March 5, 2017
Bible Reference: Matthew 4: 1-11
I. Welcome: Good Morning girls and boys! I am so happy to see you all this morning! Do we have any new friends with us? (Welcome new friends.)
II. Church Practice: (light altar candles)
We light these candles to remind us that Christ is the light of the world. We remember that God is always with us, that Jesus lives in our hearts and that we are inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit. We have changed the cloth on our Children’s Chapel altar. What color is our cloth today? You are right! We have changed our cloth from green to purple because we are now in a new season in the church year. Who can tell me the name of this new season in our church year? (Allow answers?) Yes, you are right! The new liturgical season we are now in is called Lent. Who would like to move the arrow on our liturgical calendar? (Allow one child to come up to the calendar to move the arrow forward one week.) The arrow is now pointing to the first purple square which is the same color as the cloth that we have on our altar. You will also notice that in big church we the altar frontal, church dressings, and clergy stoles are purple. Today we will talk more about the season of Lent and why it is important in the church. Before we begin our Bible lesson today, let us pray.
III. Opening Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are here to worship and praise you. Open our hearts and minds so that we may hear your words spoken to us through the Bible story today. During this season of Lent draw us near to you and give us strength that we may serve you through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives, and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
IV. Introduction: During the church year we enter into the season of Lent in order that we may turn away from the ways of the world and draw nearer to God as we think about Jesus’ last days before he died upon the cross for all of us. Lent begins with a day called “Ash Wednesday” and lasts for 40 days. Today I want to share with you a little booklet about Ash Wednesday (Read aloud “Ash Wednesday: The First Day of Lent” by Sara Ipatenco. Discuss each page as you read and as questions arise from the children.) I will be sending you home with your own little Ash Wednesday booklet to color and talk about more with your family. I wonder why the season of Lent is 40 days long. There is a clue about why the season of Lent lasts for 40 days in our Bible story today.
V. Bible Story: Matthew 4: 1-11 (Read Aloud)
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” 7Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” 11Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
Children’s Bible Reference: pages 208-209 of the “Jesus Storybook Bible”
After Jesus’ baptism, he went out into the desert to be by himself, away from others to pray and to fast or to eat little to no food. I wonder why Jesus wanted to get away by himself? Jesus was about to begin his ministry in the world that would eventually lead to his death on the cross. Jesus went out by himself into the desert so that all he could hear was God’s voice speaking to him. But there was someone else who came to him in the desert that he could not get away from completely. Who was that person? Yes, it was the the devil. While Jesus away, praying and fasting, the devil came to Jesus and tempted him saying, “If you really are the Son of God, turn those stones into bread so that you will have food to eat.” But Jesus turned away from the devil and turned towards God. The devil continued to tempt Jesus and again, Jesus turned away from temptation and turned towards God. Jesus was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights before he began his ministry.
We enter into the church season of Lent to remind us of Jesus’ time in the desert. It was not easy for Jesus to spend all of that time away without food and all by himself. Even Jesus was tempted by the devil, but Jesus turned away from the temptations and resisted the devil trusting in God alone. In the same way, we are tempted every day. We may not have the devil appearing before us telling us to turn stones into bread, or to jump from a cliff and command that the angels save us to prove that we are the Son of God, but we are tempted by other things that may not even seem like bad choices at the time. We may be tempted to take a cookie and eat it in secret when mom or dad has said not to eat it. We may be tempted to say a hurtful or mean word to our brother or sister or friend when we don’t get our way. We may be tempted to play on our iPads all day instead of going outside on a nice sunny day to play. There are many, many ways we are tempted daily and that we choose to turn away from God. We are not perfect as Jesus was perfect. Jesus resisted the temptations of the devil and turned towards God. Jesus also died for our sins so that we would not have to. During the season of Lent, we think of how Jesus prayed and fasted and turned away from temptation during those 40 days in the desert and beyond. Lent is a time that we remember Jesus’ 40 days in the desert and it is a time that we also ask God to strengthen us as we trust in him so that we may turn away from temptation and love him and others as we are asked by God to do. We will never love God or others perfectly, but the good news is that even past the season of Lent, God will always be with us and will strengthen us with his love as we trust in him day by day.
VII. Closing Prayer: Let us all pray the Lord’s Prayer together.Response Activity (Crafts, Singing, or another activity will be