This week, we talked about preparing for Passover and read from Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; and Luke 22:7-23. As the Passover celebration drew near, Jerusalem hummed with excitement. Everyone wondered if Jesus—teacher, miracle-worker, and prophet—would come for Passover. (John 11:56-57) The Passover meal was a permanent statute God intended for every Israelite family to observe each year. (See Ex. 12:1-28; Lev. 23:5-8.) But it was no secret the religious leaders were determined to kill Jesus. Jesus had warned His disciples what would happen this Passover. (Mark 10:33-34; Luke 18:31)

On the first day of Unleavened Bread, Jesus sent Peter and John to sacrifice the Passover lamb. He told them to look for a man carrying a water jug. The man with a water jug would lead them to a large upstairs room. Carrying the water from the well was a woman’s work in Jesus’ day. But Jesus already knew that Judas had agreed with the religious leaders to betray Him for money (Matt. 26:14-16), so He privately made the arrangements for Passover. Jesus wanted to share the Passover with His disciples before He suffered and died. (Luke 22:14-15)

Peter and John took the unblemished lamb to be sacrificed at the temple as required by the law of Moses, then brought the portion that was to be eaten to the upper room. They prepared the traditional Passover of roasted lamb, bitter herbs dipped in salt water, unleavened bread, and wine. Jesus broke the bread and gave it to His disciples, “This is My body, which is given for you” (Luke 22:19). Then He passed the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you” (Luke 22:20). Jesus told His disciples to eat in remembrance of Him.

What was Jesus saying? What the sacrifice of the Passover lamb could not do—take away sins once and for all—the perfect Lamb of God was going to do. Jesus, the perfectly sinless Son of God, was going to take the punishment for sin upon Himself on the cross. (See Heb. 10:1-10.) Emphasize to kids that as Jesus’ disciples prepared for Passover, Jesus prepared to die. In His death on the cross, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to take the punishment for sin. Jesus protects from God’s wrath those who trust in Him.

Prepare a meal together. Guide each family member to take a part in choosing the menu, preparing the food, and setting the table. Over dinner, discuss the preparations that were made for the meal. Remind your family that Jesus gave instructions about preparing the Passover meal.  Read Matthew 26:17-30. Before, God’s people had eaten the meal as a reminder of God’s deliverance of His people out of Egypt (Exodus 12:43-49), but now the meal would be a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Talk about ways that your family can remember each day what Jesus has done.