Jesus as a Young Boy in the Temple
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Each child will create a “Book of Gifts” to record skills and talents God has given them. Create a cover for this book by making a marble painting to signify the search by Mary and Joseph for Jesus, and their search for their unique talents. (Use a “Stick and Elastic Band” construction method for the book.)
“The child Jesus grew. He became strong and wise, and God blessed him.” Luke 2:40 (CEV)
Workshop Objectives — After completing this Rotation, participants will be able to:
- Name that the story is found in the New Testament.
- For 3rd grade and up: Locate the story in Luke. Identify the four Gospels.
- Retell the story of Jesus in the Temple as a young boy, in his/her own words.
- Recognize that by staying behind in the Temple, Jesus is placing a high priority on learning about God.
- Discover that one way to learn about God is to worship with others in community.
- Consider that we each have talents and gifts from God, and conclude that it is our task to discover our unique gifts and to put them to use by serving others to the Glory of God.
- Read the scripture for this lesson.
- Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
- Gather the materials
- Easel; appropriate maker
- Bibles; For 1st and 2nd graders: The Praise Bible
- Easel; an appropriate marker
- Box lids or trays (approx. 6) that are deep enough to contain a rolling marble
- Pre-printed cardstock (one per student; 4.25 x 11") with a simple puzzle on it such as a dot-to-dot drawing of Jesus
- 8.5 x 11” white or light-colored paper (two per student)
- Sticks (from the great outdoors!) approx. 4.5 inches long & 3/8” or less in diameter (one per student)
- Rubber bands (one per student)
- Hair dryer (to speed up paint drying); extension cord
- Hole punch (several)
- Colored Pencils
- Marbles (at least six)
- Smaller containers for paint (at least six)
- Paint – acrylic or liquid tempera – in three primary colors
- Paint shirts
- Wet wipes and paper towels
- Table covers for one table
Before Start of Class:
- Refer to the web site with book creation instructions by Susan K. Gaylord, “Stick and Elastic Band Book.”
- Write the key Bible verse on the easel.
- Bookmark the leader’s Bible at the very start of the New Testament & at Luke 2:40.
- For 3rd grade and up: Distribute Bibles around the seats at the tables.
- Pour a small portion of paint into the small containers. (Not much is needed.)
- For larger groups create two containers of each color. Place a marble or two in each color of paint. Leave one marble “clean” – i.e., not in paint.
- Lay out the table covers. Set out painting supplies. (I recommend using a separate table for the painting process.)
- For younger students, pre-fold for each student two sheets of paper for book pages and tuck one sheet inside the other. (Refer to web site instructions.) Punch two holes through all layers ¼ inch from folded edge. Set these aside.
Opening – Welcome & Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Art Workshop. Ask the Shepherd to take care of attendance/nametags while you are starting your lesson. Pick up the leader’s Bible.
Say: Let’s start off with getting to know each other by everyone taking a turn at saying your name and something that you’ve had to search for recently; maybe a new classroom, or a new friend, or something you’ve misplaced.
Do: Say your name, and something for which you’ve recently searched. Allow all to share. [Note: we are doing this Rotation in September, thus the "get to know you" portion of this lesson.]
Say: In our Bible story today we will find people searching. Mary and Joseph are searching for Jesus, who is at the time, 12 years old. Mary and Joseph think that Jesus is lost. They can’t find him anywhere! Meanwhile, Jesus is searching for something entirely different. Jesus is searching for something that all of us look for! If we listen carefully we’ll learn an important truth that will help us on our search. First let’s start with prayer.
Say: At the end of the prayer, I will allow a time when you can pray silently for one need you have, and for one thing for which you are thankful to God. Then we’ll use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending to our prayer. Let’s talk to God!
Do: A suggested prayer: “Dear God, Thank you for everyone that is here today. Be with those who could not be here. We are thankful for the chance to learn about ways that you’d like us to grow and to become wise. Help us to figure out the special blessings that you have given us, that we might be able to use them for your glory. Lord, now you will hear each of us pray silently, sharing a need and a thankful… (Don’t rush the silence!) End with everyone joining in on the Lord’s Prayer. Amen.
Dig - Main Content & Reflection:
For 1st and 2nd graders:
Ask: If we want to read a story in the Bible about Jesus, where would we find it – in the Old Testament or the New Testament of the Bible?
Do: As you say the next words, show the two portions of the Bible.
Say: The Bible contains two Testaments or two major sections – the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament was the Bible that Jesus had when he was your age. The New Testament includes stories about Jesus. Since our story is about Jesus we find in the New Testament, in the Gospel of Luke. Listen as I read from a story Bible.
Do: Read them the story on pages 254 -258 of The Praise Bible. Show the pictures as you read.
For 3rd grade and up:
Ask: Where in the Bible would we read about Jesus? (in the New Testament)
What are the first four books of the New Testament? (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)
What do we call those first four books? (the Gospels)
Say: The word “gospel” means good news. Stories about how Jesus came to live, as God’s son among people – to grow just like us – is good news!
Do: Make sure that everyone has access to a Bible. Have everyone find Luke 2:41. Since these students visit later in the Rotation, ask the students to tell you the story. If necessary, check their Bibles for details.
Ask: Mary and Joseph were searching for Jesus. They thought that he was lost! After three days, where did they find Jesus? (at the Temple)
Say: A Temple is what we would call a church. It was the gathering place for all people who wanted to worship God, and for those who wanted to learn to know God.
Ask: Mary and Joseph were searching for Jesus. Jesus was also searching, but not for a person! He was searching for something completely different. Can anyone tell me what Jesus was searching for? It is something that you’ve looked for, probably without even realizing it. (allow a few ideas)
If no one knows…
Say: Let me read this verse from the Bible. See if this helps us figure out what Jesus is searching for.
Do: Read Luke 2:46. Emphasize the words: “and asking them questions.”
Say: Jesus was listening and talking to the Bible teachers. He was looking to learn about God! He was searching to discover who God was and what God wanted him to do!
Ask: Have you ever wondered the same thing: who God is and what he wants from you? (pause for 5 seconds)
Say: What does God want from you? Let’s say that you really like to help people; it gives you a warm feeling deep inside when you can assist someone. That is a gift from God! You are a helper! What does God want from you? God want you to use your helper-ability, to do lots of helping! We say that God blesses us. God gives everyone skills, and wants us to use our skills.
Say: I would like you to be thinking of what abilities God has given you. We’ll be making a special book where we can list those skills, or draw pictures of our special abilities; abilities that we can share with others. Our book will have a very interesting cover that will help us to remember our Bible story. We are going to be creating a marble painting.
Do: Hold one of the painting trays and show a “clean” marble. Explain that the marble will be first dipped in paint and then rolled over a paper to create the book cover. Place the marble in the tray and roll it around in the tray as you say…
Say: As a marble with paint on it rolls inside of this tray, it will create random trails of color. It’s like the marble is Mary and Joseph looking for Jesus. He’s not there. So let’s look in this corner. [Roll the marble to another corner.] Here’s not there. Let’s look over here. Or perhaps the marble is me and I am looking for my special talents. Hmm, am I am helper? [Roll the marble.] Or am I good with music? Or am I good at making things?
Say: So our marble paintings will become the cover of our book of talents. Let’s start working on our book covers. We will have to take turns making our marble paintings. While you are waiting you can create book pages.
Start the art project:
Say: I am passing out the paper that we will use to paint on with a marble. You will notice that this paper is not blank! It is a connect-the-dots puzzle. First, turn the paper over and write your name on the back. Then take your pencil and starting at the number 1, which is in the middle of the page, draw a line to connect all of the numbers.
Do: Distribute a pencil and a dot-to-dot paper to each student. Keep on talking as students work!
Say: In order to figure out what our special talents from God are, it takes some searching. It takes some study. It can be like a puzzle.
Ask: Why do you suppose God gives us gifts? (allow a few replies)
Say: God gives us gifts because God loves us! God loves us so much that his very best gift was to send his son Jesus to live on earth, to grow and be human just like us. God gives us each special gifts. Your gifts are different than my gifts. God blesses us each in different ways, because God needs us to be his hands and his feet in this world.
When the first student completes their dot-to-dot…
Do: Ask one student to help you demonstrate the painting process to the rest of the class. Inform the Shepherd that you will need them to take charge of this process.
Demonstrate the process using the “clean” marble.
- Offer the student a painting shirt.
- Have student place their paper in a tray (Jesus dot-to-dot side up) and using one marble at a time, roll on color.
- When done with that color, place the marble back into the appropriate paint container.
- Wipe their fingers! Choose another color marble to paint with.
- Repeat if desired.
- When done, lay their painting aside and use wet wipes to clean their fingers.
Have students take turns in groups to paint.
If there is an extra helper in the room, have them use the hair dryer to speed the paint drying. Otherwise the Shepherd can do this task later. Perhaps do this out in the hall to reduce the noise in the classroom.
Do: Leave the Shepherd in charge of the painting. Return your focus to the rest of the class.
For younger students:
Do: Distribute a set of pre-punched book pages to each student.
For older students:
Do: Distribute 2 sheets of paper to each student. Show them how to fold, and hole punch the book pages. [Use the drawings on page two to guide this process.]
For all students:
Do: Show them how the book pages will be oriented – with the punched holes at the top. Distribute colored pencils. Encourage them to write and/or draw their gifts from God. They may want to draw themselves sharing their gift.
Questions to ask to help in identifying gifts: What do you like to do?
- Do you like to tell people “good job?” You have the gift of encouragement.
- Do you like to teach people new things? -- You are a teacher.
- Does giving to others make you joyful? – You are generous
- Do you always like to be first or the best? – You are a leader.
- Do you keep your room tidy and neat? – You have the gift of being organized.
- Do you like to sing? – You have the gift of making music.
- Do you like to share your toys? – You are generous.
- Students may choose to list/illustrate a gift that they would like to develop. Perhaps they could list/draw things that would help them to achieve this.
Do: Ask each student, individually to tell you about a gift they have identified.
Discussion: (once everyone is working on pages)
[Important Note: Some banter between students about off-topic material is ok however, don’t miss what is an opportune time to discuss the story! It is in this discussion that God’s character can be revealed.]
Say: By listening and by asking questions at the Temple, Jesus was learning about God and about his relationship with God. He was also amazing those around him with his answers and understanding. He was revealing his talents and gifts!
Ask: Do you suppose, as a 12 year old, that Jesus understood what his role in life would be – that he was the Messiah that everyone had been waiting for?
Say: The Bible doesn’t tell us the answer to this question. We don’t know for sure what Jesus thought about his calling in life. From this story we do know that he considered it important that he spend time in what he called “his father’s house.” The Temple was a place of worship and learning just like our church. Jesus felt that it was important to talk to the teachers to learn as much as he could and to share his knowledge – to teach others about God.
Ask: How do we learn from church?
How do you feel about being at church – do you feel that you “belong” here?
Say: One reason we come to church is because we need to be able to be a part of a group of people who share our same experiences. We would call this “experiencing community.” These other people here at church can help us to find God in our lives.
Assembling a book:
Do: Fold the cover and using the hole-punched pages as a guide, use a pencil to mark where the two holes should go on the cover. Punch the holes in the cover. Assemble all of the pages and the cover. Take a rubber band and poke it through one of the holes. (Use a pencil if needed.) Place the stick on the cover (with the dot-to-dot) and encircle one end of the rubber band around the stick.
Thread the other end of the rubber band through the other hole and around the other end of the stick.
Say: Jesus felt that he belonged at the Temple, learning about God and teaching others about God. The Bible tells us that after Jesus was found in the Temple, that he went home with his parents. Jesus was 12 in this story so he had lots of growing to do – both growing taller and wiser and in his knowledge about God.
Do: Refer to the easel. Read the key verse.
Say: This week, may you become stronger and wiser, and may God bless you.
- Gaylord, Susan K. “Stick and Elastic Band Book.” 1999-2013. http://www.makingbooks.com/elastic.shtml
- Thomas, Mack. The Praise Bible. Colorado Springs: Waterbrook Press, 1998.
- Visit Carol's blog – where we encourage parents to continue the learning at home. (Conflict of Interest Disclosure? None, Carol does not make any money from her blog.)
A lesson written by Carol Hulbert, Melissa Hart, and Chris Steinman Nelson from:
First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI
Copyright 2013 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI. Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material.
If you use this material, even in a modified form, please include the following reference:
Hulbert, Carol, et al. "Jesus as a Young Boy in the Temple – Art Workshop." Sept./13. Place URL where lesson found inside angle brackets<>.
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