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Thursday, February 11, 2016

John the Baptist….Chapter 3….John the Baptist Prepares the way for Jesus

Taken from Matthew 3:1-12, Mark 1:1-8, Luke 3:2-18, and John1:19-27

Let’s have some fun with the lesson.  Have the children help you out, by reading parts.

Teacher:  Here begins the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.  From the Bible, in the Book of Isaiah, who was a prophet ..God said

God:  Look I am sending my messenger before you, and he will prepare your way.  He is a voice shouting in the wilderness.  Prepare a pathway for the Lord’s coming!  Make a straight road for Him!  Fill in the valleys, level the mountains and the hills!  Straighten out the curves!  Smooth out the rough places!  And then all people will see the salvation that is sent from God.

Teacher:  This messenger was John the Baptist.  A message came from God to John, who was living out in the wilderness.  John began to preach in the Judean Wilderness.

John the Baptist:  People should be baptized to show that they have turn to God to be forgiven.  Because the Kingdom of Heaven is near.

Teacher:  John wasn’t saying that you are forgiven of your sins just by being baptized.  What he was saying was that you should turn to God to be forgiven of your sins and then be baptized to show others that you have turn to God. 

John was different than other men.  His clothes were made from camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist.  His food was locusts and wild honey.  People came from Jerusalem, all over Judea, and all over the Jordan Valley.  The people came to see and hear John preach.  When the people confessed their sins, John would baptize them in the Jordan River.  John was preaching to a crowd of people, and he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to be baptized. Pharisees and Sadducees were Jewish Priests. And John said,

John the Baptist:  You bunch of snakes!  Who warned you to run from God’s coming judgment?  Prove by the way you live, that you have really turned from your sins and turned to God.  Don’t just say, we’re safe, for we have Abraham as our father.  That proves nothing!  God can change these stones here into the children of Abraham.  Even now the ax of God’s judgment is raised, ready to cut your roots.

Teacher:  Now what is John talking about here?   John knew that the priests followed the law of God, but they didn’t understand the Word of God.  For John wanted them to turn from their sins and turn back to following God. So John called them a bunch of snakes.  
How do we prove by the way we live, that we have turned from our sins and turned to God?  Just to name a few things: You obey your parents, don’t lie about anything, and don’t steal anything.  God sees everything you do, and He hears everything you say, so watch what you do, and what you say, and obey Him. 

When John said, “Don’t just say, we’re safe, for we have Abraham as our father.”  What did he mean? To put that so you will understand it, let’s use an example:  Say you are the child of a judge.  Now, you go out and steal something, are you to get away without being punished for stealing, just because you are the child of a judge.  No, you would be punished just as anyone else would be.  That’s what John was talking about, just because they were children of Abraham didn’t mean God would let them get away with doing anything they wanted to do.  They had to obey God. 

When John said, “God can change these stones here into children of Abraham.  How can God to that?  Nothing is impossible for God.  Just think, God create the world we live in, the animals around us, and He created people as well.  If God can do all of this, He can do anything.

When John said, “Even now the ax of God’s judgment is raised, ready to cut your roots.  What does that mean?  Okay, let’s do another example:  When you disobey your parents and keep on disobeying them.  What do you think your parents will do?  Mine would punish me.  That’s the same way with God, when you keep disobeying God and don’t turn back to Him, and ask for forgiveness and start obeying Him, in the end He will judge you.  When you no longer obey God and turn to do evil whose child do you become, God’s child or the devil’s child?  Think about it.  Now, John went on to say,

John the Baptist:  Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.

Teacher: What does that mean?  John isn’t really talking about trees or fruit like we would think of.  Example again:  If people say they are Christians, but they keep living their lives disobeying God and refusing to turn to God.  They aren’t really Christians they are just saying they are. But, God knows the differences!  If you are a real Christian other people know it, by the way you treat them and others, and Christians will do their best to obey God, and not give in to temptation, and they love to tell others about their faith in Jesus, and what Jesus has done for them. 

John has really been preaching to these people.  So the crowd of people asked him,

The people:  What should we do?

John the Baptist:  If you have two coats, give one to the poor.  If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.

Teacher:  Some corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized also,

Tax Collectors:  Teacher, what should we do?

John the Baptist:  Show that you are honest, make sure that you collect no more taxes than the Roman Government tells you to.

Teacher: There were even some soldiers that came to be baptized.

Soldiers:  What should we do?

John the Baptist:  Don’t take money by violence or threats, and don’t accuse people of things that you know they didn’t do.  And be happy with your pay.

Teacher:  Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know if John might be the Messiah.  Even the Jewish leader wanted an answer to that.  So they sent priests and temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John,

Temple people:  Do you claim to be the Messiah?

John the Baptist:  I am not the Messiah

Temple people:  Well, then, who are you?  Are you Elijah?

John the Baptist:  No

Temple people:  Are you the Prophet?

John the Baptist:  No

Temple people:  Then who are you?  Tell us, so we can give an answer to those who sent us.  What do you have to say about yourself?

John the Baptist:  I am a voice shouting in the wilderness.  Prepare a straight pathway for the Lord’s coming!

Temple people:  If you aren’t the Messiah, or Elijah, or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?

John the Baptize:  I baptize with water those who turn from their sins and turn to God.  But right here in the crowd is someone you do not know, who will soon begin His ministry.  He is far greater than I am.  He is so much greater that I am not even worthy to be His slave.  I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Teacher:  Do you know who John the Baptist is talking about?  It was Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Well that the end of our play, we hope you enjoyed it.

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