This is a lesson for children on temptation that we used with our kids not too long ago. Please feel free to adapt it as needed to help your kids learn that, with Jesus, they can resist temptation and do the right thing, no matter what!
- Play a game of “Would you rather”. Have the kids stand in the center of the room. Then say, “Let’s pretend you are really, really hungry! You haven’t had anything to eat in HOURS! You don’t know how you are going to make it any longer without eating! If I brought in some food, which would you rather have?” Give two choices and have the kids stand on the left for one choice and on the right for the other. Choices could include the following:
- Would you rather have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a ham and cheese sandwich?
- Spaghetti or macaroni and cheese?
- Steak or chicken?
- Fish or Chicken nuggets?
- Chicken nuggets or a Chicken sandwich?
- Eggs or French Toast?
- Caramel apples or applesauce?
- Pumpkin Pie or Apple Pie?
- Turkey or Ham?
- Mashed potatoes or baked potatoes?
- Chocolate chip cookies or Ice Cream?
When you finish the game, say: Today we are going to talk about a time when Jesus was really hungry, too. He was given a challenge – turn rocks to bread. He could have easily turned the rocks to bread and then eaten the bread, but He knew that would be wrong. He did the right thing – even though it meant he stayed hungry. Jesus always did the right thing, and, with His help, we can do the right thing, too!
- Play a game where the kids “turn the rocks into bread”. Have a bucket full of rocks at one end of the room and a bucket full of bread at the other. Divide your group into teams and make sure you have a bucket of rocks and a bucket of bread for each team. When you say “Go!”, the first person on each team grabs a rock from their bucket, runs to the other end of the room, drops the rock in the bucket and picks up a piece of bread to bring it back to the rock bucket. When he gets back, the next person on the team goes and so on. The first team to have all their rocks turned into bread wins. When the game is finished, say: Great job turning your rocks into bread! Today we are going to talk about a time when Jesus was tempted to turn rocks into bread. He was really hungry because he hadn’t eaten for 40 days, and Satan tried to get him to turn some rocks into bread. Satan said, “If you are the son of God, turn these stones into bread!” Did Jesus do it? No, he didn’t! Jesus did the right thing when he was tempted, and with His help, we can do the right thing, too!
- Play a game to help the kids memorize a verse that goes along with today’s lesson. Beforehand, write 1-3 words from 1 Corinthians 10:13 on a piece of cardstock or construction paper until the whole verse is written out. Then put the whole verse out on the floor for the kids. Have the kids read the verse outloud together. Choose a child to remove one of the pieces of paper and then everyone reads the verse again. Continue this until all the pieces of paper have been removed and the kids are able to recite the verse. Then throw the papers on the ground and have your class see how fast they can reassemble the verse. When you finish this game, say: This verse talks about temptation. We are all tempted every single day. What are some ways that we are tempted? Allow kids to respond. God promises us that when we are tempted, He will provide a way out! We don’t have to give in to temptation! We don’t have to do the wrong thing! Today we are going to talk about a time when Jesus was tempted, but he didn’t give in to temptation. Jesus did the right thing, and we can do the right thing, too!
Last week, we talked about how Jesus was baptized. Well, right after he was baptized, he went into the wilderness where he stayed for 40 days. While he was there, he didn’t eat anything at all so he was pretty hungry! Can you imagine not eating anything for 40 days? You would probably want to eat the next food you saw, no matter what it was!
Jesus was hungry, and Satan knew it. Mark just tells us a little bit about what happened next. This is what Mark says: Read Mark 1:12-13. According to Mark, how long was Jesus in the wilderness? 40 days And what happened during those 40 days? Satan tempted him. Can you imagine being tempted for 40 days AND not having eaten anything for 40 days? Think about how you get when you don’t eat anything for 40 minutes? Or 4 hours?
Show a commercial from Snickers (“You’re not you when you’re hungry”). You can use this one:
Say: When we are hungry, it is harder for us to do a lot of things . . . and it’s easier for us to give in to temptation. So, imagine how it was for Jesus when he hadn’t eaten for 40 days and Satan tried to get him to do something wrong.
The first thing Satan tried to get Jesus to do was turn stones into bread. (Take out a stone and hold it in front of the kids). Now, to us that would seem ridiculous. We couldn’t possibly turn stones into bread! But for Jesus, that would have been a piece of cake! And it would have made sense. After all, he was hungry. The stones could easily be bread, and he would no longer be hungry. What did Jesus do?
Jesus told Satan, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”. Jesus used Scripture – the words of God – to resist the temptation that Satan hurled at him.
We know from the Bible that Satan tempted Jesus two other times. Both times, Jesus resisted the temptation and used God’s Word to help him.
Now, we aren’t going to be tempted to turn stones into bread. But we ARE going to be tempted. What are some things we are tempted to do?
Take the rocks from the earlier game. Use a sharpie to write one of the things the kids say on each rock. Discuss the different temptations that kids face every day, writing them on rocks as you discuss. When you are done with the discussion, say: Remember, that God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear! And, when we are tempted, He ALWAYS provides a way out! Read 1 Corinthians 10:13 – or, if you played the earlier game with this verse, have the kids recite it with you.
You know what we just did right there? We just used God’s Words to help us – just like Jesus did! This is why it is so important that we read the Bible on our own. When we read the Bible and memorize verses, we have verses that we can use when we are tempted – like 1 Corinthians 10:13. Let’s say that together one more time. Recite 1 Corinthians 10:13 one more time.
Let’s spend some time right now in prayer, asking God to help us when we are tempted.
Hand out the rocks that have temptations written on them so that everyone has a rock (if you have a large group, you will need to either write some temptations on more than one rock or divide the kids into small groups for this and give each group a rock). You are each holding a rock with a different temptation. Maybe that is a temptation you struggle with regularly – and maybe it isn’t. I want you to hold onto that rock, though, and pray for yourself when you struggle with that temptation and other people who struggle with that temptation.
Lead the kids in prayer, praying for each of the temptations that were mentioned. You can also have the kids take turns praying, using their rocks as a guide, or split them into small groups (with a teen or adult leader in each group) and have them pray that way.
When you finish praying, say: Jesus was tempted, just like we are, yet he never sinned. Only Jesus can give us the power to resist the temptations that come our way! We need to pray regularly, asking God to help us not give in to temptation and we need to read our Bibles regularly so we have verses to help us when we are tempted!
But, when we do give in to temptation, we can remember that Jesus offers us GRACE. 1 John 1:9 says that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Jesus will forgive us when we give in to temptation – we just need to tell him we are sorry and ask for forgiveness!
And, when he forgives us, he removes that sin far from us. We never have to see that sin again!
Have the kids bring their rocks with the temptations written on them to an art area where you have a variety of paint or different colored sharpies. Let the kids paint their rocks – being sure to cover over the temptation that was written on the rock. Talk with them about how God’s grace covers our sins as they are working.
- Make banana bread or some other type of bread together. (If you decide to do this, you will need to mix all the ingredients together at the beginning of your time together and let it bake while you are teaching the lesson. Then you can eat it at the end, reviewing the lesson together as you do!)
- Make edible paint, let the kids paint bread and have a fun snack! Talk about the lesson while the kids are painting!
- Paint with rocks! Have a variety of paint available and several rocks. The kids will use the rocks to make designs with the paint. They can press the rocks into the paint and then press the paint onto the paper. Give them an idea of what to make with their paint – for example a cross would work really well for this lesson. Then you can talk about how Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross makes it possible for us to be forgiven when we sin!
That’s such a great way to open the concept for them, “Would you rather…” Everyone can relate and understand, and it makes it so clear that temptation is about a choice.