“I am … the Way, the Truth and the Life”
Summary: The Way Games #1-try to complete two maze sheets each in only 30 seconds, one is easy, one is impossible. #2-students blocks 2 volunteers way to opposite wall by holding hands until they hear you SAY: “There just has to be a WAY!” The Truth Game #3-each child writes a truth and a lie on an index card. Break into two teams and guess which is the truth and which is the lie. The Life Game #4 Walking around with a pebble in their shoe (represents sin) then they fall and yell, "Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” , followed by a Jesus took our sin object lesson.
Goals for this workshop: Children will …
- Play games having to do with the way and the truth
- Play a game about needing help after they’ve fallen and only one person can help them up (the life)
- Learn what sin is and that Jesus is the only one who can remove it
- Learn that Jesus took our place for the punishment for sin when he died on the cross
NOTE: There’s a lot packed into this lesson. Move quickly through the games, so you can cover all the material, but allow them time to reflect on each activity.
- Mazes (two - one very simple, one very difficult)
- Index Cards
- Pebbles (small - they will be putting in their shoes)
- Pot Lid
- Reflection Activity Sheet (attached to end this lesson), print one per student.
- Read the scripture ahead of time.
- Gather the materials.
Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Welcome kids warmly to your workshop. Have them sit on the floor in a circle. Introduce yourself and tell them one quick thing about yourself that will make them say “wow!”.
Say: We have a lot of games to play and lots to cover so let’s get going!
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Game #1 – The Way
Begin by passing out a clipboard, a pencil, and a simple maze to each child. Tell them to try to complete the maze in 30 seconds (time them)!
Once they’ve all finished you can ask if it was easy or hard. Then have them flip their paper over to complete another maze. This one will be very complicated. Time them again for 30 seconds …. They of course won’t be able to complete it.
ASK: Was one of these mazes easier than the other? In the first maze, how did you know which way to go? In the second one was finding the way easier or harder?
Tell them if they want to take their maze home to finish, write their name on it and give to the shepherd to distribute at the end of class.
GAME #2 – The Way
Ask for 2 volunteers and have them stand along one wall. Without them hearing, gather the rest of the class together and explain that their job is to block the volunteers from touching the opposite wall. They are not to use their hands to touch the people at all, but they should all lock arms together to just block the way, all in one big group. Also please explain that they are not allowed to hurt the volunteers in any way and to be gentle. Tell them they are to listen to you at all times and as soon as they hear you say the word “WAY” they are to all drop arms and freeze right where they are. No moving, no blocking, just stand there.
Tell the 2 volunteers that their job is to try to get through to the opposite wall and just touch it. Tell them it won’t be easy but you have confidence they’ll be able to do it. Ready, set, go!
After the volunteers block for a short time, SAY: “There just has to be a WAY!” (Emphasize the word WAY so the kids hear it) The group should drop arms and freeze, which will allow the 2 volunteers to get through to the wall. You can repeat this a few times. Then hyave everyone to come sit in a circle on the floor.
ASK: Did the mazes you worked on have a place you were supposed to get to? Did our game have a place the 2 volunteers were trying to get to? For both one way was easy and one way was hard, wasn’t it?
WRITE on the whiteboard, “Jesus said, “I am the way” Have them read it out loud together.
ASK: I wonder what Jesus meant by this? (allow for answers but don’t respond)
GAME #3 – The Truth
Divide the kids into 2 groups. You will work with one group and the shepherd will work with the second group.
Hand out index cards and pencils to all. Have them write their name on the top of the card first. Tell them that each person is to come up with one truth about themselves and one lie and write them both on the same side of the card. They can write either the truth or the lie first. Tell them that the lie should not be obvious, but sound like it could be the truth also. An obvious lie would be one that someone would know right away – like “I live in a palace” or “I eat ice cream for every meal”. (Note: With the K/1 group you and the shepherd will do the writing.)
Give them this example about yourself to demonstrate: (fill in one with the truth)
I was born in ___________________ (city and state)
I have 2 dogs, 4 cats, 6 fish and 1 hamster.
Ask: Which is the truth and which is the lie?
You and the shepherd may need to help the kids with ideas. Again, move through it quickly, don’t dwell on it too long. After everyone has finished have each team sit in a line facing each other.
Going back and forth from team to team, you or the shepherd will read one card from your team at a time, saying the child’s name, having them hand you their card, and then reading the 2 statements. The other team guesses which is the truth and which is the lie. They should all decide together before voting. Go down the line back and forth from one team to the next.
When you’re finished, go to the chalkboard --- where you have previously written “Jesus said, “I am the way” add this to it, “and the truth”.
Have the kids read the whole sentence with you.
ASK: Is truth important? I wonder what Jesus meant by saying HE was the truth? (allow for answers but don’t respond)
GAME #4 – The Life
ASK: What’s the opposite of death? (Life) God wants us to be with him forever, even after our bodies die. This is called “eternal life” and it’s a life spent with God and Jesus in heaven.
Jesus told the TRUTH – and IS the truth -- he is the WAY to get to God and heaven.
Write on the chalkboard after “Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth” add “and the life”. SAY: that makes Jesus the LIFE, the everlasting eternal life!
ASK if they know what sin is. It’s anything that we do or don’t do to disobey God. Our sin can hurt ourselves, others and God.
It is also not just doing "sinful things" that break God's law; it is wanting to be in charge of our own lives.
TELL them that in the Bible the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans that “we ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God.” Which means every person who ever has, is and will be alive, sins - some more than others, but we all disappoint God when we sin. Our sin keeps us separated from God. We can’t be as close as God wants us to be with sin blocking the way.
Say: We’re going to have these pebbles represent sin.
Give each of the kids one small pebble and tell them to put it in their shoe. Ask them if it’s comfortable. Sitting it might be, but now walk around a bit. Distribute small slips of paper and pencils. Ask: What is a sin that you have done, maybe recently or maybe long ago that you need to ask God for forgiveness for?
Tell them to write it on the slip of paper, fold it up and place it in the clear glass (that you’ll bring out now) and remember that the pebble in their shoe also represents that sin.
Once everyone has their paper in the glass, the following game:
HELP I’VE FALLEN AND I CAN’T GET UP!
Have the kids walk around for awhile with their pebble/sin in their shoe then after a short time, have them all fall down to the ground and stay there. Ask if they’ve ever heard of the funny saying “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” from a TV commercial. Have them all call out those words and stay on the floor.
Tell them that sometimes we refer to being sinful as being “fallen”. Our sins make us fall and we can’t get up alone.
Have kids stay sitting and watch as you do this illustration:
Put the glass with their paper “sins” on the floor near you where all the kids can see it. Secretly hide a lid from a pot behind you.
Say: From the very beginning of time when God created Adam and Eve and they sinned by disobeying God, God decided that there would be punishment for sin. The papers inside the glass represent all the sins the world has ever done and will ever do in the future – your sins, my sins, everyone’s sins. The glass represents us. God said that because of our sins after we die we should just stay dead forever.
Take out the hammer and give a couple pretend swings at the glass like you’re aiming at it to hit and smash it.
Raise up the hammer high like you’re going to smash it and then at the last moment bring out a lid from a pot from behind you protecting it and hit the hammer on the lid instead of the glass.
Say: Do you know what or who the pot lid represents? Jesus! Jesus took our place and died on the cross to cover all the sins that people have ever done and will ever do …including ours. He saved us! Our bodies will die someday but …
There is only one WAY to be forgiven – to get back up after you’ve fallen – to get back to close relationship with God when you sin. What is it? By praying to God and naming your sin, asking God for forgiveness, and believing that when Jesus died on the cross he died for your sins.
Jesus is the way, not us, not our confessions, not anything WE do. What Jesus wants is for us to RECOGNIZE what he has done for us: unconditionally forgiven us, and showing us the way back to a right relationship with God, ...and then to have us RESPOND with confession, belief, and service.
In fact, God was not going to bash us at all, because JESUS is God. Jesus did not STOP God from punishing us. God was in Christ telling us that he is LOVE, not a hammer!!! Through Jesus, God was showing us the WAY HOME.
Tell the kids to spend a moment in silent prayer asking for forgiveness for the sin they wrote down and is the pebble in their shoe.
Then tell them to wait until you come to them and go around to each of them individually and say:
“God forgives and forgets your sin when you confess your sins. Jesus helps you up when you’ve fallen! Take out the pebble sin from your shoe and put it in the garbage can you are holding.” Then reach for their hand and help them up. You can ask the shepherd to help with this so it goes faster. You may even ask the kids to tell each other this.
After you finish, distribute activity sheet handouts, clipboards and pencils. The activity sheet has:
“Jesus said I am the WAY” with an arrow by it.
“Jesus said I am the TRUTH” with a cross by it
“Jesus said I am the LIFE” with a heart by it.
Have them take turns reading the verses (John 14:1-6) – read it to the K/1st graders. After reading through the verses, ask:
Jesus said “I am the WAY” – I wonder what he meant by that. (pause to allow for answers, but don’t respond yourself)
Say: On the arrow draw or write something to help you remember why and how Jesus is the WAY.
Allow a minute or so then repeat this with the following:
Jesus said “I am the TRUTH” – I wonder what he meant by that. (pause to allow for answers, but don’t respond yourself)
Say: On the cross draw or write something to help you remember why and how Jesus is the TRUTH.
Allow a minute or so then repeat this with the following:
Jesus said “I am the LIFE” – I wonder what he meant by that. (pause to allow for answers, but don’t respond yourself)
Say: On the heart draw or write something to help you remember why and how Jesus is the LIFE.
If they need help you can mention to remind them:
Jesus is the WAY to God the Father and heaven
Jesus is the TRUTH – he is God – we can read the Bible for truth
Jesus is the LIFE – eternal life
Allow a shepherd to close in prayer.
Source: The “life” discussion and glass/hammer/potlid demonstration inspired by Neil MacQueen’s post.
Attachment: I am-the Way_the Truth_and the Life_Game Workshop Reflection Activity Sheet.pdf (A special resource created by rotation.org especially for use with this lesson. Copyright 2018)
A lesson posted by Jan from: First Presbyterian
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.