While we are unable to meet for Sunday School, I will post an adaptation of the children's Sunday School lesson every Monday. Think of the lesson as a guide to discuss a story from the Bible together. Each lesson will include some introductory material, a Scripture reading, questions for review and discussion, an activity suggestion, a short prayer, and a memory verse. I encourage you to take just 10-15 minutes every week to actively engage your children or grandchildren in this opportunity to grow together in your faith!
Share some background information before reading the story together.
Last week, we talked about Jesus’ final days on earth after he rose from the dead. He had told his disciples to stay in Jerusalem to receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised them that they would receive power when they received the Holy Spirit and that they should go out into the world to tell others about Jesus. This week’s story also comes from Acts. Remember, Acts tells us about the things that happened after Jesus rose from the dead.
The disciples didn’t really know what would happen or what it even really meant to receive the Holy Spirit, but they did what Jesus told them to do. They stayed in Jerusalem. People from all over the ancient world – Africa, Asia, and Europe – were all coming to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost. It was a harvest celebration where faithful Jews brought an offering of part of their crops to God. The food would be sold to support the church or given away to feed the hungry. This holiday is a celebration of God giving the Torah, our first five books of the Bible. They had no idea what would happen!
On this day that they had come together to celebrate the giving of God’s Word, they were about to receive the Holy Spirit. We call this day Pentecost, and we think of it as the beginning of the church. There would be mighty winds, a loud noise, and tongues of fire. That might not even be the craziest part. God gave the disciples the ability to speak and understand other languages so that people from all over the world could hear the good news about Jesus in their own language.
Read the story of Pentecost this week. You can read the story from the Bible or the simplified version of the story from the Spark Story Bible below.
Jesus’ disciples were celebrating a festival called Pentecost when suddenly a strong wind blew through the house. Everyone’s hair lifted up and there was an amazing noise! They looked at each other. It looked like each disciple had a flame of fire touching him, but no one was burned. The Holy Spirit had come, just as Jesus promised! The disciples began to speak in different languages! Languages they’d never learned! Stranger yet – they could understand each other!
Peter stood up. “I want to tell you about Jesus.” He reminded everyone what Jesus taught them. He told them how Jesus died and lives again. “It’s time for us to begin a new life with God’s Spirit guiding us,” Peter said. The disciples were excited to live differently, guided by God’s Spirit. This was the very beginning of the Christian church.
- What were some of the things that happened on Pentecost?
- What were the disciples suddenly able to do?
- What did the disciples want to tell everyone about?
- What was Pentecost the beginning of?
- The disciples have experienced so many big and unexpected things, and everything that happened at Pentecost was also big an unexpected. What do you think the disciples were thinking/feeling when they heard the loud sound, felt the mighty wind, saw the tongues of fire, and heard themselves speaking languages they had never learned?
- The Holy Spirit gave them the power to speak in other languages to tell other people about Jesus. The Holy Spirit gives us power to tell others about Jesus. How could the Holy Spirit give you power to tell others about Jesus? Be brave, help us know the right words, help us meet people who need to know about Jesus, etc.
- God wants everyone to know about his love for them. We can share God’s love in the words we say and in what we do. How can you share God’s love to others in what you do?
God gave the disciples the ability to speak in other languages. Read and practice saying these translations of “May God bless us.”
- Bwana Awabariki (Swahili)
- Puo il dio benedirlo (Italian)
- Puede dios bendecirnos (Spanish)
- Peut Dieu nous benir (French)
- Kan Gud valsignar oss (Swedish)
- Kez Buh zehna nam (Czech)
- May Diyos basbasan sa amin (Filipino)
- Jumala siunatkoon meita (Finnish)
As you pray this week, think about the people all over the world who speak these and other languages. Pray that everyone can hear the good news about God’s love for them in their own language.
Dear God, thank you for making all of us unique and different. Thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit. Help us share the good news about your love with others. Amen.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Acts 2:21