The book of Revelation can be intimidating and confusing — even for adults. People have interpreted John’s vision in many different ways because so much of his apocalyptic imagery is symbolic in nature. Despite this, everyone can agree that it gives us a bigger picture of who Jesus is, and it points us to a future time in which he will finally defeat all evil and reign in glory! The book of Revelation gives hope to those who have put their faith in Jesus and who acknowledge him as king. The purpose of this lesson is to give the kids a framework for understanding the role of the book of Revelation and to let them understand that there will be a glorious day when Jesus comes back and when all his followers will get to live with him in an awesome new city!
- Jesus will return one day to rule as our good king.
- Jesus kept all his promises… He will keep this promise.
- Jesus is preparing a place for us in heaven and there will be a big celebration for those who love him and follow him when he returns.
- Jesus wants to prepare us in this life for heaven.
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what they have done.”
– Revelation 22.12 (NIV)
Consider using an illustration of a teacher leaving a classroom to run an errand and leaving the class with a task to complete. When the teacher returns he or she will expect the class to have done what was required. Some of the children will have done the task and others wouldn’t have. In the same way, when Jesus left he gave instructions and promised that one day he would be back.
John was one of Jesus’ close friends and disciples. He loved to tell people about God’s love and that Jesus died for the sins of the world and that he rose from the dead. When John was old some bad men sent him to a prison on a small island called Patmos because he was talking about Jesus, but Jesus appeared to him there and gave him a special message. Jesus spoke to him in a vision, which is almost like a dream, except that John was awake. John saw what it would be like one day when Jesus returns and Jesus told him to write down his vision. Today that vision is in the Bible. It’s the last book in the Bible and it’s called the “Revelation to John”, or just “Revelation”.
One day John was worshipping God and suddenly he heard a loud voice behind him that sounded like a trumpet. John turned around to see who was talking to him and it was Jesus! Jesus was shining and wore a long white robe, his hair and beard were white like wool and his eyes were bright. He even had a sword in his mouth! What would you do if that happened to you? Let’s see how John responded. This is what John says:
Read Revelation 1.17-19
Jesus told John to write seven letters to seven churches and those letters are also in the book. In those letters Jesus gave each of the churches warnings and encouragements. Jesus reminded the people that one-day he would come back and he wanted them to be ready on that day.
Read Revelation 7.9
Wow, John saw that there were many people in heaven from all over the world! John saw a vision of God sitting on a beautiful throne in heaven and the angels and all his followers were worshipping him! He saw many things in heaven that were difficult to describe, so he explained what he saw with many symbols and pictures. In his vision God showed him that things on earth would sometimes be difficult but no matter how bad it gets, God is still on his throne and one day Jesus will come for his people.
Read Revelation 11.15
John saw that when Jesus comes again everything bad on earth will come to an end. God showed John a new heaven and a new earth where everything was good and all God’s people could be together and worship him. Nobody will be sad there and Jesus will be with his people forever! Has Jesus come back yet? No, he hasn’t yet but he will be back!
Read Revelation 22.12
Jesus assured John that he will be coming back. Right now, as we speak, Jesus is preparing a place for us in heaven. Jesus wants us to prepare our hearts for heaven. There’s no room in heaven for selfishness, or rudeness, or stealing, or fighting. The way we prepare our hearts is by allowing Jesus to make our hearts new. We need to turn to him for forgiveness for the things that we do wrong and we need to follow Jesus in everything we do.
Even though John was in a prison on a little island he could still speak to Jesus. Jesus wants us to know that we can also speak to him at any time and that he is our king now because he is the King of Heaven. When we live for him now, we will live with him forever!
Pray that the children will have the courage to live their lives obedient to Jesus and thank God that they can turn to him at any time to worship him or to ask him for help when things get tough.
- Why was John on the island of Patmos?
- Does everybody think it’s a good idea to follow Jesus?
- What does Jesus want us to do while we wait for his return?
- How does Jesus prepare our hearts for heaven?