“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
Read the Key Verse with your class. Ask your students if any of them have friends. What characteristics make someone your friend? (i.e.: dependable, good listener, kind, always there, etc.) Read today’s memory verse to your class. Ask if any of them have a friend like that. Would they, themselves, be the kind of friend that would lay down their life for another person? The best friend in the world we could ever have is Jesus. Today we will look at Jesus’ prayer in the garden on the night he was arrested. Have them pay attention to what was on Jesus’ heart and mind as we read His prayer in the garden the night before He died on the cross.
Summary: We have been studying the five Personal Books of the Old Testament. As we have learned, these books dealt with individuals’ very personal experiences with God. We have been able to see some serious heart issues as these individuals sought to know and understand God better. In studying them, we should now understand how very personal of a God we serve. When these men cried out for answers, God answered.
If you remember last week, we learned of a perfect love and compared it to a Christian’s love with God. Just as God loved us and sent His Son, Jesus, we are to love Him with all of our hearts. If our students can learn to love Jesus with all of their hearts, then their hearts will be prepared to one day love a man or a woman. Remember, Christians are the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”. Compare this thought to today’s memory verse.)
Today we will see the heart of Jesus revealed as He prayed in the garden on the eve of his arrest and crucifixion. Just as the men who wrote the Personal Books laid their hearts open and bare for us to read about, Jesus’ prayer revealed the deepest and innermost thoughts of His heart. Notice how He first dealt with himself, then his disciples He would be leaving behind, and finally with those who hadn’t believed upon Him yet – many of which hadn’t even been born yet (that is you and me.) After this great prayer, we then look back at Psalm 22 which foretold of Jesus’ suffering death upon the cross, realizing Jesus knew He was about to lay down His life for His friends. This is the greatest picture of a friend (see today’s key verse). Jesus is the greatest friend because He gave up His life for me (and anyone who would believe).
Just as we have been learning how to relate to God as the men who recorded the Personal Books, Jesus is our ultimate example of one who was not afraid to make His petitions known to God – knowing He would answer. He is also a perfect example of the kind of friend we are to be to others. Remember, the people He prayed for were the same people He gave His life for – His friends.
Encourage your students to bring their Bibles and use them!
Emphasis: Jesus is our ultimate example of the kind of friend we are to be – willing to give all.
Optional Worksheets to be downloaded:
Ideas for children:
Stickers always work well with children. Often times I watch Wal-Mart or Oriental Trading Company for specials or deals on things I can use for crafts for Sunday School (i.e. foam sheets, Bible Story scene stickers, crowns, stick on jewels, construction paper, etc.). I keep a stash and when I need something, I go search in my stash! Pinterest always has great ideas!
You could have a coloring sheet that goes with the lesson.
One idea for today’s lesson: For today’s lesson give your students a blank piece of paper. Have them write down some of their friend’s names. Once they have finished this, have them think of something specific that they can pray about for each friend. (Examples: maybe their friend is sick, or maybe they are on vacation, or maybe they are not very truthful and need prayer, maybe they have a friend who is especially mean to others and need prayer to help them be kinder, etc.) Over all, encourage them to see needs in their own hearts and lives and the lives of others for which they can pray Children, too, need to learn the importance of prayer. And they will be encouraged and blessed as they see a prayer that they have written down answered!
Refer to the wall in your classroom that has become a mural.
By now your class should be in a groove as to the direction and areas in which they need to focus and work on to improve their Christian lives. Use this knowledge to help you address specific areas in each lesson that your class can discuss and share as you add new things to your mural. Continue to watch as your class grows in their knowledge of not only God’s Word, but areas in their lives that can be corrected, drawing them closer to the Lord.
Have them each add anything else they may have brought to add to the wall. Encourage everyone to participate.