LESSON 10: NICODEMUS VISITS JESUS AT NIGHT

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1 LESSON 10: NICODEMUS VISITS JESUS AT NIGHT Large Group Leader Guide John 3:1-21 Classroom: Sacred Girls 12/07/2016 Teachers Dig In Dig In to the Bible Read: John 3:1-21 In This Passage: One night, a Pharisee named Nicodemus goes to Jesus to ask him some questions. He finds out that Jesus gives us eternal life. All we have to do is believe that God sent Jesus because he loves us so much! Bible Point: Jesus gives us eternal life. Summary Verse: For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Dig Deeper You ll Be Teaching: Jesus gives us eternal life. The concept of eternal life can be hard for kids to understand. It can raise a lot of questions. What will it be like in heaven? Will everyone be there? What does forever really mean? This lesson will help them grapple with their questions and realize that when they believe in Jesus, they can be confident they ll have eternal life. Think About: What questions do you have about eternal life? What excites you about eternal life? Dig In to Prayer Pray for kids who you re not sure have a relationship with Jesus. Pray that God will be working in their hearts to draw these children closer to himself. Quick Tip A good way to help kids feel at ease about sharing their insights is to share your own feelings and experiences first. Letting kids know that you re human, with fears and faults and funny stories like everyone else, can go a long way in helping them share their feelings in a group setting. 1 of 20

2 This Lesson at a Glance OPENING Kids share about a topic related to the lesson. Bible LOW-ENERGY GAME Kids play a game of Spoons and try to collect the word "life." Bible 3x5-inch index cards plastic spoons Easy Prep Make a set of four index cards for each child in your group, plus a few extras. Each card set should have one card with the letter L, one with the letter I, and one with the letter F. The fourth card should be a repeat of one of those letters for most sets, with only a few E s in total. Shuffle all the cards together. MUSIC VIDEO Kids sing songs of praise to God. You Gave (John 14:19b) music video (watch or download here) Hope in the Lord (Psalm 33:20) music video (watch or download here) God Loves Us So music video (watch or download here) CORE BIBLE DISCOVERY Kids draw pictures to understand eternal life in heaven. Bible paper markers or crayons 2 of 20

3 scissors tape CRAFT Kids make never-ending bracelets. 11x1-inch strips of card stock aluminum foil glue sticks scissors permanent markers tape Easy Prep Make a sample Mobius-strip bracelet to show kids. OBJECT LESSON Kids try to make the longest-swinging pendulum. string scissors coins sandwich bags tape HIGH-ENERGY GAME Kids play Tag to get past Death. LIFE APPLICATION WRAP-UP Kids pray about eternal life using seeds as a metaphor. seeds, such as sunflower seeds or birdseed *Marked supplies are also used in Core Bible Discovery Let's keep kids safe! You can help by using supplies as instructed for only ages 3+, purchasing childsafe items, and being aware of allergy concerns. 3 of 20

4 OPENING Welcome [5 min] Bible Welcome Thank kids for coming. Just for fun, have kids double high-five four friends (use both hands). Make announcements. Introduce new kids. Celebrate birthdays by spelling happy birthday with people s arms, YMCA style. Collect the offering. Introduce the Lesson Say: Today we ll learn about the night a man named Nicodemus visited Jesus and found out that Jesus gives us eternal life. Share Say: When Nicodemus visited Jesus, they talked about eternal life in heaven. Tell about something you d want to have with you in heaven. Have kids get in pairs and tell each other about something they d want to have with them in heaven. Summarize Open a Bible, and say: We can t even imagine how great heaven will be! Today we ll explore how Jesus gives us eternal life and what that means to us. We ll dig into the Bible to find out. The Bible is an amazing book. God can talk to us through the Bible. He s ready to talk to you right now. Pray, thanking Jesus that he gives us eternal life. 4 of 20

5 LOW-ENERGY GAME Finding Life [10 min] Bible 3x5-inch index cards plastic spoons Easy Prep Make a set of four index cards for each child in your group, plus a few extras. Each card set should have one card with the letter L, one with the letter I, and one with the letter F. The fourth card should be a repeat of one of those letters for most sets, with only a few E s in total. Shuffle all the cards together. Spell Life Have kids sit in circles of one or two small groups. Set enough spoons in each circle for all the kids except one. This game will be played like the card game Spoons. Deal the cards so each person has four. Have kids look at their cards and each choose one to pass to the right as they try to get one of each letter in the word life. Tell kids that as soon as one of them has the word life in his or her hand, that person will take a spoon from the center. When they see someone take a spoon, they ll each also take one, trying not to be the person who doesn t get a spoon. Replace the spoons in the center, and have kids continue to pass one card to the right at a time, picking up their new cards until someone spells life. Play a few rounds as time allows. Talk About It Have small groups discuss these questions. Ask: How did you feel when other people spelled life before you? For those of you who ended up without a spoon, what was that like for you? Read John 3:16. Ask: Why is it important that everyone who believes in Jesus can have eternal life? Say: In our game, someone always ended up without a spoon. There wasn t enough life to go around. But Jesus said that anyone who believes in him can have eternal life. Jesus gives us all eternal life. If you haven t asked Jesus for eternal life, just do it! Tell him you believe in him, and you ll have eternal life. 5 of 20

6 MUSIC VIDEO You Gave [10 min] You Gave (John 14:19b) music video (watch or download here) Hope in the Lord (Psalm 33:20) music video (watch or download here) God Loves Us So music video (watch or download here) Sing Songs to God Sing the three songs in any order. 6 of 20

7 CORE BIBLE DISCOVERY Nicodemus Visits Jesus at Night (John 3:1-21) [20 min] Bible paper markers or crayons scissors tape Questions About Heaven Say: Today we re going to learn that Jesus gives us eternal life. Eternal life means we ll live forever! But it doesn t mean we ll never die; it means when we die, we leave earth and get to go live in heaven with Jesus! Forever can be hard to understand. Heaven can be hard to imagine. The man in our Bible story had a lot of questions about eternal life, and maybe you do, too. Have small groups discuss these questions. Ask: What s hard to understand about eternal life? What questions do you have about heaven? You might have small-group leaders kick this off with their own questions about heaven. As kids ask questions about heaven, have other kids in their group share what they hope the answer is. For example, if someone asks if there will be pizza in heaven, kids may share that they hope there will be! Don t try to answer the questions for kids this is simply a time for them to express what they wonder about. After a few minutes, ask a few groups to share one of their best questions. Say: Those are a lot of great questions! Unfortunately, we don t know all the answers to them. We know what we hope is true, but there s a lot of things we just have to wait to find out. It can be confusing to have all these questions and not a lot of answers! Let s dig into the Bible and see what answers we can find. The man in the Bible had a lot of questions, too. Let s find out what happened. Draw Heaven and Earth Say: Here s how our Bible story starts off. The man in our story is named Nicodemus. As I read, close your eyes and imagine you re Nicodemus. Read John 3:1-2. Have small-group leaders distribute two pieces of paper to each child and set out markers or crayons to share. Say: We ll see how Jesus responds to Nicodemus soon. Here s a hint: 7 of 20

8 It s going to be about heaven! In order to help us understand some of the things Jesus talks about in the Bible today, you ll need two pictures. One is a picture of a scene that could happen on earth. That might just be trees, grass, flowers, and sunshine whatever you think of when you picture being on earth. Allow time for kids to draw. Say: You ll also need a picture of heaven. We don t know exactly what heaven looks like, so just draw what you imagine. Allow time for kids to draw. Have kids discuss this question in their small group. Ask: What are some of the differences between your two pictures? Born Again? Say: Your two pictures probably look very different. Heaven is going to be so much better than we imagine! But right now, we re on earth. So how do we get to heaven? Here s the first thing Jesus told Nicodemus. Read John 3:3. Have small group leaders distribute another piece of paper to each child. Say: Pretty confusing, huh? Let s think about this. On one side of your paper, draw yourself as a baby. On the other side, draw what you think you ll look like as an adult. Allow time. Ask: Which would you rather be a baby again or an adult? Why? Say: Whether or not you d like to be a baby again, you can t be. You can t go back to a younger age you can only keep growing up. So what did Jesus mean? Let s keep reading. Read John 3:4-6. Have small groups discuss this question. Ask: Based on Jesus explanation, what do you think being born again means? Say: Jesus wasn t talking about going back in time and becoming a baby again. He was using birth as a symbol. When you re born, you re just starting life. And when you re born again, you re starting a new life a spiritual life. Heaven Meets Earth Say: So how can we become born again? First, we need help. Just like you needed your mom in order to be born the first time, we need Jesus to help us be born into a new spiritual life. Read John 3:13. Ask: What makes Jesus different from other humans? Say: Most moms love their babies a lot. They ll do whatever they need to do to help their babies stay safe and healthy because they love their babies. Jesus loves us, too. When he came down from heaven, he did something for us to show us how much he loves us. His loving act gave us a way to have eternal life. Read John 3:16. 8 of 20

9 Say: Jesus gives us eternal life. Jesus is the bridge between earth and heaven. He came to earth from heaven, and he loves us so much that he died for us so we could have eternal life. When we believe in Jesus, we ll have eternal life in heaven. Have small-group leaders distribute scissors and another piece of paper to each child and set out tape to share. Have kids each cut a heart out of their new pieces of paper. Then have kids fold the hearts in half and cut out half a cross shape so that when the heart opens, it will show a full cross inside. Next, have kids tape their hearts so that the left side of the cross touches the edge of their earth pictures. Have kids hold up their pictures with their crosses and repeat after you: For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son. Have kids tape the right side of their crosses to their heaven pictures. Have kids hold up their pictures and repeat after you a few times: So that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. Say: There are a lot of sad and wrong things in our world today. Have kids name some things that are sad and wrong with our world. Then have kids draw one or two of those things on their earth pictures. Say: Jesus is perfect, so he could ve seen the earth and judged people for everything they re doing wrong. But he didn t. Here s why he came. Read John 3:17. Say: Jesus came to save us in love, not to judge us. One day, we ll all leave this broken world. When we believe in Jesus, Jesus gives us eternal life, because he came to save us. After our lives on earth end, we will have amazing lives in heaven! And it s all possible because Jesus loves us and died on the cross for us. 9 of 20

10 CRAFT Mobius Timeline Bracelet [20 min] 11x1-inch strips of card stock aluminum foil glue sticks scissors permanent markers tape Easy Prep Make a sample Mobius-strip bracelet to show kids. Make a Timeline Have small-group leaders distribute a strip of card stock to each child. Show everyone your sample craft. Have kids glue aluminum foil around the card stock. Show everyone your sample craft. Say: You re going to make a bracelet with a timeline of your life. First, make sure the timeline is going to fit well on your wrist. Have kids cut down their strips so they ll fit well as bracelets but leaving room for them to twist the strips later on. Say: Now it s time to draw your timeline on your foil. You ll start, of course, with being born! Then you can continue with memorable events of your life. You can use small pictures or words to show the events. Don t stop 10 of 20

11 when you get to the age you are now, but keep going with things you hope happen in your future. Stop when you get to the end of your strip of paper, with you living to a ripe old age! Give some examples of things you included on your timeline. Allow plenty of time for kids to make and decorate their timelines. Make It Forever Show kids how to make a Mobius strip out of the timeline by twisting the strip one time and then taping the ends together. Have small-group leaders help kids tape the twisted strips around their wrists. Show kids that the twist makes the bracelet special. Kids should be able to trace a line with their fingers and run over both sides indefinitely. As kids trace a line, have them say, Jesus gives us eternal life. Say: You made the timeline to represent your life, but thanks to that twist in your bracelet, your timeline goes on and on forever. Talk About It Have small groups discuss these questions. Ask: How does a Mobius strip represent eternal life? What are some things you put on your timeline for your future on earth? What do you hope eternity in heaven will be like? Say: When we think about the future, we often think about life on earth. But Jesus gives us eternal life! That means our future doesn t end when our timeline ends. Life on earth is just the beginning. When we believe in Jesus, we get to live forever in heaven. 11 of 20

12 OBJECT LESSON Perpetual Pendulums [10 min] string scissors coins sandwich bags tape Discuss Perpetual Motion Ask for a show of hands for who has heard of perpetual motion. Say: Perpetual motion means something starts moving and never stops, even though it doesn t have an energy source like a battery or electrical cord. Some people have tried to make perpetual-motion machines, and other people say it s impossible to make a perpetual-motion machine because of things like gravity and friction. But if it were possible, a perpetual-motion machine could go on forever. It s a great idea that reminds us of eternal life. Ask: What ideas do you have for making a perpetual-motion machine? Say: We probably won t be able to crack the perpetual-motion-machine code today, but let s see just how long you can get something to keep moving without any outside forces or energy. Make Pendulums Form pairs. Say: You re going to make a pendulum something heavy that swings from a string when you pull the string back and let go. Your goal is to make the pendulum that swings for the longest amount of time. You ll tie or tape a string to a bag of coins, and then one person will hold the end of the string while the other person pulls back the bag of coins and lets it go. Once you let it go, you can t touch it or push it. You can decide what length string will work best and how many coins to put in your bag. We ll see whose pendulum comes closest to perpetual motion. Allow time. Then have everyone stand up, with one partner holding the end of the string and the other partner pulling back the bag of coins. On the count of three, have kids let go of their pendulums and observe to see whose swings for the longest amount of time. Talk About It Have small groups discuss these questions. Ask: Why did all of our pendulums eventually stop? 12 of 20

13 Some people think when life on earth ends, that s it. They think heaven doesn t exist. What would you say to someone who believes that? Say: Perpetual-motion machines might be impossible on earth because nothing on earth lasts forever. But Jesus told Nicodemus about eternal life in heaven. When Jesus gives us eternal life, it s like we go from being pendulums to being perpetual-motion machines. Our lives will never end we ll just move from earth to heaven someday. 13 of 20

14 HIGH-ENERGY GAME Staying Alive [10 min] Recommended for 6or more kids. Explain the Rules Say: We re going to play a game of Tag to show us what it s like to get eternal life. Choose some kids to represent Death. You ll want at least one for every five kids. Have all the other kids line up along one wall while the Death kids stand in the middle of the room. Say: Your goal is to get to the other wall, which represents eternal life. But you have to get past Death first! If Death tags you, you have to go sit on the side of the room and play dead. Play the Game Play a few rounds of the game, switching roles each time. After a couple of rounds, start shielding kids as they run, or block Death so everyone can make it across the room. Talk About It Have small groups discuss these questions. Ask: In our game, you had to get eternal life on your own. What are some ways besides Jesus people think they can get to heaven? Do those ways really work? Explain. When I helped people get to the eternal life wall, how did that remind you of what Jesus did for us? Say: Some people think they can get eternal life by being a good person or going to church a lot. In our game, you might ve been able to get your own eternal life, but that s not the way it really works. Jesus said there s only one way: Jesus gives us eternal life when we believe in him. When we believe in Jesus, death can t tag us! We have eternal life! 14 of 20

15 LIFE APPLICATION WRAP-UP Seeds of Life [5 min] seeds, such as sunflower seeds or birdseed Hold a Seed Give everyone a seed. Say: Jesus gives us eternal life. Seeds can remind us of life because seeds are the very beginning of the life of a plant. The seed you re holding might not look like much right now, but when you plant a seed in good soil, water it, and give it sunlight, it can grow into a huge flower, a plant, or even a tree! You know, eternal life doesn t mean just what we experience in heaven. Your life had a beginning. You were born. But from here on out, when you believe in Jesus, your life has no ending. You re in eternal life right now. One day it will get even more amazing when you get to heaven, but while you re here on earth, you can remember that you re living an amazing eternal life in Jesus! Pray Say: Hold your seed between both hands as you fold your hands to pray. Silently talk to Jesus. Maybe you know you believe in Jesus, and you want to thank him for his gift of eternal life. Maybe you realized you re not sure you really believed in Jesus before, but you want to. Talk to Jesus about that, and ask him for eternal life. Maybe you re still not sure you re ready to say you believe in Jesus. Talk to Jesus about what s holding you back. Allow a minute or two for kids to pray silently. Pray: Jesus, thank you that you give us eternal life. We want to live a new life in you. In your name, amen. Tell kids they can take their seeds home as a reminder that they ve begun eternal life when they ve told Jesus they believe in him. Thank the children for coming to church. Keep an eye out for kids who seem like they might have questions about beginning their faith journey with Jesus. The Life of Jesus, Lesson 10: Nicodemus Visits Jesus at Night. Design and base content copyright Group Publishing, Inc. Licensed for use with 1-20 students. Permission to reproduce granted for local church use only. 15 of 20

16 LESSON 10: NICODEMUS VISITS JESUS AT NIGHT Small Group Leader Guide John 3:1-21 Classroom: Sacred Girls 12/07/2016 Teachers Dig In Dig In to the Bible Read: John 3:1-21 In This Passage: One night, a Pharisee named Nicodemus goes to Jesus to ask him some questions. He finds out that Jesus gives us eternal life. All we have to do is believe that God sent Jesus because he loves us so much! Bible Point: Jesus gives us eternal life. Summary Verse: For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Dig Deeper You ll Be Teaching: Jesus gives us eternal life. The concept of eternal life can be hard for kids to understand. It can raise a lot of questions. What will it be like in heaven? Will everyone be there? What does forever really mean? This lesson will help them grapple with their questions and realize that when they believe in Jesus, they can be confident they ll have eternal life. Think About: What questions do you have about eternal life? What excites you about eternal life? Dig In to Prayer Pray for kids who you re not sure have a relationship with Jesus. Pray that God will be working in their hearts to draw these children closer to himself. Quick Tip A good way to help kids feel at ease about sharing their insights is to share your own feelings and experiences first. Letting kids know that you re human, with fears and faults and funny stories like everyone else, can go a long way in helping them share their feelings in a group setting. 16 of 20

17 This Lesson at a Glance TALK-ABOUT VIDEO Kids watch a video and discuss the Bible Point. Nicodemus on the News teaching video (watch or download here) DEEPER BIBLE Kids see the value of eternal life using exponential increases. Bibles Double Day handout (1 per child) (download here) *Marked supplies are also used in Core Bible Discovery Let's keep kids safe! You can help by using supplies as instructed for only ages 3+, purchasing childsafe items, and being aware of allergy concerns. 17 of 20

18 TALK-ABOUT VIDEO Nicodemus on the News [10 min] Nicodemus on the News teaching video (watch or download here) Discuss and Watch Nicodemus on the News Ask: Have you ever been so curious about something that you just had to find out the answer? Like, have you ever been mystified by a puzzle, wondered about how something worked, or wanted to know everything you could about a subject? Tell kids about a time you were so curious that you just had to find the answer, and what you did to find it. Then have kids get into groups of three and share their own stories of being curious. Say: The Bible tells us about a man named Nicodemus who was curious about Jesus. He just had to find out who Jesus was and what he was teaching. Let s hear his story. Watch Nicodemus on the News. Say: Nicodemus was a Pharisee. It was part of his job to read rules and explain them to people and also to make sure people followed those rules. Most of the Pharisees didn t like Jesus because he showed people that God s love was more powerful than the rules. But Nicodemus was curious enough about Jesus to meet with him at night and ask his questions directly to Jesus. When they talked, Nicodemus learned that Jesus gives us eternal life. That s pretty exciting! 18 of 20

19 DEEPER BIBLE What Is Eternal Life? [15 min] Bibles Double Day handout (1 per child) (download here) Introduce Say: John 3:16, our verse from today s Bible story, is one of the most famous verses in the Bible. It tells us that Jesus gives us eternal life. Read aloud John 3:16. Ask: What do you think this verse means? What does eternal life mean? Say: Eternal life is something that s really hard to understand. We re used to things that have beginnings and ends. So how can life really never end? What will eternal life look like? Let s dig into that. Make a Choice Form pairs. Tell partners they have to make a choice together. They have to agree 100 percent on their choice. Ask: Would you rather have $1 million today or get one penny today and double your money every day for 30 days? Allow one minute for pairs to discuss; then ask for their choices. Have pairs explain why they chose what they did. Eternal Benefit Say: Getting $1 million would be pretty awesome. But if you chose the doubled money every day, you d get so much more money! Give each child a Double Day handout, and review how much money they d have at the end of 30 days. Ask: What s the biggest difference between the two choices? Which choice would you rather have now that you ve seen the Double Day math? Which of the choices is most like eternal life? Explain. Say: When Jesus told Nicodemus about eternal life, he was telling him about something so much better than life on earth. He didn t mean Nicodemus would never die. We ll all die but when we believe in Jesus, we can go on to live forever in heaven. Jesus gives us eternal life. So let s see what s so great about heaven. Read aloud Revelation 21:4 to help kids see what eternal life in heaven will be like. 19 of 20

20 Ask: What sounds great about heaven? Why would anyone choose to have or not have eternal life? Tell kids what you think eternity is going to be like. Say: When we believe in Jesus, Jesus gives us eternal life. That s something so much better than we could get by living for ourselves! The Life of Jesus, Lesson 10: Nicodemus Visits Jesus at Night. Design and base content copyright Group Publishing, Inc. Licensed for use with 1-20 students. Permission to reproduce granted for local church use only. 20 of 20

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