I sat down to write a children’s sermon on John 1:29-42, and there it was: I’d already posted one, three years ago. Looks like I’ve been at this for about one cycle through the ol’ lectionary.
At a glance my earlier effort was very different. My style has evolved — which is probably good. I decided to go ahead and write a new children’s sermon on John 1:29-42 so I can look at them side by side, and assess the differences.
I don’t think I’ll normally write a new children’s sermon on a text I’ve done before. I’ll need to think about what to do.
- Start a cycle on the Old Testament texts from the lectionary?
- Start in on the epistle readings?
- Fill in gaps from the Gospel series, either lectionary texts I missed, or texts between the lectionary readings?
(That might be good since lots of folks don’t use the lectionary, and lots of folks find my children’s sermons via web searches.)
I’d be very grateful to hear from you if you have a preference. Comment below or use my contact form. But for this week let’s jump on in to a new children’s sermon on John 1:29-42.
The writing took an unexpected turn. I thought I’d be focusing on the dialogue in the last half between Andrew and Jesus. But I found I wanted to make sense of John’s comments in the first half. Since Andrew was clearly there, I had him pose the lines that gave a context for John’s words.
A New Children’s Sermon on John 1:29-42
Good morning kids! I am so happy to see you. It’s great that you are here in worship today. Thanks for coming up to hear the children’s sermon.
Last week our Gospel story was about when Jesus got baptized. He went out to the wilderness, and his cousin John washed him in the river Jordan. That washing is called “baptism.” That’s why John is called “John the Baptist.”
John had been teaching the people to get ready for Jesus to come. He would wash them in the river Jordan. Then he would help them learn how to live God’s way, to be ready for the Messiah.
Some people followed John around to learn from him. One person who followed John was named Andrew. He wanted to learn all they could so they would be ready when the Messiah came.
After John baptized Jesus he had a talk with his followers. “You know, you guys, now that Jesus has come you should really follow him, not me.”
Andrew said, “But John, you’ve taught me so much! I want to stay close to you.”
The Lamb of God
Well, just about then, John saw Jesus coming up the road.
“Hey look!” said John. “Here comes God’s own lamb!”
Andrew looked around. “Where?” he asked “I don’t see a lamb. But there’s Jesus!”
“That’s who I mean,” said John. “Jesus is God’s very own beloved lamb.”
“I thought you said he was the Messiah!” said Andrew.
“I did,” said John. “Sometimes the prophets call the Messiah God’s very own lamb.”
“Why’s that?” asked Andrew.
“Lambs are special,” said John. “Their shepherds love them and care for them — like God loves Jesus. And every year at passover, the lamb we eat reminds us of how God saved us from slavery.”
About then, Jesus came up to talk to John. John introduced Andrew to Jesus. Then Jesus went on his way.
Andrew said “John, Jesus seemed nice but I already know you. I think I’m going to stay with you instead of following him.”
John said, “But Andrew! Jesus is so much more important than me! You should follow him instead of me.”
“How do you know he’s so important?” asked Andrew.
“God told me: Jesus is the Messiah!” John said. “God said I should watch when I washed people. When I saw his Holy Spirit rest on someone, that would be the Messiah. Well, yesterday, when I baptized Jesus, I saw it! The Holy Spirit came fluttering down like a dove. It landed right on Jesus!”
“Hmmm,” said Andrew. “I’ll think about it.”
The Next Day
Well, the next afternoon, just like usual, John came down to the river Jordan. And there was Andrew.
“Hi John!” Andrew said. “I’m still following you!”
“I see that,” John said. “Did I tell you that Jesus is so important I’m not even good enough to tie his shoelaces?”
“No,” Andrew said, “You didn’t mention that.”
“Well, think about it.” John said. “Right now I have to wash some people in the river.”
Pretty soon though, John looked up from the river. He saw Jesus passing by. He shouted out, “Hey Andrew! Look! It’s God’s very own lamb!”
Andrew looked up and saw Jesus. Then he looked back at John. He waved to his good friend. And he went to follow Jesus.
When Andrew caught up, he said, “Hey Jesus!”
And Jesus said, “Hey Andrew. Looking for something?”
Andrew said “I want to come along with you. Where are you staying?”
And Jesus said “Come and see!”
- I wonder what John felt when he saw the Holy Spirit come down and land on Jesus?
- I wonder what Andrew felt inside when he left John and followed Jesus?
- I wonder if Jesus will ever ask you and me to leave something behind and start in a new direction?
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…)