MEETING AIM: To reflect on how much God loves us.
BIBLE PASSAGE: John 3:1-21
BACKGROUND: Nicodemus was one of the Pharisees, a faction of the religious leaders who clashed with Jesus again and again.
However, Nicodemus is interested in what Jesus says and comes to visit him at night (presumably so none of the other Pharisees would find out). Jesus teaches Nicodemus what it is to follow him and how much God loves the world. Before the session, dig into this most famous of passages –what is God saying to you? How can that help the children in your group?
Welcome the children by name and share out any refreshments you have brought. Ask the children about their week; share in their triumphs and commiserate with them about the things that haven’t gone according to plan. If appropriate, share something of what has been happening with you recently.
You will need: pictures of different things that the children might love, such as ice cream, pets, family, school, friends, chocolate, holidays etc
Before the session, find and print out pictures of different things that the children might love. If you have a large group, print out a few sets of the same pictures.
Show the pictures to the children and ask them to rank them in order of those they love the most to those they love the least. Encourage the children to discuss and debate what they think and come to an agreement on the order of the pictures. If you have a large group, then put children in pairs or threes and give each smaller group a set of the pictures. Each smaller group must agree on an order, then come together to create a whole-group decision. Why did children choose the things they did? What does this tell them about love?
You will need: some materials to make a den; torches; Bible
Show the children your den-making equipment and challenge them to make a den large enough for your group to sit in. Work together to create your den and then all get inside it. (Before you do so, check that the den is safe and won’t collapse with you inside!) Use torches to light the inside of the den if necessary.
As you all sit around, explain that you’re going to hear about a man called Nicodemus. He was one of the religious leaders and he came to Jesus at night to ask him questions. Wonder together about why he came at night. Then go on to think about what questions Nicodemus might want to ask Jesus. What questions do the children want to ask Jesus?
Show the children where the story is in the Bible. Imagine Nicodemus sneaking through Jerusalem to meet Jesus. Read out John 3:2 and comment that, although most religious leaders didn’t like Jesus, Nicodemus thought he had been sent from God. They talked together but Nicodemus didn’t understand what Jesus was saying. Encourage the children to think about the questions they would like to ask Jesus.
What might the answers be? Read verses 10 to 13. Do they think they would under- stand what Jesus might say, or would they be like Nicodemus?
Read John 3:16-17. This is a very famous verse – have the children heard it before? Explain that Nicodemus didn’t know that Jesus was going to die and then come back to life, but we do! Wonder together what these two verses mean. Share from your own experience what you think of God’s love in sending Jesus. What does it mean that God loves us all so much?
Use these questions to continue chatting about the Bible story and what it says about God and our relationship with him:
- Imagine you were in the room with Nicodemus and Jesus. Now you’ve heard the story, what would you want to ask Jesus?
- What does this story tell you about Nicodemus? And about Jesus?
- What do you think Nicodemus did next?
- Read verses 19-21. What do you think it means to live in the light?
- What do you think Jesus meant when he said the words in verses 16 and 17?
You will need: art materials; paper; reflective music and the means to play it (optional)
Show the children the art materials you have provided. Encourage them to create a picture which reflects what they have discovered today. It might be something about talking with Jesus, about how much God loves us or about living in the light.
Make sure you have enough time to do this; don’t rush this activity. It’s important to give the children some time to process what God is saying to them. Some children might create beautiful pictures and be able to explain what they mean, others may not.
Nevertheless, both responses (and any in between) are valid; the purpose of this activity is not to create a beautiful picture but to give the children time and space to meet with God, listen to him and process what he is saying.
If any of the children would like to, give them space to tell you (and the group if they wish) about what they have drawn.
You will need: pens; paper or Post-it notes
Give the children a pen and a piece of paper or a Post-it note. In a time of quiet, encourage the group to think about what question they might like to ask Jesus after exploring today’s Bible passage. If they don’t want to write anything, they can draw a picture or symbol to represent what they want to say.
When everyone is ready, invite the group to talk to Jesus about what they have written or drawn. Finally, read John 3:16-17 out again and ask the children to tell Jesus what they think of these verses. If any children want to talk to you about following Jesus, then make some space at the end of the session. You may want to have some resources to help them, such as What is Being a Christian All About? (Scripture Union).
For the rest of this month’s sessions go to youthandchildrens.work/together.
Supporting documentsClick link to download and view these files
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