For God so loved the world he gave his One and only son, That whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Who were the pharisees? When Jesus lived on earth there was a bunch of men who were very religious: They worked hard to keep all of God’s laws and to keep him happy. But they weren’t happy with Jesus. Jesus said that even if you kept all of God’s laws perfectly you wouldn’t be good enough for him and Jesus said that you could keep all the laws perfectly but if you did it without loving God and other people it didn’t really count. So what happened when one Pharisee snuck out in the middle of the night to see Jesus?
Game: Musical Statues
To ‘It’s not what I do’ (see songs for a link). Play the song and have one leader sit at the controls and pause it randomly. When the music stops every child must freeze! Any one who keeps on dancing is out as is anyone who has frozen in a tricky position and wobbles. Then start all over again until just one person is left.
Game: Chinese Whispers.
Because Nicodemus went to see Jesus in secret sit your children in a circle and have them whisper something to the person next to them. The children must listen carefully and then pass on what they hear. Tell them at the beginning that they will have only one chance to listen. The last person in the circle must say it out loud and see if the message has changed.
John 1:11 He came to that which was his own but his own did not receive him.
Jesus meets Nicodemus in this interview. It’s question and answer because that’s just how our Nicodemus prefered it; you can of course take the questions out if they’d rather do a straight talk.
Here are some sketch ideas for the kids to make up some short dramas from:
Nicodemus sneaks out to see Jesus and keeps bumping into his Pharisee friends. What can he tell them so they don’t find out while also not telling a lie?
Or in threes or fours make a series of freeze frames to show good things people do or people avoiding bad things. Let the other groups guess what they have portrayed. As one big group ask for their ideas for how you would show having new life after elieving in Jesus.
What did Nicodemus and the other Pharisees think they should do to get God to love them?
They knew the Old Testament really well but they didn’t recognise Jesus as the Son of God and his promised rescuer (1:10 and 11)
Jesus said to enter God’s kingdom you must be born again. (3:3)
And it’ll be a spiritual birth not through something we can do. (3:4-8)
Only one thing is required of us: to believe Jesus is God and trust him with our lives. (3:13-18)
Does that mean it doesn’t matter what we do? Not at all. New life means old sins are forgiven but since we already have a second chance at life we should try and do it right. (3:18-21)
Jesus says people will hide from the truth that he is God because they like doing things that are wrong. (3:19-20)
Jesus calls trusting in him living ‘by the truth’ that only he can rescue those people don’t need to hide their sin in the darkness because ad actions and attitudes have been dealt with by God so they can live in the light. (3:21)
Craft: Make a birthday card that celebrates someone being born again. Bring in some fronts of birthday cards to cut up (it’s not just me who keeps things like that, right?) or let them draw their own designs. Things to write inside:
Anything from verses five to eight. ‘Happy second first birthday’
Jesus Rocks the World – Colin Buchanan: Jesus Rocks the World
It’s not what I do – Dr. Rocktrin and the Groovemeisters: God Unlimited
(If you haven’t already bought Colin’s songs go here and the emumusic website sells this track and many other excellent kids songs.)
If you’re doing the whole series of Jesus meets… cutting out a string of 10 people and writing a name of someone on each is a helpful way to keep track. You may want to keep the string until the end if your kids are regular attenders so that they don’t get lost. Fold a long strip of paper like a fan 10 times; cut round this outline or draw a person freehand. Make sure their hands touch the fold of the paper on both edges!
This month pray for yourself: you’ve heard about Jesus but have you been born again? Ask God to show you what it means or thank him for saving you. Draw yourself on your third cut out. Or if your kids are not from church backgrounds and less likely to fall into the pharisee trap: pray for the leaders, thank God that he has saved them and ask him to help them to live in the light.