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This is My Beloved Son (Baptism of Jesus 2)

July 8, 2010

This second lesson on the Baptism of Jesus turns to baptism.  I’ve supplied the questions regarding what happens in a baptism service but I haven’t supplied the answers  so that you can make the lesson fit your church’s practice.   Watch for the yet-to-come tip sheet on ways to include children in baptism services.

Things to know about this lesson:

  • You will need to print and cut out at least a couple of these doll stencils.

This is My Beloved Son


Materials

  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • tape
  • crayons/markers
  • stencils

Open with prayer (see tip sheet)

Introduce the Story

(If this is your first lesson in Epiphany, you may want to read the introduction to Epiphany in How Did the River Feel.)

Have you ever been to a baptism?

Who was baptized?

What happened to them?  (elicit the features that are part of your tradition’s practice of baptism)

We are going to read about Jesus’ baptism, today – a time when God tells us very clearly how special Jesus is.

Read the Story

John the Baptizer (or Baptist) was a prophet who lived at the same time as Jesus. He travelled around, telling people that they needed to change their lives – to stop sinning and to start living the way God wanted them to. He also told people that God’s chosen one was coming soon – the one who would change the world and bring all the people who follow God’s ways into the perfect world of God

One of the things John did was baptize people in a river called the Jordan River. Being baptized was a way of showing that you were going to change your life. The person who went under the water was not the same as the person who came out of the water – their sins were forgiven and they tried not to sin anymore.

One day, when John was busy baptizing people in the Jordan River, Jesus came to him and asked to be baptized, too. John knew that Jesus was special. He said, “I shouldn’t be the one baptizing you! I need you to baptize me”. Jesus knew it was necessary, though, and he said, “No, at this time, you must baptize me.”

John eventually agreed and he went with Jesus into the river. John put his hands on Jesus’ head and pushed him down into the cold water. When Jesus came back up, he saw the heavens open up and the Spirit of God flew down like a dove and sat on him. A Voice from heaven said “This is my beloved Son. I am very pleased with him.”

(Matthew 3:13-17)

Discussion

Why was John baptizing people?

How did he baptize them?

What are the differences between the way John baptized people and the way we do it?

What are the similarities?

What happened after John baptized Jesus?

What happens after we baptize someone?

When we baptize someone, we say that they have a new life in Christ.  Their sins have been forgiven and they are members of God’s family.  They are also God’s beloved sons and daughters because we can see Jesus in the newly baptized person.

It is not always easy to Jesus inside other people.  People can be mean and thoughtless.  We can be mean and thoughtless, too.  But Christians are supposed to work hard at seeing Jesus inside everyone, no matter what.

Introduce the Activity

What are some things we could use as symbols – things to remind us of – Jesus’ baptism or (our/our friends’) baptisms?  What are the things in the story? What are the things we use in our church services? (water, dove, candle, etc.)

We are going to make special paper dolls today to remind us that Jesus is inside everyone.  We’ll decorate one doll to look like a person – it could look like you or like another person you know or like someone you imagine.  The other doll will be decorated with symbols of Jesus and baptism.  Then, we’ll attach the dolls so that the person covers up Jesus but so that we can still see Jesus underneath.

Make the Paper Dolls

Distribute construction paper, stencils, scissors, and markers/crayons.  Direct students to trace the stencil on one piece of construction paper and then to cut dolls out of two pieces of paper at the same time.  After the dolls are decorated (as described above), help the students tape the dolls together at the top of their heads or at the end of one of the hands so that you can flip the person doll up to see the Jesus doll underneath.

Regrouping

Ask the students to think of a person – without saying the name out loud – who they have a hard time seeing Jesus inside of.  Challenge them to work harder at it this week.

Closing Prayer

Dear God, thank you for the gift of baptism and for making us part of your family through your beloved Son, Jesus.  Help us always see Jesus inside one another.  Amen. 

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