It’s Wednesday night and I’m finally sitting down to write my children’s sermon on Mark 13:1-8. It won’t come out till Friday. Argh! (Here’s a link to my regular Monday Meditation on this text from a while back.)
I try to get these out to you on Monday but a full-time intensive online course this week has kept me from my normal routine.
It may not seem like it’s all that late for a children’s sermon. I had my share of Sundays where the first thought I was able to give to the children’s sermon was Sunday morning. Like during the Prelude.
But that’s a stressful way to live. And it’s no way to treat the task of preaching, especially to kids, where the sermon is basically cross-cultural communication. Not only do I need prayerful study of the text and a solid sense of the point I want to make. I also have to translate it into terms that will make sense to a five or eight year old.
So, I know it’s better to give a children’s sermon some time to percolate. Especially this week when my children’s sermon on Mark 13:1-8 takes me into the “little apocalypse.” Lord knows I don’t want to talk about Jesus’ predictions of the end times without some advance preparation.
A Children’s Sermon on Mark 13:1-8
Good morning, kids! Im so glad you’re here today. Thanks for coming up to hear the children’s sermon. This part of the service is just for you.
One day Jesus and his friends had been praying in the Temple. As they walked out, Bartholomew, one of the disciples, was looking all around. His eyes got so big, and his mouth dropped wide open.
“Wow!” Bartholomew said, “Jesus, can you believe the size of these buildings? Just look at these huge stones they’re built from!”
A couple of the disciples started laughing at Bartholomew. They’d been to Jerusalem before.
“Oh come on, Bartholomew!” someone said. “Haven’t you seen big buildings before? Where did you come from, anyway?”
“A little village,” said Bartholomew, “just south of Samaria. This is the first time I’ve ever been so far from home.”
“Yep,” said Jesus as they walked along, “these buildings are huge. But I’ll tell you a secret: One day all these buildings will fall down—every single stone.”
And Jesus walked on ahead with Bartholomew, talking about how eventually even the biggest and best things people make will wear out and tumble to the ground.
I think Jesus wanted to get Bartholomew out of earshot, since the other disciples were still laughing at him.
What’s the big secret?
But the two sets of brothers, Peter and Andrew, and James and John, got to talking.
“Why do you suppose Jesus told Bartholomew that the Temple was going to come down some day?” asked James.
“When do you suppose that’s going to happen?” asked Andrew.
“These buildings are built to last,” said John, “I bet they won’t fall down till the end of the world!”
“Wait a minute!” said Peter. “Do you mean Jesus is telling Bartholomew when the world is coming to an end?”
“I bet he is!” said James.
“No fair!” said Andrew. “How come he didn’t tell all of us?”
“Why don’t we ask him!” said John.
“You ask him,” said Peter. “Jesus will tell you anything.”
The big question
Well, by the time they caught up with Jesus and Bartholomew, they were on a hill outside the city, looking back across to the Temple in the distance.
“Jesus!” said John, “Tell us what’s going to happen at the end of the world.”
“Yeah,” said James, “How will we know the end is coming?”
“Yeah,” said Peter, “you’re the Messiah. You must know.”
“I heard a preacher say that there would be signs,” said John, “like wars, and earthquakes, and people starving.”
“Hey!” said Andrew. “I heard there were people starving right now in some country or other.”
“That’s right,” said Peter, “And there was an earthquake just a couple years ago. And there’s always wars going on. Jesus! Is this the end of the world? Oh no!”
“Okay you guys,” said Jesus, “let’s slow down a bit. Why are you asking about the end of the world?”
“Um,” said Peter, “we thought you were telling Bartholomew about the end of the world.”
“Nope,” said Jesus.
Then they all sort of stared at each other for a moment.
“But still,” said John, “What about what that preacher said? Signs? Wars? Earthquakes?”
The Big Conclusion
“Don’t get all worried,” said Jesus. “It’s kind of like when a woman has a baby. A long while before the baby comes out she starts to feel her tummy starting to squeeze. It’s like that with what you hear about wars and earthquakes and people starving. That stuff happens first, but the end is still a long way off.”
“Some people were saying that the preacher I heard was really the Messiah,” said John.
“No way,” said Peter. “Jesus is the messiah!”
“Well that’s all part of those first birth pains,” Jesus said. “Lots of people will come saying they are actually me. Don’t you believe it. Just keep loving God and loving other people. You’ll be fine.”
- I wonder how Bartholomew felt when Jesus said those big buildings would all fall down someday?
- I wonder why the disciples all wanted to know about the end of the world?
- I wonder if you ever wish you could know the future?
- I wonder what Jesus most wants you and me to be doing between now and the end of the world?
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.
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