Key Passage: Malachi 4:2 “The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and playfully jump like calves.”
Big Picture Question: What did God’s Word teach the people? God’s Word helped them know the right things to do.
Christ Connection: The Bible teaches us about God and Jesus. It helps us know the right things to do. We do wrong things a lot, but when we know and love Jesus, He helps us say no to sin. Jesus died to rescue us from sin.
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story takes place at a special worship service after the Jews finished rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls. Ezra was a priest in Babylon at the end of the exile. Just as God had been with Nehemiah, He was with Ezra—granting Him favor with the Persian king, who gave him permission to go to Jerusalem.
Ezra had a special purpose for returning to Jerusalem. God’s people had lived in exile for 70 years. They needed to be reminded how to live holy lives before God. As a scribe, Ezra was an expert on the law of Moses. Ezra had “determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).
After the walls were rebuilt, everyone gathered together at the Water Gate to hear Ezra read the law. Men, women, and children—anyone who could understand—came to listen. From early morning to midday, Ezra read from the book of the law of Moses. He stood on a platform so everyone could see and hear him. The Levites helped listeners understand the words of the law. When they understood, they wept. The law revealed their sin.
Ezra told the people not to weep, for the joy of the Lord is their strength. Yes, the people had sinned. But God would keep His promise to forgive. God’s Word is powerful. When Ezra read God’s Word, the people changed their ways and loved God more. The Bible says that Jesus is “the Word.” Jesus is God who came to live with people on earth. Jesus has the power to change our hearts.
Family Activity: Invite kids to stand before the family and read aloud from the Bible. Kids may choose a favorite Bible passage or read Nehemiah 8:1-12. Remind them that the Bible is God’s Word. The Bible tells us God’s plan to save people from sin by sending Jesus to die on the cross.