This week: a children’s sermon on Mark 6:1-13 — Jesus’ friends go on their first mission trip.
Actually it’s just the last half of the passage. The lectionary selection has two separate but related stories:
- First Jesus has a frustrating day in ministry. (6:1-6a)
- Then Jesus sends his friends out on their first mission trip. (6:6b-13)
If you happen to have read my “Monday Meditation” on this passage, you know that I think the first half of the passage is kind of funny. Jesus is frustrated by his old neighbors’ criticism and lack of faith, and he was “only” able to “lay hands on a few sick people and heal them.”
That sounds like a better day in ministry than I’ll ever see.
Anyway, I think it makes sense to focus on just one of the stories.
I’m choosing to write my children’s sermon on Mark 6:1-13 on the last half, because I think it contains stuff kids in a church might find more familiar. You know: Mission trips, packing for a journey, that kind of thing.
A Children’s Sermon on Mark 6:1-13
Hello Kids! It is so good to see you. Thanks for coming up to hear the children’s sermon.
I want to tell you a story from the passage of the Gospel we read in this morning’s service.
Jesus and His Friends
Jesus was traveling around with his friends. And each place they went, Jesus helped people.
Just that day he’d been teaching people about the kingdom of God. Plus he met some people who were sick, and he healed them.
Jesus actually did this kind of thing a lot. So finally his friends decided to ask Jesus about it.
Of course they made Peter ask the question.
“Um, Jesus?” Peter said. “Why is it that you always make us come along when you are healing and teaching and stuff?”
“What?” asked Jesus “Don’t you like traveling around with me?”
“Oh no, nothing like that,” said Peter, “It’s great and all. We’re having lots of fun. But—I mean, why do you want us along?”
“Ah, good question Pete.” Jesus said. “I want you to learn how to help people. Someday, you know, you’ll be doing all the same kinds of things I do.”
“No way!” said Peter.
“Yes way!” said Jesus.
The Mission Trip
“In fact I just had a great idea. I’m going to send you guys out on a little practice trip. You’ll have a mission. We’ll call it a ‘Mission trip.’”
“Ooh…” said Thomas. “That sounds kind of scary. I doubt I could do that.”
“Well I think it sounds great,” said Peter. “Let’s make it a contest. I bet I can go farther than any of you guys! I bet I can teach more and—“
“Um, slow down there, Peter,” said Jesus. “It’s not a contest. And I’m not sending any of you alone. You’re so confident, and Thomas is so full of doubts, I think the two of you should travel together. The rest of you pair up. It’s the buddy system.”
So each of Jesus’ twelve friends found a traveling partner.
The Not-Packing List
“Okay,” said Peter, “Now we just need a packing list. I have this big backpack I brought from home. What should I put in it?”
Jesus said, “Well, Pete, you can skip the backpack. That’s number one on my not-packing list.”
“What’s a ‘not-packing’ list?” asked Thomas, kind of nervously.
Jesus said, “It’s a list of all the things not to bring on this mission trip. Item One: No bag.”
“But where am I going to put this loaf of bread?” said Peter. “I always get hungry on the road.”
Jesus said, “Item two on the not-packing list. No bread.”
Then Judas spoke up. “Oh, I get it,” he said. “We just bring enough money to buy food along the way.”
(Judas carried the group’s money bag, so thought he could divide it up.)
“Nope,” said Jesus. “Item three: No Money.”
“But Jesus,” Peter complained. “Where am I supposed to put my clothes?”
“Oh Peter,” said Jesus, “You’re still stuck on the bag thing aren’t you? Well, just wear what you have on. That’s item four: No extra clothes.”
“Oh man!” Peter complained. “Can I at least go home and get my hiking boots?”
“Nope,” said Jesus. “Item five: No boots. Just your everyday sandals please.”
“Um, Jesus?” asked Matthew shyly. “Can I bring this stick? It helps me keep my footing on trails.”
“Sure, Matthew,” said Jesus. “Sticks are fine. But just one each.”
The Real Purpose
“But Jesus—” said Peter. “How are we supposed to eat and stay warm and stuff for a whole week I we can’t bring anything but what we’re wearing?”
“Good question, Peter,” said Jesus. “First of all, you’ll have each other. Together you can solve all kinds of problems.”
“What’s second?” asked Thomas. I guess he doubted Peter would come up with many good ideas.
“Second,” said Jesus, “you’ll have all the people you’ll meet everywhere you go. You know, there are good and kind people everywhere!”
“But what if the people are mean to us?” asked Thomas. He really did have doubts about this whole ‘mission trip’ idea.
“Well Thomas,” said Jesus, “if they won’t welcome you, wipe the dust off your feet and go somewhere else.”
“So we have each other,” Thomas said, looking doubtfully at Matthew. “And we might meet some nice people along the way. Don’t we have anything else to rely on?”
“Yes,” said Jesus, smiling. “You have exactly what I rely on to do what I do. You have God.”
“Oh!” said everybody.
“That’s actually why I’m sending you on this mission trip,” Jesus said. “So you will learn to trust God—that’s called faith. And so you’ll learn to help each other. That’s called love.”
So they went out, two by two, for a week-long trip doing what they’d seen Jesus do.
- I wonder what it felt like to go out to do what they had seen Jesus do?
- I wonder what it felt like to take nothing but each other and God?
- I wonder if you’ve ever had to trust God or other people?
- I wonder if you were to go out to do things Jesus did, where you would go and what you would do?
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