Skip to main content

Bible Skills and Games Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for Teaching "Isaiah Foretells the Messiah" in Sunday School.

Post your Sunday School Bible skills and games lessons, ideas, activities, and resources for teaching children about Isaiah's prophecies of the Messiah here, including lessons teaching about the names of Jesus.

In addition to all our public lesson ideas, the Writing Team has written a wonderful Isaiah Promised ~ Jesus Fulfilled lesson set that includes a great Bible Games Workshop lesson plan with creative games and demonstrations with flashlights that illuminate the "great light" Isaiah spoke of, "enlightening" your students, and teaching them how to reflect that light!


Images (1)
  • WTLessonSetAdvent
Last edited by Amy Crane
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Here are two demonstrations with discussion about Isaiah passages (Jesus bringing Light into the world and "God with us") that feel like 'games' that you can 'play' with your students.

1. Flashlight fun: "Darkness/Light"

Isaiah 9:2  "The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light."

Ideally, you will do this demonstration in a totally dark room, if your church has one.  If not, use the blindfold option.

Blindfold Option: Students are blindfolded and slowly move around the classroom. Have a spotter-helper.

Use this exercise to begin to unpack the concept of "darkness" as a metaphor for people who have lost their way in life, lost their hope, lost their values, lost their connection to God.  (I'm sketching this idea, you will need to flesh it out to your students as you wish.)

Isaiah 9 describes Jerusalem in Isaiah's day. Before you turn off the light, read the whole passage and then turn off the light. Discuss how darkness makes you feel. (It can create anxiety and fear, especially if it's the kind of darkness that has bad things in it, and not simply a dark room!) Ask this question:  "If you knew you were in darkness, how exciting would it be to be told that LIGHT WAS COMING!  Even if it wasn't going to happen soon, how would it make you feel to know that God was coming to help in a special way?"  (You might also point out that some people avoid light even when they see it, while others are drawn to it.)

flashlight-for-Jesus-light-in-darkness-Isaiah-gamesNow turn on your bright flashlight in the dark room. What does the light do? How does it make you feel when you see it?  What's its purpose?  (Remember, this is a metaphor!)  The light helped the people "walking" in darkness. How does light help us get where we are going?

For this next part, temporarily turn on the lights...

Now pull out a roll of tinfoil and tear off BIG sheets for each student. Turn off the classroom lights and have them experiment with reflecting the flashlight light using various techniques.

-see how much the room lights up when the flashlight is aimed at one person's foil.

-have students assemble several sheets to see how much light they can reflect.

-have students attempt to 'relay' the beam of light across the room.

Now make the connection between the experiments and experience AND what we know about Christ's light, and our role in reflecting that light to others in darkness.

Final Light Metaphor Option!

Now in that dark room, demonstrate how we know God is with us by his light  --even though we don't see God (or at least in the darkened room we only see the flashlight-holder dimly).

We often know and feel God's presence by what God does.... he provides light/wisdom  ...a pathway.  Growth, warmth, exposing the dark, dispelling fear in the darkness, etc. (all the things that light does).  Shine your flashlight on several objects you have placed around the room and relate them to the light Jesus brings and his presence:  a Bible, a picture of a person in need, the way out of the room, the light switch, etc. (use your imagination!).

Talk about how God shows us things we need to see. "Now if  you close your eyes to God you can't see anything that God is trying to show you." You might think God doesn't exist because you close your eyes to the things God is doing in your life and around you.

NOTE: you can extend the flashlight activity by having the students decorate the flashlights as a reminder of the lesson, as described here.

2.  God with Us "20 Questions" Demonstration

Isaiah 7:14  "And you shall call his name Immanuel." (which means, "God with us")

The following exercise demonstrates the idea of someone being 'with us' though not being seen or immediately known, and the ways in which we might be able to tell 'who' is with us. It is meant to create a memorable experience about the word "Immanuel" and open up further discussion.

Prior to class, invite 2 adults to arrive outside the classroom door so that the students cannot see them. You may accomplish this by creating a barrier, or keeping the door closed. Tell the class that they are to try to guess who the first 'guest' is by playing "20 questions."  The guest will respond by writing their YES or NO answers on a piece of paper and slipping them to the teacher under the door (or around the blind).  

Note: Some questions should be out of bounds, such as, "are you male or female" this will be a problem for the second guest!

After the kids guess who the first guest is, repeat the process with the second guest. However, the second guest is taking on the role of God. This time, tell the students that they are NOT to GUESS OUT LOUD who they think it is behind the door/blind.  Instead, they are to keep their opinions to themselves, and when prompted, WRITE DOWN their guess and pass it in.  

The teacher should decide how many questions are 'enough' to ask the mystery guest, and when to invite students to submit 'who' they think the guest is.  Depending on your age group, the teacher may need to ask specific questions to help students along. Such as "are you famous?"  Students may not ask direct questions, such as "are you God?" -because they need to write down their guess.

After 'God' is revealed and enters the room, discuss the process of discovery/questioning that just took place.

When did you start to get an idea of who the person was?  

What helped you guess right?

After playing, having the students make a list of GOD'S CHARACTERISTICS

  • all powerful
  • merciful
  • etc.

Now write "Jesus" next to "God" and ask students if all those characteristics describe Jesus as well.

Write the phrase "Emmanuel = God With Us" above your two lists.

Additional discussion questions:

Emmanuel, God With Us

Isaiah 7:14  Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (Which means "God with us.")

How is God "with us" today? What does the way God has chosen to be with us tell you about his heart and presence?

Darkness and Light

Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined.

What is the darkness people walk in? How is doubt or sin like darkness?
What is the "great light" that God is shining and whom does it shine on?

Wonderful Counselor...Prince of Peace

Isaiah 9: 6
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Why did the Creator of the Universe decide to become a baby?
What does it mean to say the Child will be a "Counselor" ??  Do you think of Jesus as your counselor? What are some issues and times Jesus could counsel you about?

By the way: Is his name spelled "Immanuel" or "Emmanuel"?

Both spellings are correct!

Writing in Greek, Matthew spelled it with an "E" because that's how the Hebrew words sounds to a Greek speaker --with a long E, and that's how the Greek version of the Old Testament spelled it. But in Hebrew versions of Isaiah, the first letter is an "i" -even though in Hebrew the "i" can sometimes be vocalized like a long E.  There is a difference of opinion among translators, so depending on your translation, you might just have Immanuel. But most use Immanuel for Isaiah 7:14 and Emmanuel in Matthew 1:23 when the Greek-writing Matthew is quoting Isaiah.


Images (1)
  • flashlight-for-Jesus-light-in-darkness-Isaiah-games
Last edited by Amy Crane

Names of Jesus Building Blocks

My husband said that the Isaiah 9:6 verse always makes him think of climbing a mountain. He explained that it feels like the names are building on each other, reaching to the top.

Have students write the names of Jesus on boxes (shoe boxes?) and do a memory verse STACKING activity.  

Discussion ideas:

  • You could also put a question inside each box, and toss the box to a student to open and answer it.  
  • Think about additional names of Jesus and add more boxes.

Reflection: And finally, you can have each student write an idea about the name, and put it in each box for a reflection reading.


ADD some Bible dictionary work to define and explain what Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Immanuel mean.  These definitions could be written on the underside of their respective box, and be used for a quiz where students see how many boxes (names) they can define correctly in the shortest amount of time.

Alternative: use cups instead of boxes and play cup stacking games, such as those in our Writing Team's Parable of the Lost Coin and Lost Sheep Cup Memory Workshop. (Free for our Supporting Members. Others can see a summary of the lesson here.)


Images (1)
  • names-of-Jesus-box-stacking-game
Last edited by Amy Crane

A "Waiting for the Messiah" Patience Game and Discussion

  1. Kids split into two teams on either side of the room.
  2. One player from each team comes to the middle of the room and sits in a chair facing the other player.
  3. On "go" they must sit quietly STARING at each other. First one to move or crack a smile scores a point for the other team. The players and other team members may not make any distracting moves or sounds. If they do, a point is awarded to the other team. Blinking and slight movements permitted (adjust how your referee this for your age group). (After 60 seconds, award both teams a point.)

Variation: for larger groups, have a pair of kids from each team play at the same time.

Comment: How hard was it to wait/be patient?  What did you do to patiently wait?

4.    Now play a shorter version of the game, allowing one player to try to provoke a smile or response from the other (without touching or coming within 1 foot of the other player).  Set a time limit of 30 seconds. Award a point to the team whose player waits out the distraction without smiling.

ASK: How hard is it to wait and be still and NOT respond to the other player?  What helps you be patient?  What things in your life are giving you STRESS...and what things are trying to distract you from worshiping God?  What things are distracting people from Peace? from helping others? from enjoying life? from following Jesus? (greed, selfishness, too much homework?)  Write their responses on the board.

Now tell the class the whole story of the Old Testament in under 60 seconds....all the promises given from Abraham through Exodus, to the Kings, and all that the people hoped for (a righteous King they could trust who would protect and provide for them).  

Next, set the stage for what's happening in Isaiah 7 (Emmanuel) and 9 (people who have walked in darkness): 
Northern Israel has been conquered and Jerusalem is under siege by the Assyrian Empire. Judah/Jerusalem's King Ahaz has tried to appease (please) the Assyrians and failed. Ahaz had let the Temple deteriorate and was a bad king. His son Hezekiah fixed the Temple and tried to prepare Jerusalem to hold off the Assyrian army. Isaiah spent his days warning Ahaz and then Hezekiah that disaster was coming. But in the middle of all his warnings, Isaiah relayed God's message of hope for the future, a time when a new kind of King would reign over the people. A Messiah. But it wouldn't happen for 800 more years. (THAT'S PATIENCE!)  

Talk about "why we had to wait."

Question: Why did God take so long and make us wait?

This is an important question to answer with your kids. Have Bibles ready to refer to the passages. You might assign them ahead of time.

Here are some thoughts about 'why' God makes us wait:

Answer 1: Patience produces good things. (aka "Patience is a virtue") As Paul said in Romans 5:3-5 "suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,and hope does not disappoint us...."

Answer 2: God does not view history, time, and suffering like humans do. We don't understand all the reasons why God took 800 years, but we believe it is part of God's larger plan for humanity and history. God doesn't count years like we do. Like Psalm 90 says, "A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night."    It has been said that "life is a lesson we are being taught, and that lesson is that we are not God, and instead, are here to trust God."

Life Application: What this means for me personally is that I am a small part of God's great plan. The things I do are part of a larger plan that I must trust in. Isaiah did not live to see his predictions come true, but they did. I may not live to see the results of my actions either, at least in this life, but I trust God that "all things work together for good...."   (Romans 8:28)

Perhaps people are IMpatient because they think that they "only have so many years to do things before they die."  But as Christians, we believe in heaven. Life continues here without us, and in heaven for us in a way we can only imagine. If you think you must "succeed" in order to get into heaven, then you cannot afford to be patient!  But our access to heaven is not based on our 'works.'  This point of view produces patience, which is a form of HUMILITY.  (This is not to say we should do nothing to change the world. We should! ...but it teaches us that WE are not the center of the universe, God is).

Jesus addresses a similar idea in Luke 6:22-23 -Luke's version of the Beatitudes: "Blessed are you when people hate you, avoid you, insult you, and slander you because you are committed to the Son of Man. Rejoice then, and be very happy! You have a great reward in heaven. That's the way their ancestors treated the prophets."

<>< Neil

Last edited by Amy Crane

Member Joan Eppehimer has posted an Isaiah 6 Relay Race lesson and game instructions here at Here's her video explaining the relay game. The linked post in the Isaiah forum has full details.

1-Kid Frugal Logo [800x318)

Moderator's note: This game lesson is from member Joan Eppehimer's KidFrugal blog.  It is part of a large group of lessons and resources that she developed to make "ministry happen when there are no resources to make it happen" that have been archived at our site. Thank you, Joan, for sharing your creativity with our community!

You can read more about Joan and her ministry here.


Images (1)
  • 1-Kid Frugal Logo (800x318)
Last edited by Amy Crane

The following lesson is followed by several adaptations by other members.

Advent: Isaiah / Names of Jesus

Emmanuel, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace

Bible Skills and Games Workshop

Activity Summary:
Play a game based on "Wheel of Fortune" to help the participants learn a variety of names for Jesus.

Scripture: Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6-7a
Key/Memory Verse: Isaiah 9:6

Objectives for Workshop

  • To learn some of the other names that Jesus is called.
  • To become aware that a prophet named Isaiah foretold the coming of the Messiah years before the birth of Jesus.

Preparation and Materials

  • Cardboard cartons (2) or poster board (for dice)
  • Gameboard
  • Index cards, 4" x 6"
  • Journals
  • Markers
  • Newsprint or paper
  • Prizes (Optional)
  • Rubber bands
  • Scissors

Advance Preparation Requirements

Make two dice from cardboard cartons or from poster board. On one die, print the words "Lose Turn" on one side and one of the point amounts on each of the other 5 sides -- 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500.

Print each letter of a name for Jesus, found in Isaiah, on a separate index card. Include the words Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, and Immanuel. Put a rubber band around each set of cards.

Adaptation for use with younger children (non-readers): print each of the five names listed above plus the name "Jesus" on a separate side of the second die. Add a simple drawing to illustrate the name in each space. Print a point value, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600, on each side of the die. Make a set of six index cards that contain the same names and illustrations.

Since this game is a play on the format of "Wheel of Fortune," prepare a game board, such as a piece of plywood painted an attractive color, that is large enough to hold all of the letters for one set of words. Put a series of nails across the top so a variety of words could be made depending on where the cards are hung. (Or use a clothesline and clothespins.)



Distribute Bibles and help the children find the Scripture passages. Read them aloud. Focus on the names for Jesus that are listed in these verses. Explain that each name helps us learn more about Jesus.


For children who can read, play a game based on "Wheel of Fortune" to help the participants learn a variety of names for Jesus.

Set up the game board with one of the names of Jesus face down: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, and Immanuel.

Divide into teams. Someone, such as a Shepherd or a Teacher will be needed for turning letters and for keeping score. One member of the starting team roles the die and guesses a consonant. If the letter appears in the word, the card(s) are turned to display the letter(s) and the player gets to keep the points. If not, the turn passes to the other team. The turn passes each time but points are only awarded when a letter is found. Point values on the die are 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500. Players may buy a vowel which costs 50 points. There is no guessing early; all letters must be uncovered.

For younger groups, show them the six names for Jesus and the corresponding illustrations on the cards as well as the die. Hang the six cards on the board. Divide into teams, and take turns rolling the die. On each turn the team can remove the name/picture they rolled and keep the point value on the die. The team to remove the last picture may guess or say the name to receive an additional 500 points.


Journal question: Are you ever called by more than one name? what are they and why? Draw a picture of the different roles you play. Now draw a picture of Jesus standing next to you and pick and draw your favorite "title" or name for Jesus.

Silently share your drawing when prompted as the teacher leads a closing prayer of praise using YOUR name and one for Jesus -- for you are both worthy of praise! (you because of Jesus' acceptance and love for you).

Written by: Sheila Butler for

Several members adaptations to the above lesson, have been compiled below for easy reference:

Adaptation #1

by Lisa Martin

Thought I'd share my adaptation, which opens with Sheila Butler's Wheel of Fortune idea, but includes a different "dig" activity.
A New King for All – Temple Courtyard (Games/Story/Bible)

Children will learn passages from the prophets that are commonly referenced as referring to Jesus and make a list of names given to Jesus.

Then they will look up words and phrases in ads that could be used by modern people to describe Jesus and write an advertisement "promoting" Jesus.

Materials Needed
Two dice
Wheel of Fortune type game with words “Wonderful Counselor” “Mighty God” “Everlasting Father” and “Prince of Peace” made into game letters.
Magazines and Newspapers, especially ones with a lot of ads
Dictionary or Thesaurus
Blank mailing labels

Place “Wheel of Fortune” letters up (hidden, of course)

• Divide children into two or three teams. Rules are similar to the Wheel of Fortune Game.
• Teams roll the dice instead of “spinning the wheel.” All numerical amounts are multiplied by 100, so if they roll a six, each letter is worth 600.
• If they guess “L” and there are two “Ls” they get 1200 points.
• Rolling doubles count as “bankrupt” and they lose all their points and their turn.
• It costs 500 to buy a vowel, regardless of how many vowels are up there.
• If a letter is not there, they lose their turn.
• Whichever team has the most points at the end of four rounds wins. Have a small prize for the winners.

Main Activity
Look up Isaiah 9:6-7 and read it together. We don’t know for certain what Isaiah was thinking of when he wrote down this prophesy, but Christians throughout the ages have taken these names to be about Jesus. Using a dictionary or Thesaurus if necessary, come up with definitions for these words and figure out how they help us understand Jesus better.

Now come up with some new names for Jesus.
Have children locate ads that try and sell a product, but which could be adjusted to have meaning about Jesus.

Examples: “Dude, you’re getting a Dell” becomes “Dude, you’re getting a Savior”; “Got milk?” becomes “Got Jesus?”; “Avis, we’ll pick you up,” becomes “Jesus, he’ll pick you up.” etc., etc.

Have them cut and paste the ad, then using a blank label, cover over the product name with Jesus or another phrase.

(For discussion or journaling)
Why is it important to have these “other” names for Jesus?
How do these special names help us understand Jesus better?
Which of the “new” names/ads for Jesus do you like best? Why? What does it say about Jesus?

Adjustments for age levels and abilities
Younger children may need help altering the ads. Allow them to pick ads they like and ask an older child to help them. They will also need help with dictionary definitions.

If time runs short
Keep opening time to under 20 minutes so you have enough time for the main activity. Play only two rounds of the opening game instead of all four.

If you have extra time...
Have kids create an ad for Jesus from scratch.

Contributor: Lisa Martin, Trinity UCC, Pottstown, PA

Adaptation #2

Mary Ann

For our younger kids (K5-2nd grade) I made up a "Go Fishing" game with sets of cards with pictures and names of Jesus that I drew and copied onto cards. We first played a "Memory Game" with the same cards turned over and in rows. Take turns turning over 2 cards and "reading" the names. If they match go again, but keep cards turned up. Then played go fishing. I ran 2 sets of might need more..for 2 groups of 3-4 children.

Adaptation #3

Angela Cook

Our kids love to play hangman. We modified the above slightly by:

  • writing the names of Jesus on an index card.
  • divided into two teams
  • A child would draw a card, then the Shepherd would add the line spaces for hangman.
  • Each child would then spin the wheel and guess a letter. (If they landed on bankrupt, they lost all points.)
  • Their team would then guess a letter and have the chance to solve.
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Add Reply

Post a New Topic
Lesson or Resource Inc. is a volunteer-run, 100% member supported, 501(c)3 non-profit Sunday School lesson ministry. You are welcome to borrow and adapt content for non-commercial teaching purposes --as long as both the site and author are referenced. Inc reserves the right to manage, move, condense, delete, and otherwise improve all content posted to the site. Read our Terms of Service. Get a free Registered Membership or become a Supporting Member for full access to all site resources. is rated 5 stars on Google based on 51 reviews. Serving a global community including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, S. Africa, and more!
Link copied to your clipboard.