We all know someone who has made a mistake and lost friends. Someone who people label as ‘despicable’ and do not want to associate with. When I see someone like that, I cannot help but wonder what they did that was so bad to make everyone not want to be friends with them. But then I remember this beautiful truth, ‘that everyone can be friends with Jesus’! No matter what that person may have done, they are never too far for Jesus. No matter what you may have done, you are never too far for Jesus to save!
Matthew was a tax collector, the worst of the worse in his time. Yet when Jesus came into town, He sat down and shared a meal with Matthew. A beautiful picture of how we should treat those who society labels as ‘worthless’.
Here is a snapshot of what we will show the kids this week:
Bible Story Focus: Everyone can be friends with Jesus, even if they did something wrong. (Matthew theTax Collector • Matthew 9:9-12)
Memory Verse: “‘Come and follow me,’ Jesus said.” Matthew 4:19, NIrV
Key Question: Who can be friends with Jesus?
Bottom Line: Everyone can be friends with Jesus.
Bible Story and Worship
Watch the Bible Story Video with your kids so you can recap and discuss it with them in the “Bring Jesus To Their Level” section. Then join your kids in worship as we sing and dance for God.
Next, use the Memory Verse video to practice our monthly verse. We will practice this verse all month. Be sure to use the hand motions as it helps the kids to remember. Also, think of a fun reward you can give them at the end of the month when they are able to say it all by themselves. The activity sheet and coloring page are fun resources to help reinforce story and/or big idea.
Bring Jesus To Their Level
Follow the following script to recap the story, practice the memory verse and demonstrate to your young children how to pray. (You’ll make a list with your family to pray over so have a pen a paper ready.)
Say: “Our Bible story, today, was about man named Matthew. Did Jesus want to be Matthew’s friend? (Pause.) Yes, He sure did! Did Matthew follow Jesus when Jesus told him to? (Pause.) Matthew got right up and followed Jesus. Why were people surprised that Jesus was Matthew’s friend? (Pause.) You’re right. Matthew had done something wrong, but Jesus still loved him and wanted to be his friend because [Bottom Line] everyone can be friends with Jesus! Who can be friends with Jesus? (Together.) [Bottom Line] Everyone can be friends with Jesus!
“And the Bible verse we’re learning will help us remember that we can follow Jesus, too. It says . . . ‘“Come (motion towards self) and follow me,” (march) Jesus said,’ (hands around mouth) Matthew 4:19. (Open hands like a book.) (Practice this verse several times with your kids.)
“Wow! Good job! (Give fist bumps.) Since [Bottom Line] everyone can be friends with Jesus, we’ll make a list of people we know. It can be anyone because [Bottom Line] everyone can be friends with Jesus! Then when we pray, we can say their names. (Have each family member name someone. Make a list of who says who and don’t forget yourself.)
“Look at all of these names! Thanks! Now, would anyone like to pray before I pray?” (Give each family member who wants to pray the opportunity to do so.)
Prayer: “Dear God, Thank You for sending Jesus to be our friend forever. Thank You that (read the names you wrote) and (name each family member) can all be friends with Jesus. Thank You that [Bottom Line] everyone can be friends with Jesus! We love You, God. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
As we wrap up, I would like to leave you with one of the kids’ favorite ‘good-bye’ songs:
Let Me See Your Alligator
Thank you for the opportunity to partner with you in the discipleship of your kid(s). My prayers are with you.
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
3 John 1:4