Children’s Sermon Object Lesson (Matthew 4:12-23) Jesus Calls Disciples

Let’s Be Disciples! Children’s Message on Following Christ

Main Lesson Objective: Sometimes we have to let go of one thing in order to embrace another…when it comes to knowing Jesus, nothing is more awesome and wonderful than He is. It is well worth giving up other things in order to follow Him. This message features an object lesson that includes abandoning heavy armloads in order to reach for something far better. Explain that we must sometimes set aside what we think is important, in order to get something much better. When we follow Jesus, we seek after a valuable treasure!

Law/Gospel Theme: Just as the Lord called His disciples, He calls us to know, follow, and learn from Him. Sometimes following Christ means letting go of things that we think we want. For the original disciples, it meant giving up their jobs to follow wholeheartedly. But Jesus gave up everything to come to Earth and die for us! His sacrifice is far greater, and our gain from knowing Him is more than anything we can imagine.

Use this object lesson in your children’s ministry or kids Sunday School to teach about becoming a disciple of Jesus. Don’t miss the full 16-page print ready Sunday School lesson, Bible craft ideas, and bonus Bible teaching ideas for kids.

Optional Materials: Several heavy items to carry; a smaller, but more “exciting” and meaningful item.

Bible Passage: Matthew 4:12-23

“Becoming Disciples” Children’s Sermon

Message: Note: As with most messages, the details of how you choose to communicate this are adaptable and should cater to timing as well as to your audience and student needs.

Greet children, and request a volunteer to assist with the illustration…

Hello, children of God!
I need a helper. Would someone like to volunteer? Great! Now, I want you to do something pretty simple. I’m just going to hand you a few items, and I’d like you to hold them. Can you do that for me? Hand student several bulky items, such as books, materials, work supplies, backpack, etc. Is it getting tough to hold these things? Don’t worry; you’re doing great. Now, I’m going to hand you another thing. Can you get this open for me? Hand student another item, such as a bag of candy or treats. Hmm…it looks a bit difficult. What do you think you need to do to get those treats open? That’s right! You will have to let go of the things that are in your hands in order to pick up the next item. And it’s quite worth it, isn’t it? You’d much rather have the candy than the other things. You wouldn’t mind letting go of the books to pick up the candy.

Sometimes things in life work this way. It might sound strange, but there are times when we need to let go of one thing in order to embrace another thing. This isn’t always as easy as choosing between heavy items and candy, but it is important to recognize that we encounter decisions in our lives and often need to make sacrifices to gain greater things. In fact, Jesus calls us to do this. He invites us to be His followers, and sometimes that means we leave other aspects of life behind, but it’s worth it! When Jesus first called His disciples, He invited them to work and learn with Him. In order to do so, they had to leave their jobs. The Bible tells us they did this immediately. They didn’t wait until it was a convenient time or sit looking at pros and cons analysis; they left their boats and fishing nets, and followed Christ. They knew that what He had to offer was even more important than occupation and livelihood. They were willing to leave behind what they knew to pursue something greater. And it was worth it! Following Jesus cost the disciples their careers, and eventually their lives. But they made a difference for eternity. They were part of establishing God’s Kingdom on Earth, and part of witnessing the life of the Messiah!

And we have the same call on our lives. You don’t have jobs just yet, but someday you probably will. This call to follow doesn’t mean we have to lay aside all career hopes and dreams, but there might be other sorts of choices that we face. We might not get to do all of the things that sound fun, because we can only hold so much in our hands at once. We can’t do it all. We sometimes need to set aside one thing to pick up another, and we might have to leave one job or hobby or desire in order to pursue Christ. But He is always worth it! Jesus promises blessing beyond what we can imagine, and His ways are far greater than ours. Jesus takes away our sins and grants us eternal life. That’s worth much more than anything we might let go of in return. It’s even better than candy! We can trust that following Him is always the best choice for our lives.

Why don’t we pray now and thank God for letting us be His followers?

Children’s Prayer

(Have kids repeat each line)
Dear God,
Thank you for calling us to follow You.
You are worth more than anything else
Help us to love and serve you.
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
In Jesus name, Amen!

Bible Verses/story to Reference:

Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
    the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people dwelling in darkness
    have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
    on them a light has dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.
-Matthew 4:12-23

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