On the 7th and last Sunday of Easter season each year, the Revised Common Lectionary appoints a portion of John 17. It’s a little strange to me when the Gospel readings in Easter are on passages prior to the resurrection, but so it goes. My task this year is to write a children’s sermon on John 17:6-19.
As is often the case, the fact that this isn’t a story makes it a little harder. But my other go-to approach serves me well: Just give the kids a relevant point from the text in a kid-friendly context.
- Not too many points.
- Nothing abstract.
- Just part of what Jesus is trying to get across, emphasizing what kids need.
By the way, if you have any doubt about my first point in this children’s sermon, that Jesus in heaven prays for us, see Romans 8:34.
A Children’s Sermon on John 17:6-19
Good morning kids! Welcome. I am so glad you are here today.
I want to talk to you about the passage from the Gospel that we read in this morning’s service. The Gospels are books of the Bible that tell about Jesus’ life and what he taught. We always read a passage from the Gospels on Sunday morning.
This morning, the Gospel reading came from just after Jesus shared the Last Supper with his friends. He knew he was about to go to the cross. He knew his friends would be so sad when he was gone.
So Jesus did something very important: Jesus prayed for his friends.
It is kind of a long prayer, actually. We only read part of it this morning. But I think there are three things in that passage that you might find very interesting.
Jesus Prays for You
One very important thing is that this passage shows us that Jesus prays for his friends. That night after dinner he prayed for his first friends.
But now Jesus is in heaven. Do you know what Jesus is doing? The Bible tells us that Jesus prays for you and for me. Because we are his friends too.
That’s right. Jesus prays for you — because you are his friend and he loves you.
This passage also shows us some of the things Jesus asks God to do when he prays for us.
The first thing Jesus prays for is that God will protect us.
Jesus knew that his friends were going to face very scary things. So he asked God to protect them, and keep them safe.
Here’s how he put it:
Holy Father, protect them …
John 17:11 NRSV
he said. Then he said it again:
… I ask you to protect them from the evil one.
John 17:15 NRSV
Jesus knows that you get scared sometimes too.
- Sometimes people get scared when they have bad dreams.
- Sometimes people get scared when they hear funny noises and imagine them to be monsters.
- Sometimes people get scared when other people do mean things and hurt them.
- Sometimes people get scared when they don’t have enough food or a safe place to live.
But no matter what scary things happen, Jesus is praying for you, asking God to protect you. Because God loves you, and Jesus loves you.
The second thing Jesus prays for is that God will help us love him back.
Jesus said to God,
John 17:17 NRSV
That’s kind of an unusual word: “sanctify.”
To “sanctify” something means to make it “holy,” set apart, devoted to God.
For a person to be holy means that they love God. They try to live in ways that please God, because they love him.
That’s some of what Jesus prays for you. Jesus asks God to protect you from harm because he loves you. And Jesus asks God to help you love God back, so the two of you can be really close forever and for always.
- I wonder if you ever get scared.
- I wonder if it helps to know that Jesus is praying for you.
- I wonder what life will be like when all of Jesus’ prayers are answered.
You are, of course, free to use this children’s sermon, or adapt it as you find most useful. But, if you use it, please do one (or more!) of the following.
- You can let me know that you are using it, either in the comments below, or using the contact form above.
- You can put a little notice in your church bulletin that your children’s sermon is adapted from one published on GaryNealHansen.com.
- You can support my work over on Patreon. (Just $1 per month brings my children’s sermons straight to your inbox about two minutes after they go live. And every little bit keeps me going…)