*This plan is taken from “The Gospel Project for Kids” curriculum
Unit 19: Session 6–Jesus Was Tempted
Bible passage: Matthew 4:1-11
Main point: Jesus was tempted and never sinned.
Key passage (Memory passage for the unit): 1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a saying that you can trust. It should be accepted completely. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the worst sinner of all.”
Big picture question: What makes Jesus different? Jesus is fully God and fully man.
Session starter activity: No peeking!
Before you begin, you will need a bag that you cannot see through (preferably a paper grocery bag or one that will make noise) & an ordinary object (i.e. an empty egg carton). Conceal the object in the bag.
Instruct the kids to close their eyes. Explain that you are going to tell them a story. They may hear some unusual noises as they listen, but tell them not to peek!
Hold the bag containing the item. As you begin to tell the story, open the bag slowly.
Say: Oh, wow! you won’t believe what I have here in my bag. This is the coolest thing ever. You all will be so surprised when you see it. Let me describe it to you.
Rustle the bag and describe the item inside to pique kids’ curiosity. Tell kids about the item’s shape, color, purpose, and so on. Invite the kids to open their eyes.
Say: Raise your hand if you were tempted to peek while I was talking about the object. Did any of you actually peek? Today’s Bible story is about a time Jesus was tempted. Do you think He gave in to temptation?
Big picture question and Bible Timeline:
We have been learning about the ways Jesus is different from us. Do you remember the big picture question and answer? [Allow responses]. That’s right. What makes Jesus different? Jesus is fully God and fully man. Because Jesus was fully God, we may think that He never felt tempted to sin. Remember though, that Jesus was also fully man. Temptation is a part of our lives that Jesus dealt with too.
In fact, after Jesus obeyed God by being baptized, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days! While there, Jesus did not eat anything. He fasted and prayed to God. Our story this week takes place during this time. It is called “Jesus Was Tempted.”
Tell the Bible Story: Read Matthew 4:1-11. **Try to have the kids find the passage on their own. If they have trouble, remind them that Matthew is the first book in the New Testament. It is one of the four Gospels.
Say: What an amazing story! I get cranky if I miss breakfast, and Jesus hadn’t eaten in 40 days and 40 nights. When the Devil showed up and told Him to turn stones into bread, Jesus felt real temptation. As we’ve been learning, Jesus is fully God and fully man. This means that Jesus was very hungry and had the power to turn rocks into soft, tasty bread. Jesus knew that God’s plan was for Him to fast, not just to make bread to eat. Instead of giving in to temptation, Jesus used words from Scripture to remind the Devil that God is more important than food.
However, Satan is almost as clever as he is evil. He next took Jesus to the top of the temple and quoted a little of God’s Word to Jesus to convince Him to test God’s love for Him. The Devil hoped to twist God’s Word to make it seem like something bad was actually OK. But Jesus knew better and used another verse to fight back.
A third time Satan tempted Jesus. This time he offered Jesus all the power and riches in the word if Jesus would worship him. Jesus knew better and reminded the Devil that only God deserves our worship. Strike three for the Devil. Jesus was tempted and never sinned.
But what does this story mean for us? You may be thinking “of course Jesus didn’t sin! He’s fully God!” How can we ever hope to fight temptation? While it is true that we all sin, we actually have hope against the Devil. It’s not because of our own ability to try really hard. Though knowing the Bible is a great help when fighting temptation, even memorizing Scripture isn’t enough to help us defeat sin.
That’s why we need Jesus. This story is important because it reminds us that Jesus really is our perfect and sinless sacrifice. He was able to die on the cross for our sin because he had obeyed perfectly. When we trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives with us. And you know what? He is the same Holy Spirit who was with Jesus in the wilderness helping Him fight temptation.
Without Jesus, we would have no hope. With Jesus, we have forgiveness of sin and the Holy Spirit to give us hope and power to fight back. The Bible even tells us that we are never tempted beyond what we can handle! God always provides us a way out! [See 1 Cor. 10:13] That doesn’t mean we will always obey perfectly after we trust Jesus, but it does mean that we can rest in Him and keep fighting temptation with the Holy Spirit’s power!
Bible Review Questions:
Look up the following verses (you can even do this in “sword drill” fashion if you have multiple older children, who can race to see who can find the verse and read it aloud the fastest):
- Matthew 4:4
- Deuteronomy 8:3
- Luke 4:10-11
- Psalm 91:11-12
- Matthew 4:7
- Deuteronomy 6:16
- Luke 4:8
- Deuteronomy 6:13
Say: Did you notice anything odd about the verses read? These New Testament and Old Testament verses were in our story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. These are the verses that Jesus used to fight temptation and the verse the Devil tried to twist so that what was wrong would seem right.
An interesting thing to keep in mind is that the Devil knows God’s Word, but he misuses it to trick us. To combat temptation, we need to trust in Jesus for power from the Holy Spirit and really study God’s Word to help us see when the Devil is trying to twist it.
We won’t always resist temptation, but we can rest in the knowledge that Jesus was tempted and never sinned. He was the perfect and spotless sacrifice who takes away the sin of the world. When we trust in Him, God views us as righteous despite our sin, and He gives us new hearts that grow to love God more and more and resist temptation better and better.
Key verse review:
1 Timothy 1:15
Here is a saying that you can trust. It should be accepted completely. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the worst sinner of all.
Write each word or phrase of the key passage on a separate piece of paper or craft stick. Place the paper/sticks in a cup or jar. Invite kids to pull out a paper/stick and place the verse in order. For more of a challenge, have kids pull out a paper/stick and say the verse starting from that word or phrase, looping back to the beginning to finish, if necessary. See who can say the key passage from memory.
Say: This verse reminds us why Jesus came into the world. Our Bible story tells us that Jesus was tempted and never sinned. Jesus died for our sins. All of us are sinners! We can trust in Him for our salvation. When we do, God looks at us as though we lived in perfect obedience like Jesus did!
Spend some time praying as a family.
Here’s a free coloring page the kids can print out if they would like:
To our beautiful Mothers,
Keep pouring Truth and Love into the lives of your children. Your humble obedience and steadfast faithfulness are pleasing to the Lord; may they lead to a harvest of fruitfulness and blessing!
With Much Love,
Jenn & Carrie