Sunday Morning 1/10: Unit 28, Session 1: The Holy Spirit Came

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He instructed the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come upon them. So the disciples went back to Jerusalem, where they waited and prayed for 40 days.

The time came for the Jewish festival called Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks. As with the Passover festival, Jews from all over the Roman Empire would be at the temple in Jerusalem.

During this festival, the Holy Spirit came to the disciples in Jerusalem. They heard a sound like a violent, rushing wind. When the Holy Spirit filled Jesus’ followers, they were able to speak in foreign languages. They went out into the city and began to preach, and the Jews from all over the world were amazed. These men were from Galilee, but they were speaking in languages the visitors could understand.

Some of those who heard this thought the disciples were drunk. But Peter explained that God had kept His promise to send the Holy Spirit. He reminded them of the prophet Joel’s words: “I will pour out my Spirit on all humanity” (Joel 2:28).

The disciples told about God’s plan. The Holy Spirit convicted the crowd and they asked, “Brothers, what must we do?” Peter told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus. That day, three thousand people received salvation!

God kept His promise to send the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit’s help, Jesus’ disciples could begin their work to share the gospel with the entire world. God gives the Holy Spirit to everyone who trusts in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

As you talk with your kids, emphasize that the Holy Spirit gives us power to do God’s work, and He changes us to be more like Jesus.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS 

  • Babies and Toddlers
    • God sent the Holy Spirit to Jesus’ friends.
    • Peter told people that Jesus is alive.
    • The Holy Spirit helped people hear and believe the good news.
    • God gives the Holy Spirit to everyone who trusts in Jesus.
    • The Holy Spirit helps us.
  • Preschool
    • God sent the Holy Spirit just as He promised. 
    • How does the Holy Spirit help Christians? The Holy Spirit comforts us, shows us our sin, and guides us as we live for God’s glory.
  • Kids
    • God kept His promise to send the Holy Spirit. 
    • How does the Holy Spirit help Christians? The Holy Spirit comforts us, shows us our sin, and guides us as we live for God’s glory.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • 2 Peter 1:3

NEXT WEEK 

  • “Peter Healed a Man” (Acts 3–4)

Sunday Morning 1/3: Unit 27, Session 4: Jesus Returned to Heaven

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He appeared to His disciples over a 40-day period. At one point, He appeared to more than 500 people. During that time, Jesus taught about the kingdom of God. Some of them wondered if Jesus was finally going to overthrow the Roman government and set up His kingdom on earth.

Jesus had a different plan for the disciples. He directed the Eleven to go to a mountain, where He appeared to them again. They worshiped Him, but some still doubted. (Matt. 28:17) On the mountain, Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission. He commanded His disciples to go into the world and preach the gospel, the good news about Him. 

The Great Commission is not just for missionaries far from home. All believers are called to share the gospel with others, teach them to obey God’s commands, and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus finished His commission with a profound promise: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

Jesus told the disciples 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. The Holy Spirit would give them power to live holy lives and take the gospel to the ends of the earth. After Jesus told the disciples these things, Jesus was taken up into the sky—right in front of their eyes!

Jesus left earth and returned to heaven, but He did not leave us alone. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to be with us and help us do God’s work—to teach people everywhere about Jesus so they will trust in Him as their Lord and Savior. One day, Jesus will return to make all things new and to rule as Lord over all.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS 

  • Babies and Toddlers
    • Jesus told His friends to go and tell others about Him.
    • The friends watched Jesus go up into heaven.
    • Jesus will come back one day.
    • The Holy Spirit helps us while we wait for Jesus.
    • Jesus is alive in heaven.
  • Preschool
    • Jesus gave His disciples a mission. 
    • Where is Jesus now? Jesus is in heaven.
  • Kids
    • Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission. 
    • Where is Jesus now? Jesus ascended to heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • John 11:25

NEXT WEEK 

  • “The Holy Spirit Came” (Acts 2)

Sunday Morning 12/27: Unit 27, Session 3: Jesus Appeared to the Disciples

The disciples were devastated that Jesus had died. They believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but they had abandoned Him and Jesus was killed. How could He save anyone if He was dead? But now some people were reporting that Jesus was alive! Was it true?

The disciples were talking about these things when Jesus stood among them. “Peace to you!” He said. Imagine how Jesus’ words might have calmed the disciples’ anxious hearts. Their Lord, whom they had deserted, didn’t show up to scold them for their failures or shame them for their lack of faith. He spoke peace to them.

Thomas, who was not with the disciples when Jesus came, had a hard time believing. Thomas wanted physical proof. A week later, Jesus showed Thomas His hands and His side. Thomas immediately believed, and Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (John 20:29).

With His resurrection, Jesus’ mission was accomplished, but the disciples’ work was just beginning. Jesus gave His followers a job to do: “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, sent the disciples to be His messengers and representatives. Jesus equipped the disciples with the Holy Spirit to proclaim the gospel—the good news of what Jesus has done—to the world.

Emphasize to your kids that for 40 days, Jesus presented Himself to more than 500 people and proved that He is alive. Jesus is still alive today. We have not seen Jesus, but if we believe in Him, we will be blessed. He sends out believers to tell others about Him and gives us power through the Holy Spirit.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS 

  • Babies and Toddlers
    • The friends were hiding in a room.
    • Jesus showed His friends He is alive.
    • Jesus told Thomas to believe.
    • We have not seen Jesus, but we believe He is alive.
    • Jesus is alive in heaven.
  • Preschool
    • Jesus appeared to His disciples.
    • Where is Jesus now? Jesus is in heaven.
  • Kids
    • Jesus proved He is alive. 
    • Where is Jesus now? Jesus ascended to heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • John 11:25

NEXT WEEK 

  • “Jesus Returned to Heaven” (Matthew 28; Acts 1)

Sunday Morning 12/20: CHRISTMAS: Jesus Was Born

God’s plan all along was to send His Son into the world to save sinners. At just the right time, God the Son “emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity” (Phil. 2:7). The birth of Jesus was a miracle.

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke begin by giving details of the Messiah’s birth: Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit and gave birth to a son. The baby was God’s Son, and He had an earthly father—Joseph. As the angel had instructed, Joseph named the baby Jesus.

The apostle John began his Gospel in a different way. John 1:1 parallels the words of Genesis 1: “In the beginning … ” In the beginning, God spoke creation into existence. Everything was created through God the Son. (Col. 1:16) John names Jesus as “the Word.” (John 1:3)

John 1 provides a bigger picture to accompany the story found in Luke 2:1-20. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). As you talk with your kids about Jesus’ birth, help them realize why Jesus came. Jesus did not enter an already good world that simply needed some guidance and improvement. He came into a dark world cursed by sin to a people who were spiritually dead.

The birth of Jesus was good news! Jesus was no ordinary baby. He was God’s Son, sent to earth from heaven. Jesus came into the world as a human to bring us life. He brought light into darkness and showed us what God is like.Invite your kids to celebrate the birth of Jesus, which brought joy and peace to a desperate and chaotic world. Pray that God would prepare the hearts of your kids to hear and believe the truths about Jesus and welcome Him into their lives and Lord and Savior.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS 

  • Babies and Toddlers
    • Jesus has always been with God.
    • Jesus is the Son of God and a man too.
    • God sent Jesus to rescue us and make us His children.
    • Jesus came to earth to show us what God is like.
    • The Holy Spirit helps us.
  • Preschool
    • Jesus came to show us what God is like. 
    • How does the Holy Spirit help Christians? The Holy Spirit comforts us, shows us our sin, and guides us as we live for God’s glory.
  • Kids
    • Jesus came to bring us life. 
    • How does the Holy Spirit help Christians? The Holy Spirit comforts us, shows us our sin, and guides us as we live for God’s glory.
  • UNIT KEY PASSAGE
    • 2 Peter 1:3

NEXT WEEK 

  • “Jesus Appeared to the Disciples” (Luke 24; John 20)

Sunday Morning 12/13: Unit 27, Session 2: The Emmaus Disciples

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 on the third day. (Matt. 17:12; 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 Jesus. (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 when Jesus died. Now Jesus explained to them why the Messiah had to die, starting with Moses and the Prophets. Jesus showed how the Scriptures point to Him. (Luke 24:27; John 5:39) 

Remind kids that the Bible is not a collection of unrelated stories. The whole Bible is about Jesus. When Adam and Eve sinned, God began working out His plan to send Jesus to rescue people from sin. 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 STARTING POINTS 

  • Babies and Toddlers
    • Two friends did not understand God’s plan.
    • The two friends saw Jesus alive.
    • Jesus said the Bible is about Him.
    • The Bible points to what Jesus did for us.
    • Jesus is alive in heaven.
  • Preschool
    • The whole Bible is about Jesus. 
    • Where is Jesus now? Jesus is in heaven.
  • Kids
    • Jesus taught that all the Scriptures point to Him. 
    • Where is Jesus now? Jesus ascended to heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • John 11:25

NEXT WEEK 

  • “CHRISTMAS: Jesus Was Born” (John 1)

Sunday Morning 12/6: Unit 27, Session 1: Jesus’ Resurrection

The time between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning must have been dark hours for Jesus’ disciples. Fear, doubt, and confusion certainly overwhelmed their thoughts. Jesus, their Lord, was dead. He had been unjustly arrested, falsely accused, and severely beaten. Even worse, He had been killed in a horrible manner: by crucifixion.

The story doesn’t end there. Jesus’ body was laid in a tomb. The tomb was sealed and guards watched over it. The Jews remembered Jesus’ claim that He would rise from the dead (John 2:19-21), and they made sure no one could steal His body and insist He had risen. Imagine their surprise when Jesus did rise from the dead!

John and Peter saw the empty tomb. Jesus appeared to Mary. The disciples believed Jesus had risen from the dead. Even though the guards at the tomb were bribed to lie about what happened (they said the disciples stole Jesus’ body), the truth spread. The disciples wouldn’t have dedicated their lives and died for something they knew was a lie.

If Christ had remained dead, His death would have meant nothing more than yours or mine. Humanity would still be dead in sin. But God gives us victory over sin and death through His Son, Jesus. The resurrection gives us hope that we too will one day be raised and changed. (See Rom. 6:5; 8:11.)

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

Emphasize to your kids that Jesus is alive! Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but He didn’t stay dead. God was pleased with Jesus’ sacrifice and raised Jesus from the dead to reign as King over all creation. Jesus provides salvation from sin and the promise of eternal life. We believe this by faith. Today, Jesus is seated at the right hand of God and reigns as King over all of creation. (Phil. 2:9-10)

FAMILY STARTING POINTS 

  • Babies and Toddlers
    • On the third day, God made Jesus alive again.
    • John saw the empty tomb and believed Jesus was alive.
    • Mary saw Jesus, and He was alive.
    • God raised Jesus from the dead to be King over everything.
    • Jesus is alive in heaven.
  • Preschool
    • Jesus rose from the dead and is alive. 
    • Where is Jesus now? Jesus is in heaven.
  • Kids
    • God raised Jesus from the dead to defeat sin and death. 
    • Where is Jesus now? Jesus ascended to heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • John 11:25

NEXT WEEK 

  • “The Emmaus Disciples” (Luke 24)

Sunday Morning 11/29: Unit 26, Session 5: Jesus’ Crucifixion

Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection are the center of the gospel. Jesus accomplished the plan God had been working out throughout the Old Testament to bring salvation to sinners, and it happened in such an unlikely way.

In the Book of Acts, Peter testified to the Israelites about Jesus’ death: “Though He was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him” (Acts 2:23). Crucifixion was a horrific way to die. As you teach kids, rather than focus on the graphic details of how Jesus died, emphasize why He died. Two primary reasons stand out: God is loving, and God is just.

First, God is loving. He sent His Son to be the Savior of the world because He loves us. (See John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 1 John 4:10.) Jesus submitted to the Father’s will; He humbled Himself and came to earth as a man, and He laid down His life because He loves us. (Eph. 5:2) 

Jesus lived the perfect life we failed to live and died the guilty death we don’t want to die. Those who trust in Him receive forgiveness and eternal life.

Second, God is just. God’s law for the people was plain. (See Deuteronomy 6:5.) But God’s people, and all people, broke the law. We have loved other things more than we love God. That is sin. So why did Jesus have to die? Why couldn’t He just say, “You are forgiven”? Because God is just, He requires due payment for sin. To simply forgive sin without requiring a payment would be unjust.

Jesus was our substitute, taking our place on the cross and absorbing God’s wrath on our behalf so we can be forgiven and declared righteous. (See Rom. 3:25-26; Col. 2:13-15.) Jesus died to rescue sinners from slavery to sin, and when we trust in Him, we are free indeed.

We deserve to die because of our sins, but God loves us and kept His promise to send a Savior. Jesus never sinned, but He died in our place. He was the blood sacrifice made once and for all for the forgiveness of sin. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, and those who trust in Him have forgiveness and eternal life.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS 

  • Babies and Toddlers
    • Jesus never did anything wrong.
    • Jesus died on the cross to do God’s plan.
    • God made Jesus alive again.
    • We deserve to die because of sin, but Jesus died for us.
    • Jesus died to rescue us.
  • Preschool
    • Jesus died on the cross for our sin. 
    • What did Jesus do to save us? Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead.
  • Kids
    • Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins. 
    • What did Jesus do to save us? Jesus lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • Philippians 2:8

NEXT WEEK 

  • “Jesus’ Resurrection” (Matthew 28; John 20)

Sunday Morning 11/22: Unit 26, Session 4: Jesus Was Arrested

The Pharisees and other Jews in Jerusalem did not like Jesus. He didn’t play by their rules (Matt. 12:1-14), He claimed to be God (John 8:58-59; 10:22-33), and He extended salvation beyond the Jewish people (Luke 4:27). So they plotted several times how they might kill Him.

The events leading up to His death did not surprise Jesus. Each step was part of God’s established plan. (See Isa. 53:10; Acts 2:23.) But knowing God’s plan didn’t lessen Jesus’ suffering as He was betrayed by His friends, arrested, falsely accused, and beaten. As you teach kids about the arrest of Jesus, help them understand the gravity of the events.

First, Jesus wanted to do God’s plan. Jesus came to earth to rescue people from sin. He was committed to doing the Father’s will. (Matt. 26:39,42) When Judas showed up with a crowd, Jesus didn’t run. He didn’t even allow Peter to stand in His defense. (Matt. 26:52) Jesus willingly gave Himself up for us because He loves us. (Eph. 5:2)

Second, Jesus was betrayed and arrested even though He did nothing wrong. The Jews tried to find a legitimate reason to kill Jesus, but they couldn’t find one. (Matt. 26:59-60) Jesus did what we failed to do; He perfectly obeyed the law. His arrest was not just. The trial was not fair. But this had to happen. Only a sinless, perfect sacrifice could take away sin. (Heb. 9:11-14)

Finally, Jesus is who He says He is. After Jesus’ arrest, the high priest asked Jesus if He was the Son of God. Jesus affirmed that He is. (Matt. 26:64) The high priest accused Him of blasphemy (speaking against God), but Jesus always told the truth.

Jesus felt the pain of betrayal and the agony of His imminent suffering and death. Jesus knew that His death was God’s plan to save people from sin. Jesus’ friends turned against Him and He was arrested and put on trial, but Jesus followed His Father’s plan in order to bring salvation to the world.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS 

  • Babies and Toddlers
    • Jesus went to a garden to pray.
    • People arrested Jesus, but He did nothing wrong.
    • Jesus said everything happened as God planned.
    • Jesus obeyed His Father’s plan no matter what.
    • Jesus died to rescue us.
  • Preschool
    • Jesus was arrested though He did nothing wrong. 
    • What did Jesus do to save us? Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead.
  • Kids
    • Jesus allowed His enemies to arrest Him. 
    • What did Jesus do to save us? Jesus lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • Philippians 2:8

NEXT WEEK 

  • “Jesus’ Crucifixion” (Matthew 26–27; John 18–19)

Sunday Morning 11/15: Unit 26, Session 3: The Last Supper

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)

As they ate the Passover meal, Jesus broke bread and gave it to His disciples. He shared the cup with them too, explaining that the bread and cup represented His body and blood. Jesus established a new covenant.

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. But God’s people broke the covenant. They didn’t obey God, and they didn’t love Him.

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. (See Heb. 10:1-10.) As Jesus’ disciples prepared for Passover, Jesus prepared to die. By dying on the cross, Jesus brought forgiveness and made the way for people to know and love God again.

Jesus showed His disciples with the bread and the drink that He is the true Passover Lamb. God’s people had broken the old covenant, and God promised to make a new covenant to forgive sins. The new covenant says that everyone who turns away from sin and trusts in Jesus’ death and resurrection will be forgiven of his sins and will have eternal life.

Believers take the Lord’s Supper to remember what Jesus did for us in His death and resurrection. We remember God’s faithfulness, and we look forward to the day that Jesus will return.

If your kids are not ready to take the Lord’s Supper at church, gently explain that the Lord’s Supper, like baptism, is an ordinance of the church and is a celebration for those who have repented of their sin and trusted in Jesus for salvation.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS 

  • Babies and Toddlers
    • Jesus ate a special meal with His friends.
    • Jesus told His friends about God’s plan.
    • Jesus told His friends to remember what He did for them.
    • Jesus made a new, better promise.
    • Jesus died to rescue us.
  • Preschool
    • Jesus told His disciples to remember Him. 
    • What did Jesus do to save us? Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead.
  • Kids
    • Jesus commanded His disciples to remember His sacrifice. 
    • What did Jesus do to save us? Jesus lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • Philippians 2:8

NEXT WEEK 

  • “Jesus Was Arrested” (Matthew 26–27)

Sunday Morning 11/8: Unit 26, Session 2: Jesus Was Questioned

The religious leaders despised Jesus. He was a threat to their power, and they didn’t believe He was the Messiah. The Jews decided to confront Jesus with questions. Perhaps He would misspeak, and they could trap Him with His words. The Pharisees’ disciples asked Him, “Teacher, is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

As far as these men were concerned, Jesus could not give a satisfactory answer to this question. If Jesus said God’s law required them to pay taxes to Caesar, they could get the Jewish people—who hated paying taxes to the Romans—to turn away from Jesus. If Jesus said God’s law did not require them to pay taxes to Caesar, they could convince the Romans to arrest Jesus. But Jesus answered wisely: “Give … to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21). The men were speechless, and they left.

Then an expert in the law asked Jesus which command in God’s law is most important. The Pharisees knew the law well and felt prepared to argue. Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Then He emphasized a second command: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18). These commands summarize the rest of the law, and the Pharisees could not object.

Jesus turned the tables and asked the Pharisees about the Messiah: “Whose son is he?” The Pharisees recognized the Messiah as the son of David. Jesus referred to Psalm 110, in which David calls the Messiah “Lord.” Why would he do that? The Pharisees had no answer. As fully man, Jesus is the son of David. But as fully God, He is greater than David; He is Lord. No one dared to question Jesus again.

When the religious leaders questioned Jesus, He answered with wisdom and power. Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. He is the Word of God, who came to show us exactly what God is like. Jesus has authority in heaven and on earth.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS 

  • Babies and Toddlers
    • Some teachers tried to trick Jesus.
    • Jesus answered with wisdom.
    • Jesus told the people that He is the Messiah, the Son of God.
    • Jesus spoke with wisdom that comes from God.
    • Jesus died to rescue us.
  • Preschool
    • Jesus spoke with wisdom. 
    • What did Jesus do to save us? Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead.
  • Kids
    • Jesus spoke with wisdom and authority. 
    • What did Jesus do to save us? Jesus lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

  • Philippians 2:8

NEXT WEEK 

  • “The Last Supper” (Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; John 13)