Lesson Prep

Background Scripture (read 2-3 times during the week)

John 3:1-21; John 7:45-53; John 19:39

Story Summary

The story of Jesus teaching Nicodemus contains the most famous Bible verse of them all, John 3:16. Let's look at this person named Nicodemus who approached Jesus at night to speak with him.

  • Nicodemus was a member of the Jewish ruling council, so he was a very important person in Israel at the time.
  • He came to Jesus at night (some might say this was the first Nic at Night…), probably because he was aware that the other Jewish leaders weren't happy with the things Jesus was teaching and the fact that Jesus had claimed to be the Son of God. 
  • Notice when he approaches Jesus, though, he starts with a much lesser claim, “we know that you are a teacher who has come from God” (John 3:2)
  • Then he and Jesus have this back and forth teaching opportunity. Well, it is mostly Jesus talking and Nicodemus listening.
  • We don't know how Nicodemus responded to what Jesus was teaching, but we do have a record of 2 other times in the book of John where he was mentioned.
    • In John 7:45-53, he stepped in and tried to calm down the Jewish leaders who were beginning to step up their attacks on Jesus. He doesn't directly confess faith in Jesus as the Son of God here, but he asks a question that at least makes the other Jewish leaders question his loyalty.
    • In John 19:39, we see that he helps Joseph of Arimathea bury Jesus' body after he was crucified. He does not speak in this record of his actions, but if he was willing to prepare Jesus' body for burial, this is a strong indication that his faith had grown from that first encounter.

Now, let's look at what Jesus actually taught Nicodemus that night. 

  • You must be born again if you want to enter God's Kingdom (3:3): this totally confused Nicodemus. Before this talk with Jesus, the thought of someone being born twice was just crazy talk. But Jesus was giving Nicodemus an incredible truth here: there is physical birth and there is spiritual birth. 
  • God sent Jesus to earth to save anyone who believes in him (3:15-16): faith in Jesus is what gives us eternal life. This is the second birth.
  • When we believe in Jesus, the light turns on and we can know what is true and do what is good (3:19-21): Doing what is good is a result of being born again, not what makes us born again. Only faith in Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins will make us right with God. 

What You Will Need

A flashlight or candles so you can teach the story in the dark if possible

Video Options

God's Story - Nicodemus

From Crossroads Kids Club


From Kids on the Move

Resource Sheet

Jesus and Nicodemus Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet depicts Jesus teaching Nicodemus at night. The pictures at the top represent aspects of Jesus' teachings that night.


1. Warm Up get your kids talking and engaged

Ask each child where they were born and include your own story as well.

Tell them, “Now that I know where you were born the first time, we're going to learn about how to be born a second time!”

2. Teach the Story teach a holistic story

Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.

For older children, read the story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or read directly from the Bible.

3. Bible Mastery give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud John 3:1-3; John 3:16-17

4. Comprehension Questions make sure they understand the story

First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?

  • Who was the man who approached Jesus at night with some questions?
  • Nicodemus
  • Why was he an important guy?
  • He was one of the Jewish rulers, which means he had an important job in their society
  • What did Nicodemus think of Jesus at the beginning of his conversation with him?
  • Nicodemus thought Jesus was a good teacher who was from God
  • What did Jesus tell Nicodemus that confused him so much?
  • That you have to be born a second time in order to see the Kingdom of God
  • What did Jesus mean by that?
  • The first birth is when you are born as a human, but the second birth is when you are born again as a believer in Jesus
  • What was that really famous thing Jesus told Nicodemus that turned into the most famous Bible verse of all?
  • "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life." John 3:16
  • After we are born again, what can we now do that we couldn't do before?
  • See the truth about God, like a light has been turned on, and do good to others

5. Faith Questions open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer

  • We all heard about your first birth, but have you been born again? Do you know how to do that?
  • You can use our Good News Conversation Guide to lead a discussion about the gospel in a way kids can understand.

6. Memory Verse hide God's Word in their heart

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30

Reinforcement Activities

Baby Pictures

Heads up! You might need to communicate with parents during the week for this activity
Scripture Jesus replied, “What I’m about to tell you is true. No one can see God’s kingdom unless they are born again.” John 3:3
Supplies Baby pictures of yourself, your kids, pastors of your church, etc
  • Get baby pictures of the kids in your class (if you can).
  • Or, bring pictures of yourself as a baby.
  • Or, get baby pictures of your kids pastor, senior pastor, etc
  • Have the kids guess who each picture is of and have some fun.
  • Tell them that to be a Christian, they must be born again. If they are confused about this, tell them that this is the exact thing Nicodemus was confused about!
  • Then explain that Jesus was talking about a new birth, a spiritual birth, and that the only way to be born again is to put their faith (trust) in Jesus to make them right with God.

Invisible Ink Markers

Scripture Here is the judgment. Light has come into the world... John 3:19
Supplies Invisible ink markers, black light or UV light, card stock
  • Have the students color pictures on card stock with invisible ink markers.
  • They could color this week's coloring sheet, or a design of their own making.
  • Turn off the lights and only turn on a black light or UV light while they are coloring.
  • You can find black light bulbs you can put in a lamp or get a UV light flashlight.
  • Write John 3:19 on their hand (it will be invisible unless underneath a blacklight or UV light)

For God So Loved the World

Scripture God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. John 3:16
  • Kids sit in a circle.
  • Point to one kid to say the first word.
  • Go around the circle and each child says the next word.
  • Start with a different child each time so they practice different parts of the verse.
  • Try to get faster each time!

Shadow Puppets

Scripture Here is the judgment. Light has come into the world... John 3:19
Supplies flashlight, dark room
  • Turn off the lights to the room and make shadow puppets
  • Have the kids take turns trying to make shadow puppets

Nighttime with Nicodemus

Scripture He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. We know that God is with you. If he weren’t, you couldn’t do the signs you are doing.” John 3:2
Supplies Black card stock or construction paper, star and moon stickers or cutouts, silver and gold glitter glue
  • Paint glitter glue onto paper.
  • Stick or glue stars and a moon to the paper.
  • Glue Jesus and Nicodemus onto the night sky.

For God so loved the WORLD

Scripture God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. John 3:16
Supplies Pictures and items that represent different people around the world, globe or world map
  • God came to save everyone. His love extends far beyond your church, community and city.
  • Talk about different people groups from around the world.
  • What other counties are they familiar with?
  • Where have they traveled outside of their own county?
  • How was it different from where they live?
  • Have each child point to an area on the map and pray for those people to know God.