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Lesson Prep

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

Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:1-11

Story Summary

Jesus spent forty days on the earth after he was raised from the dead. In our Jesus Appears to His Disciples lesson, we learned about when Jesus initially appeared to his disciples. In this story, we're going to focus on three things Jesus did at the end of those forty days.

  • Jesus gave them the Great Commission - In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus gave the disciples their marching orders (known as the Great Commission), and these are our marching orders too! Here is an outline this very important commission:
    • Authority ("All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me") - Jesus starts the command with the reason we should listen to it!
    • Activities - Jesus gives us three things to do:
      • "Go and make disciples of all nations" - We must go out and make disciples - not just in our neighborhoods, but throughout all the world.
      • "Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." - Jesus wants them to be baptized, just as we are to be baptized. Baptism is an important symbol of our identity with Christ.
      • "Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you" - We should teach them what we have learned ourselves.
    • Assurance ("And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end.") - Jesus ends the command with the assurance that he will never leave us. We don't have to do this on our own.
  • Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came to them - It is easy to overlook how this instruction must have felt to the disciples. Jesus had just been crucified several weeks earlier in Jerusalem! Then, in the first chapter of Acts, Jesus promised them that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days.
    • (Note: we are focusing on the story aspect of this scripture, not the doctrinal aspects. If your church has specific beliefs about this portion of scripture - like the baptism of the Holy Spirit - feel free to include that teaching in this lesson)
    • Jesus told them that they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Jerusalem was the capital of the Southern Kingdom (aka Judah, which is where the "Judea" region came from) and Samaria was the capital of the Northern Kingdom (which the Jews from the Southern Kingdom despised)
    • This is similar to the Great Commission ("go and make disciples of all nations"), but has a strategy attached to it.
    • Start with where you are, include your greater region, don't forget about the people you are not "friends" with, and then go worldwide.
  • Jesus ascended into heaven
    • ​Right after Jesus said those words, he was taken up to heaven in a cloud. Note, it does not say he was taken "on" a cloud; rather, it says he was taken up "in" or "into" a cloud (think a plane taking off, not a Charmin baby)
    • The disciples were standing there watching, looking up to the skies as Jesus ascended, when two angels were suddenly standing next to them (if that were me, I don't think I could have resisted saying "boo!")
    • The angels told them that Jesus had been taken into heaven, but that someday  he would return again as he came.

What You Will Need

Resource Sheet

Great Commission Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet depicts Jesus ascending to heaven after giving the disciples the Great Commission.

Lesson

1. Warm Up

get your kids talking and engaged

Have you ever been to another country? Or where they don't speak the same language as you? What was it like?

If you've never been to another country, where would you most like to visit?

Today, we're going to learn about some of the last things Jesus told his disciples while he was on the earth. And it has to do with everyone on earth, not just the people in our country!

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 28:18-20; Acts 1:4-11

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?

  • What were the three things Jesus told his disciples to do in the Great Commission? (go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, teaching them)
  • Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem until what happened? (the Holy Spirit would come to them)
  • Where did Jesus tell his disciples that they would be his witnesses? (Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the ends of the earth)
  • Was Jerusalem the capital of the Northern Kingdom or Southern Kingdom? (Southern Kingdom)
  • What was the name of the Southern Kingdom? (Judah)
  • What nation was Samaria the capital of? (the Northern Kingdom, or Israel)
  • What happened to Jesus right after he said this to the disciples? (he ascended, or went up into heaven)
  • Who was standing there next to the disciples as they were watching Jesus go up? (two angels)
  • What did they tell the disciples? (that Jesus had gone to heaven, but that one day he would return again just like he went)

5. Faith Questions

help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
  • In this story, we learned about what Jesus told his disciples right before he left the earth. He commanded them to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • Are you a disciple of Jesus? Do you follow him?
  • Have you been baptized?
  • Are you learning to obey the things he's taught us?
  • Are you a witness for Jesus? Telling others about him?

6. Memory Verse

hide God's Word in their heart
When I'm afraid, I will trust in you. Psalm 56:3

Reinforcement Activities

Missionary Pen Pals

Scripture But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. Then you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem. You will be my witnesses in all Judea and Samaria. And you will be my witnesses from one end of the earth to the other.” Acts 1:8

Supplies pictures and information about a missionary family

  • This could be an ongoing activity for your class.
  • Get to know a missionary family and allow your students to be connected to them through letter and pictures. Think about any missionary families associated with or supported by your church.
  • Pray for this family and the people they are trying to reach.
  • Give your students a picture to take home to put up as a reminder to pray for the family.
  • Show them a world map and point out where the family lives.
  • Learn about the country and people they are trying to reach.
  • Sample foods and other items from the people group the family is ministering to.
  • Find out the missionrary families needs and send them a care package.

Jesus on a cloud Popsicle Craft

Scripture After Jesus said this, he was taken up to heaven. They watched until a cloud hid him from their sight. Acts 1:9

Supplies popsicle sticks, Jesus pattern, card stock, cotton balls

  • Cut card stock into the shape of a cloud.
  • Attach a popsicle stick to the bottom of the card stock as a handle.
  • Glue Jesus pattern onto the cloud.
  • Fill in the rest of the cloud with cotton balls.

Watch the Balloons Rise

Scripture “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. But he will come back in the same way you saw him go.” Acts 1:11

Supplies helium balloons, string

  • Provide helium balloon (one per class or one for each student)
  • Let the balloons go and watch them rise until they are out of sight.
  • The disciples stood watching as Jesus was taken up and hidden by the clouds.

Unreached People

Scripture But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. Then you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem. You will be my witnesses in all Judea and Samaria. And you will be my witnesses from one end of the earth to the other.” Acts 1:8

Supplies map from link

  • There are approx. 3,000 unreached people groups not being engaged by anyone. (No one is actively trying to reach them).
  • Choose a place on the map and commit to praying for the people in that area.
  • Pray for God to open up possibilities for someone to go and tell them the Good News.
  • Remind the students that just because an area has been reached by missionaries or there are active churches in the area does not mean all of the people are Christ followers.
  • Challenge your students to find others in their community (neighborhood, school, family) that do not know Christ. Encourage them to tell about what Jesus has done in their own lives.

Who Will Go?

Scripture But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. Then you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem. You will be my witnesses in all Judea and Samaria. And you will be my witnesses from one end of the earth to the other.” Acts 1:8

Supplies treats for all of the children

  • This activity is designed to teach children the importance of going and telling others about Jesus.
  • Follow directions on the link.
  • Instead of sending a child out of the classroom, you can have the treat for another adult somewhere else in your church or building.
  • If you choose a child, make sure that child is far enough away, so they won't hear the class calling. (It might be good to give the child a task with another adult, so they have a reason to be leaving the room.)

Jesus Ascends Paper Cup Activity

Scripture After Jesus said this, he was taken up to heaven. They watched until a cloud hid him from their sight. Acts 1:9

Supplies blue paper cups, Jesus printout, string, cotton balls, glue, hole punch

  • There is a premade version of this craft on Oriental Trading, or you can make your own.
  • Punch a hole in the top of the Jesus printout.
  • Tie a piece of string through the hole.
  • Punch a hole into the bottom of the paper cup.
  • Hold the cup upside down.
  • Thread the string through the cup.
  • Tie off so the string will not slide back through the hole.
  • Glue cotton balls to the outside of the cup.
  • When you pull on the string, Jesus wil disappear into the clouds.

Pray for Missionaries

Heads up! This will be an ongoing activity over the next several lessons

Scripture But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. Then you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem. You will be my witnesses in all Judea and Samaria. And you will be my witnesses from one end of the earth to the other.” Acts 1:8

Supplies pictures of missionary families, snack or items that represent their county

  • Introduce your students to a family that is on the mission field.
  • Provide some information about the family and the county they are serving in.
  • Provide a snack or items for the students to examine that come from the county in which they are serving.
  • Challenge your students to pray for the family.
  • If possible, provide a picture for all of the students to take home as a reminder to pray for the family.