Here you go: a children’s sermon on Matthew 11:2-11. The lectionary brings this text up on the 3rd Sunday of Advent in Year A, but churches might focus on this text at other times too. In any case, I didn’t write on this one back in Advent, and I already posted a children’s sermon for the Sunday coming up — which, as I write, is Lent 2.
(You can find the children’s sermon for John 3:1-17 for Lent 2 here. Or here is one on Matthew 17:1-9, which is an alternate text for Lent 2. Or you can find my Monday meditations on those same texts here and here. Or you can find my Monday meditation on Matthew 11:2-11 here.)
I talk a little bit about Advent in this children’s sermon on Matthew 11:2-11, but if you are using it in another season you can just cut that paragraph.
A Children’s Sermon on Matthew 11:2-11
Good morning, kids! I am so glad you are here in worship today. It’s so great that you came up to hear the children’s sermon.
Today is the third Sunday of Advent. Advent is the time we spend getting ready for our celebration of Jesus’ birth at Christmas. Jesus’ coming to us is so important, so special, so amazing that we need to take four whole Sundays to get ready.
John the Baptist
One person who was really ready for Jesus was his cousin, John the Baptist. John had spent lots of time helping people to get ready for the Messiah. He told them how to think in new ways—God’s ways—because the Messiah was coming. He washed them in the River Jordan, so they would be clean and ready when the Messiah came.
Then one day John’s cousin Jesus came to the river. Jesus wanted John to baptize him too. John lowered Jesus into the water, and then brought him back up.
When John brought Jesus up from the water, he looked up and saw clouds open up. He saw the Holy Spirit come fluttering down onto Jesus like a dove. And he heard God’s voice from the heavens saying “This is my very own Son! I love him so much! You should listen to him!”
Well, that day, John was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah.
Finally, the one they’d been waiting for was here!
But later, guards came from the palace. They arrested John the Baptist. They put him in prison. And there he sat. Day after day.
When John’s friends visited him they said “John, why do you look so sad?”
“I was so happy,” said John, “I was sure my cousin Jesus was the Messiah. But then everything went wrong. Now I’m stuck in prison. Maybe I was wrong about Jesus.”
“Yeah,” said John’s friends. “That is so sad. Maybe Jesus isn’t the Messiah after all.”
“I know, right?” said John. “If Jesus is really the Messiah he should be making things better. Remember what the prophet said long ago about the Messiah?
He will come and save you.
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a dear,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
Isaiah 35: 45-69, NRSV
“That does sound pretty good,” said his friends
“And here I am,” said John, “stuck in prison.”
“What can we do to help?” his friends asked.
“I know,” said John. “Go ask Jesus if he’s really the one we’ve been waiting for or not. Then come tell me what he says.”
The Friends’ Report
The next day John’s friends came back.
“What did he say? What did he say?” asked John.
“Well,” said one friend, “We asked if he was the Messiah. He said to his disciples, ‘Hey you guys, tell John’s friends what you saw this past week.’”
“Then they started telling stories,” said another.
“One said Jesus healed a man born blind,” said the first guy.
“Then they told how four people brought a paralyzed man on a stretcher, and Jesus healed him so he could walk!”
“They told how ten people came with leprosy and they all went off healthy again!”
“Do you remember what they said about the deaf man getting his hearing back?”
“Then they said Jesus’ friend Lazarus died and Jesus actually brought him back to life!”
“Wow!” said John. “That’s good news.”
“Oh yeah, for sure,” said one of the friends. “They said Jesus is always bringing good news to people who are poor and struggling.”
“What else did Jesus say?” asked John.
“Jesus said that people who understand who he is will be the happiest people.”
“Interesting,” said John.
- I wonder how John felt when he heard all the things Jesus had been doing?
- I wonder why Jesus didn’t just answer the question about whether he was the Messiah?
- I wonder if Jesus might still be doing today that show us who he is?
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.
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