The Temptation of Jesus

Matt. 4.1-11

Jesus was tempted in the same ways that we are but he did not give in; he used his knowledge of God’s Word to resist. He showed his readiness to carry out his role as the Son of God on earth. We want the kids to know that Jesus is more powerful than sin!

Key Verse

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…”

– Colossians 3.16a (ESV)

Lesson

Lesson Intro (Temptation)

Supplies: A bag of M&Ms.

You could explain temptation like this:

Imagine for a moment that your mom gave you a big bag of M&Ms to take over to a neighbor’s house and she told you to be very careful, because the bag was open and she didn’t want any of the M&Ms to fall on the ground. And then she said to you: “Now remember those M&Ms are not for you, those are for the neighbor. Don’t eat any on the way!” And so you go out the house, and imagine that the neighbor’s house is a block away. You’re walking down the street and you haven’t had lunch yet and you’re really hungry, and you really love chocolate, and you look into the bag and you see all those brightly colored delicious little M&Ms and there are so many of them you know that nobody would know if you ate just one, but you also know that it would be wrong to have one. Does anyone here know what ‘temptation’ means? Yes, it’s when we want to do something, but the thing we want to do is not the right thing to do. When we want to do something that isn’t right we have the choice to do the right thing or to do the wrong thing. It isn’t always easy to do the right thing because sometimes the thing we really want to do isn’t the right thing to do. That is what it means to be tempted.

Bible story

Supplies: Bread roll and a stone/rock, Bungee cord, Money-bag.

Can anyone think of a story in the Bible where the devil tricked someone into eating something that God said they shouldn’t eat? That’s right, in the story of Adam and Eve the devil came as a serpent and tricked Eve into eating the fruit from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. From that day on all the children of Adam, including each one of us, struggle with temptation. But God made a special plan to send a special King who would overcome the temptation of the devil and fix our broken hearts!

In the story today we see that Jesus also faced temptation, but he always overcame temptation no matter what! The story is from Matthew 4:1-11 and it starts by telling us that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted. The devil tried to trick Jesus in 3 different ways. See if you can remember all 3 ways at the end of the story!

Tell the Matt 4.1-11 story from the Bible. You could use the NLT or NIV for the 6-8s and 9-11s, but you’ll probably want to paraphrase or use the Beginners Bible for the 4-5s. Use the bread/rock as a visual aid for the first temptation, the bungee cord for the second (you can relate it to bungee jumping), and the money-bag for the third.

Application

So, what can we learn from this story? Well, next time you feel tempted to do the wrong thing remember that Jesus overcame temptation! Jesus wants us to be able to overcome temptation too and the Holy Spirit is ready to help us. Remember that you can ask Jesus for help because he already beat the devil!

One of the ways that Jesus overcame temptation was through the word of God (Scripture). He was able to do that because he remembered what was written in the Bible. Colossians 3.16 says that we should let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. It’s good for us to remember what’s written in the Bible because God can strengthen us through his Word!

Prayer: Thank Jesus that he is able to overcome the Devil’s tricks. Pray that the kids would put their faith in Jesus and turn to him when they’re tempted to do the wrong thing.


Review Questions:

  • What was Jesus doing in the wilderness?
  • Who came to him to tempt him?
  • What were the three ways that Satan tried to trick Jesus?
  • How did Jesus respond?
  • Do you ever feel tempted to do something wrong?
  • What should we do when we make a mistake?

Activity

Game Idea 1: Memory Verse Game

Supplies: A rock or small object that pertains to your story

What to do: Have children and volunteers sit in a circle.  Practice the memory verse several times by saying it and having the children repeat it.   Start passing the rock/object to the next person on the right  saying the first word of the verse.  The next person holding the rock/object says the second word of the verse and passes it to the next person who says the third word of the verse and so on around the circle.  Help out as needed.  See if the person who ends up with the rock can say the whole verse by themselves.  

Keep playing until you can go the whole way around the circle without making a mistake.

  • If you want to, reward those who can say the whole verse including the address, (ie Colossians 3:16 or wherever the verse is found), with a sticker or with an M&M or with the reward of being the first to get snack etc.

Image Credit: The Temptation of Christ on the Mount (detail), Duccio di Buoninsegna