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Lesson Prep

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

Matthew 17:1-9

Story Summary

(This story can also be found in Mark 9:2-8 and Luke 9:28–36)

Jesus took his 3 closest disciples (Peter, James, and John) with him to a high mountain. There is not a lot of detail in this story about what exactly happened, but we know that Jesus' appearance changed in two ways. One, his face was extremely bright (it shone like the sun). Two, his clothes became extremely bright. This is why this is called the "Transfiguration" - "trans" means "change" and "figure" refers to Jesus' body. His body was changed in front of them.

Then, two other men from the Old Testament were seen walking with him: Moses and Elijah. Peter's first reaction was that they should stay there for a long time, so he suggested that they build tents for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah to stay in. Peter's suggestion was interrupted by a bright cloud moving in and voice from heaven saying, "This is my Son, and I love him. I am very pleased with him. Listen to him!"

Can you imagine what Peter, James, and John were thinking and feeling during this episode? The story says that the 3 of them were terrified and fell on the ground. Jesus came and touched them and told them not to be afraid. When they looked up, only Jesus was there and Moses and Elijah were gone.

Jesus told them not to tell anyone about what happened until after he was raised from the dead (Jesus had just predicted his death and resurrection in the previous chapter, Matthew 16).

What You Will Need

Snack Suggestion
Cloud Snack Reinforcement Activity

Resource Sheet

Transfiguration Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet depicts Jesus being transfigured in front of his 3 disciples

Lesson

1. Warm Up

get your kids talking and engaged

What is the brightest thing you've ever seen? 

Today, we're going to learn about a time when Jesus became as bright as the sun, right in front of some of his disciples' eyes!

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: Matthew 17:1-9

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 were the 3 disciples Jesus took up on the mountain with him? (Peter, James, and John)
  • What happened when they were up on the mountain? (Jesus's appearance was changed and his face because as bright as the sun, and his clothes became bright white)
  • Who else appeared with Jesus? (Elijah and Moses)
  • What did Peter want to do when he saw this? (build 3 tents for Jesus, Elijah, and Moses to stay on the mountain for a while)
  • What happened when Peter was making his suggestion? (a bright cloud came around them and a voice from the cloud began talking)
  • What did the voice say? (This is my Son, and I love him. I am very pleased with him. Listen to him!)
  • Who was talking? (God himself)
  • What did the disciples do when they heard this? (they became very frightened and fell to the ground)
  • What did Jesus do? (he told them not to be afraid and came and touched them)
  • What did Jesus tell them to do when they came down the mountain? (not to speak of the episode until after he was raised from the dead)

5. Faith Questions

help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
  • We learn in this story that God sent his Son to the earth. Jesus was God himself.
  • Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?

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

Things that Change

Scripture There in front of them his appearance was changed. His face shone like the sun. His clothes became as white as the light. Matthew 17:2

Supplies Varies depending on what part of the activity you decide to use. See below.

  • Discuss things that change.
  • Caterpillars change into butterflies- Have live butterflies and caterpillars or a cocoon or pictures of each.
  • Trees change with the season- Have pictures of a tree in different seasons. If possible, bring in a branch.
  • Seeds change into flowers and fruit. Provide seeds and the flowers and fruits that grow from each seed. (You can have students guess which seeds will grow into which flowers or seeds).

Look at the Sun

Scripture There in front of them his appearance was changed. His face shone like the sun. His clothes became as white as the light. Matthew 17:2

Supplies 2 pieces of card stock, pin, sunny day

  • With the pin, punch a hole in the center of one of your pieces of paper.
  • Hold the paper up and aim the hole at the Sun. (Don’t look at the Sun either through the hole or in any other way!)
  • Now, find the image of the Sun that comes through the hole.
  • Move your other piece of paper back and forth until the image rests on the paper and is in focus.
  • What you are seeing is the actual image of the sun.

Cloud Snack

Scripture He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Matthew 17:5

Supplies clear plastic cups, blue jello, cool whip, spoons

  • Layer blue jello and cool whip in cups.
  • When complete, it looks like fluffy clouds in the sky.

Making a Cloud 1

Heads up! Do not touch dry ice with your bare hands or leave students unattended near the dry ice!

Scripture He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Matthew 17:5

Supplies dry ice, glass bowl, warm water

  • Follow instructions on proper handling of dry ice.
  • Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. Instead of melting, dry ice turns directly into carbon dioxide gas but does not melt like real ice. Dry ice must be handled with care as it is -110 degrees F ( -78 degrees C).
  • It must be handled using gloves or tongs, as it will cause severe burns if it comes in contact with your skin.
  • Do not allow students to come in contact with dry ice.
  • Put warm water into a glass bowl.
  • Place a piece of dry ice into bowl.
  • It will immediately begin to make a cloud.
  • When you drop the piece of dry ice in a bowl of water, the gas that you see is a combination of carbon dioxide and water vapor.

Making a Cloud 2

Scripture He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him. When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” ” Luke 17:5-7

Supplies ivory soap, microwave safe plate, microwave

  • Cut a piece of ivory soap. A little goes a long way.
  • Place soap onto the plate and place in the microwave.
  • Turn microwave on for 2 minutes.
  • Soap will expand and turn into a cloud. It looks white and puffy, but is actually dry and flaky.
  • Ask students how they would feel if they saw a large cloud appear and heard a voice speaking from the cloud.

Transfiguration Craft

Scripture Matthew 17:1-9

Supplies Card stock, mini marshmallows, teddy grahams, crayons, glue

  • Have the students create the scene of the transfiguration on card stock using the supplies provided
  • Marshmallows -> cloud
  • Crayons -> to create the mountain
  • Teddy grahams -> Jesus, Moses, Elijah, Peter, James, John

Make a Change Game

Scripture And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. matthew 17:1-2

  • Divide students into two groups.
  • Have each group study the other group. (Pay attention to clothing, jewelry, hair, etc).
  • Separate groups and have them each choose one person to make a change to their appearance.
  • The change can be to switch shoes, take their hair down, remove jewelry, etc, but must be noticable!
  • Get groups back together and have them try and figure out what the change was.
  • Jesus' transformation was quite obvious and was one of the clearest signs that Jesus is God himself.