The story of Jesus visiting the temple when he was 12, taken from the second chapters of Matthew and Luke, can offer lessons about spirituality, obedience and Jesus' life for young children. Whether you're teaching a large group in Sunday school or just your own children, most kids find Jesus easier to relate to when they hear this story of his childhood.
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The story of Jesus visiting the temple is a good opportunity for teaching children about temples, including what they look like and what they were used for in Bible times. Make learning about temples fun by having students draw temples, assemble them out of construction paper or create three-dimensional models out of blocks. If time allows, use the temple crafts the children created to ask them questions about a special place to spend time with God and how they might make their time with God special.
Growing up Great
Because the story of Jesus visiting the temple highlights how Jesus grew as a child, it is a good lesson to use when teaching children about how to grow up great in God. The website Danielle's Place recommends tracing children on large pieces of paper and allowing them to colour their outlines to show them how much they have grown. Talk to children about Jesus' qualities as a child that they can imitate, such as being obedient and putting God first.
Because this story takes place in Jerusalem, an important place in Christian history, children can learn to find Jerusalem on a map after they've heard the story of Jesus visiting the temple. Show children a map and ask them to find Jerusalem. Show them where it is and give them some context, pointing to the United States, China, Africa and other places children may recognise. Next, show children pictures of ruins in Jerusalem and ask them to close their eyes and imagine what the city may have looked like when Jesus visited.
In the story of Jesus visiting the temple, the Bible says that Jesus went home with his mother and father and was obedient. Teach children to imitate Jesus by following the commandment to "honour thy father and mother." Ask children to draw pictures or write poems that will help them remember to honour their parents. Frame or laminate these and ask children to place them in a place they will see or remember them each day.
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