Quick Devotions for Your Sunday School Using The Story of Jesus for Children

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If you’re on the hunt for quick devotions for your children’s church or Sunday School class, these two devotions will come in handy!

Both of these devotions rely on a couple of short clips from The Story of Jesus for Children. They’re ideal for kids between seven to nine years old. You’ll find clips from the movie to use along with questions to get the kids talking. Along with each question, you’ll find commentary to help you understand what the question is trying to accomplish and tips for getting the kids talking—and keeping them on track.  

1. Learning to Obey Jesus

Jesus tells us that if we love Him, we’ll follow His commands (John 14:15). But obedience can be a bit difficult for kids (and adults, if we’re honest) to understand and embrace. One of the biggest reasons obedience can be so tricky is that we often don’t see the benefits of our obedience until after committing to it, and sometimes, we don’t see the positive results for a long time. 

In this lesson, kids will get to see Peter obey Jesus when he really doesn’t want to, and we also get to see how it pays off. This allows you to talk about the fruits of obedience.  

Lesson Intro: 

Q: What does it mean to obey? 

Spend some time fielding various answers and see how close you can get to a good definition from one of the kids. You’re looking for something like “It means to follow instructions” or “It means to do as you’re told.” Give it a couple of minutes, and if you don’t get the correct definition, go ahead and give it to them. 

Q: Who do we have to obey, and why do we need to obey them?  

We don’t want to get too deep into the woods here, but children will naturally associate obedience with their parents. And we want to focus this lesson on obeying Jesus. Reminding kids that not every adult needs to be obeyed can also be helpful, but that relies on explaining authority, trust and relationships, and that’s probably going to require a long rabbit trail. It is best to focus on obeying parents and Jesus.

When it comes to why we need to obey them, the answer you’re looking for is basically that they know better than we do. They have more experience, a better understanding of the world, and care about us immensely. And no one understands the world better than Jesus (after all, He made it), and no one loves us more either! 

Let’s look at a time when Jesus gave Peter some instructions to obey. 

Video and discussion: 

Q: What did Jesus want Peter to do?

This is a simple question to make sure everyone understands the story and is on the same page. Jesus wanted Peter to take the boat out and put the nets back down to catch some fish. 

Q: How did Peter respond when Jesus asked him to do that? Did he want to do what Jesus asked?

He didn’t think Jesus understood that they had been fishing all night and hadn’t caught anything. Despite some protest, Peter does what he’s asked. 

Q: Have you ever not wanted to do something your mom and dad asked you to do? Why didn’t you want to?

This question will likely get the most feedback (and potentially be the most fun). You’ll want to be careful to steer the conversation in a way that allows everyone a chance to provide input. 

There’s a chance that kids will have stories based on times when they were asked to do something, and there was a legitimate reason they didn’t want to do it. Maybe it was dangerous, or perhaps it was immoral. It’s OK to acknowledge those, but be careful not to allow the conversation to go too far in that direction. 

We want to draw out times when kids might just not want to do something or think they understand things better than their parents. The point here is that sometimes Jesus asks things of us that might not make sense because we don’t have His perspective and need to trust Him anyway. 

Q: Fishing was Peter’s job. Did Peter have a successful day at work thanks to Jesus? What would have happened if Peter told Jesus no?

The goal here is to help the kids grasp the idea that Peter benefitted by following Jesus’ advice, but the only way he could have benefitted was to do it, even if it seemed like a bad idea. We never really understand what is lost when we choose not to obey Jesus. 

Q: Jesus will probably never ask us to go fishing, but what are some things that Jesus asks us to do that we might not want to do? 

An excellent example of this is Jesus’ command to love our enemies. Everyone can think of a reason why their situation with someone might be the exception. But Jesus asks us all to love our enemies without exception, and we have to trust there is a blessing there when we do so—even when we don’t feel like they deserve it. 

Q: How can we become better at obeying Jesus?

There’s really no correct answer to this question. It’s more about getting kids to think about making the decision to be obedient. When opportunities arise to follow Jesus, what mindset or practices can we adopt so that we’ll more likely follow through? Have kids brainstorm ideas and pray with them to put those ideas into practice. 

2. Knowing why you believe

Kids are exposed to a lot of varying information. They have people they’re close to in their lives who have strong feelings about religion, specifically about Jesus. It’s not enough to tell them what to believe; they need their faith to become their own and know why they believe what they believe. 

In this devotion, you’ll have a chance to talk to kids about why people believe Jesus is our Savior and, even more importantly, you’ll get to ask why they in particular believe it. 

Lesson intro: 

Q: Why did you start attending church?

This question is based on the assumption that this is a children’s church devotional, but feel free to shift this to whatever makes the most sense. For the most part, the goal is to get kids thinking about why they’re there.

Most of them will be there because their parents brought them. But some might be there because they came with friends. Talk about the various things that have brought them together. 

Q: Why do you think it was important to your friends or parents that you come to church? 

The goal here is to get kids to wrestle with the fact that some people have an experience with Jesus and want to share it with the people closest to them. Naturally, some kids will gravitate towards the idea that “mom and dad want me to go to heaven.” That’s a perfectly acceptable response, but encourage them to go deeper. 

It can be helpful to come up with an analogy explaining how we all want to share the things we love. If we find a movie we like or an ice cream flavor we love, we want to share it with the people closest to us because we think they will like it, too. 

Video and discussion:

Q: Why do you think Jesus told the disciples to give the people something to eat if He knew they didn’t have enough food for everyone? 

This is a question with no right answer. It’s just helpful to get the kids to explore the whys associated with Bible stories. Jesus probably wanted to test their faith, and He may have wanted to make the miracle more pronounced to demonstrate what can be accomplished with faith. 

Q: How did Jesus take five loaves of bread and a couple of fish and feed everyone? 

Let the kids explore the answers to this question. This was a miracle, and we obviously can’t know how He did it. The kids might get a little silly answering this question and that’s OK. Don’t force the correct answer on them. Allow them to come up with theories. If the kids don’t come up with potential plausible answers on their own, provide them yourself.

You can ask them things like: “Do you think Jesus had food stashed away that He snuck in when people weren’t looking?”, “Do you think there was food that people forgot about?”, or “Did people get excited and start sharing their own food?”

Don’t be too quick to shut down potential answers; you’ll get to the miracle aspect in follow-up questions. 

Q: What was Benjamin’s response to seeing Jesus feed all those people? 

There was no explanation for how Jesus accomplished the feat of feeding all those people. It made Benjamin realize that Jesus must be the Messiah. 

Q: Benjamin’s friend believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but Benjamin didn’t. Why wasn’t it enough for Benjamin that his friend believed it? 

This might be a little difficult for kids to grasp, so you might need to draw the conversation out for this point. Just because your friend has a favorite ice cream flavor or television show doesn’t make it our favorite. We need to have our own experience with it. 

Benjamin was willing to come see Jesus with his friend, but He wasn’t sure how he felt yet. He needed to have his own experience with Jesus and come to his own conclusion. We can’t transfer our faith to someone else, and they can’t give us their faith. The best they can do is put us in the best position so that we can have our own experience and develop a faith that is our own. 

Q: Why do you think the gospel writers added this story to their history of Jesus? 

They wanted the readers to understand that this was a miracle. There wasn’t a natural explanation for what Jesus did. It was a miracle. (You might need to define what a miracle is.)

The writers wanted it to be something that helped people conclude that Jesus must be the Messiah.

The gospel writers did the same thing we do when sharing our faith with others. We’re telling them about our experience with Jesus and giving them the reasons why we believe, and allowing them to come to their own conclusions. 

Q: What makes you believe in Jesus? 

The truth is that the kids may have never thought about why they believe. They may have grown up in a believing household and haven’t given their belief much thought. That’s OK. It’s alright for them to wrestle with why they believe and how to make it their own. 

Q: Benjamin tells his parents about his experience with Jesus. How did his parents react? How does Benjamin respond?

People may not always agree with us, but that shouldn’t stop us from believing what we believe. If the kids don’t recognize that Benjamin doesn’t apologize and agree with his father, you might want to point it out to them. Benjamin is sad that his dad won’t listen to him, but it doesn’t stop him from believing it because he knows what he saw with his own eyes. 

Q: Benjamin’s dad doesn’t believe him about Jesus right now, but does that mean he never will believe him?

Lead the discussion in a direction that can help kids understand that someone’s opposition to the gospel right now doesn’t mean they will never believe. If we continue to pray for them and share our hearts with them, they may come around and find that they believe, too. 

Pray with the kids about anyone they would love to see believe in Jesus. 

Check out The Story of Jesus for Children 

The Story of Jesus for Children contains scenes you can use for devotional times with your kids. Feel free to watch and share the entire film with your kids or with other parents who might find it helpful!