*This plan is taken from “The Gospel Project for Kids” curriculum
Unit 21: Session 4–Jesus Rejected in Nazareth
Bible passage: Luke 4:14-30
Main point: Jesus explained that the Scriptures tell about Him.
Key passage (Memory passage for the unit): John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Big picture question: Who did Jesus say He is? Jesus said He is the Messiah.
Session starter activity: Accepted or rejected?
Label one piece of paper Accepted and tape it to one wall. Label another paper Rejected and tape it to the opposite wall. Instruct kids to stand in the middle of the room.
Explain that you will call out an item. If the kids accept it or like it, they should run to the first wall. If they reject it or don’t like it, they should run to the other wall. Call out items one at a time. Between items, guide kids to return to the center of the room. Sample items: strawberry ice cream, pickles, golf, basketball, recess, math class, getting up early, staying up late, singing, dancing…
Say: We usually accept things that we like and reject things that we don’t like. Today, we are going to hear a Bible story about a time when Jesus was rejected by people in His hometown. Why do you think they would reject Jesus?
Big picture question and Bible Timeline:
Jesus’ message was about who He is. Who did Jesus say He is? Jesus said He is the Messiah. That’s our big picture question and answer. Each of the Bible stories we have heard show that Jesus said He is the Messiah. We will hear another story today about Jesus’ message.
Jesus was about 30 years old when He began His ministry. We have heard about many people who met Jesus: Nicodemus, John the Baptist, and the Samaritan woman. Jesus traveled with His disciples and taught people in synagogues. Today’s Bible story is called “Jesus Rejected in Nazareth.” Jesus returned to His hometown to teach in the synagogue, but the people there did not accept Him. Let’s hear what happened.
Tell the Bible Story: Read Luke 4:14-30. **Try to have the kids find the passage on their own. If they have trouble, remind them that Luke is the third of the four Gospels.
Say: Most people know Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but did you know that Mary and Joseph took Him to Nazareth while He was still young? He grew up there.
When He returned from some of His traveling, He went to read Scripture in the synagogue. He read from the prophet Isaiah, and then explained to the people that Isaiah had been writing about Jesus! Jesus explained that the Scriptures tell about Him. The whole Old Testament was the first part of God’s rescue plan, just like we have learned in past weeks and months. Jesus was finally there, and He explained to the people that His job was to set free people trapped by sin.
The people were amazed at first; many of them recognized Jesus. He didn’t seem that special to them growing up, so what made Him so special now? They wanted to see His miraculous powers! Maybe then they would believe in Him.
But Jesus knew that miracles weren’t just a talent to show off. He refused to do miracles for them, and they grew angry when He reminded them of Elijah and Elisha, who helped Gentiles, not just Jews. Jesus was telling them that God’s power and love are for the whole world, not just God’s chosen people. The Jews were supposed to be a blessing to everyone, but many times they cared only for themselves.
This made the people mad. The people decided to throw Jesus off a cliff, they were so angry. But it was not yet Jesus’ time to die, so He was able to walk away right though the crowd.
Eventually, people who hated Jesus’ message would put Him to death. When the time was right according to God’s plan, Jesus was arrested and killed for telling the truth about His identity as God’s Son. He told people they were sinners who could not live righteously, but they did not like hearing that. The religious leaders wanted to believe that they were doing well on their own. They thought they could obey the law well enough to earn God’s favor. We think the same thing, sometimes.
But Jesus died because we cannot earn God’s favor. We are dead in sin, unable to save ourselves. Jesus lived a perfect life and died on the cross to pay for our sin. When we believe in Him, He forgives us, raises us to life spiritually, and gives us the Holy Spirit to live in us and guide us to live for God. We know that we can live forever with God because He sees Jesus’ righteousness when He looks at us. Our sin is forgiven and washed away when we believe in Jesus.
Bible Review Questions:
Read the following statements one at a time. Kids either accept the statement as true or reject it as false. If false, have the kids explain why it is false or how they could change the statement to be true.
- The Book of Luke is in the Old Testament. (Reject; the Book of Luke is in the New Testament)
- Jesus was from Nazareth. (Accept, Luke 4:16)
- Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah. (Accept, Luke 4:17)
- Jesus said Isaiah’s prophecies would never come true. (Reject; Jesus said He made them come true, Luke 4:21)
- Jesus said prophets are only accepted in their hometown. (Reject; Jesus said no prophet is accepted in his hometown; Luke 4:24)
- The people wanted to throw Jesus off a cliff, but He fought His way out of the crowd. (Reject; Jesus pass right through the crowd; Luke 4:29-30)
Say: Good job spotting lies and rejecting them! Jesus was rejected in His hometown even though He told the truth. Jesus explained that the Scriptures tell about Him. The people were confused because they remembered Him as a boy living in Nazareth. Who did Jesus say He is? Jesus said He is the Messiah, but the people weren’t sure He was telling the truth.
When Jesus explained that God’s people had been rejecting God’s prophets even back in the time of Elijah and Elisha, they grew angry and wanted to kill Him. Jesus passed through the crowd unharmed. Later, Jesus was arrested and killed by people who did not believe He was telling the truth. His death and resurrection made the way for us to be forgiven and live with God forever!
Key verse review:
John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Take volunteers to say the verse from memory.
Say: How many ways are there to God? Just one. That way is Jesus. He told His disciples that a few hours before He was arrested. We know that Jesus is the only source of forgiveness from sin and eternal life. Many people don’t like that message though.
One popular teaching says that if you do more good things than bad things, you will get to heaven. Some people will even tell you that there is no heaven at all. Those ideas are not true. The Bible tells us that we all fall short of God’s perfect standards, and we all need Jesus as our Savior.
Spend some time praying as a family.
Here’s a free word search the kids can print out if they would like: