When Jesus appears at the Temple in John 2, he claims his authority to those using the worship of God to enrich themselves at the expense of the pious. The story of the temple cleansing can be a fun and fascinating one to share with children. Certainly, it reminds us that Jesus was not merely a meek flannel-graph image, but He was willing to take a stand when necessary to preserve the integrity of His Father’s house. There is more to this story than that, though. In this passage, it’s important to recognize what true worship means, and to see that we are made to worship God with all that we are, body and soul.
The following lessons and activities are from different writers on our website but all address this same passage in John 2:13-22. Links are direct download PDF files.
Video Bible Story
Jesus got angry? He knocked over tables? This story can be a surprising one for children to hear, but is a fun one to teach and act out. Of course, the important thing to emphasize is that Jesus had a good reason to get mad. He was not having a selfish temper tantrum, but was defending the integrity of God’s house. The lesson that these crafts accompany reminds us that we are made to worship God, and we want to honor Him with our lives and bodies. One of these crafts reminds us of the story with a simple “whip” made of yarn. The other craft encourages students to consider what it means to “clean out” distractions and focus on the best ways to love and serve God.
Children’s Message & Object Lesson Demonstration
This message explores the story of Jesus cleansing the temple, which was being corrupted and not used for proper worship. For this illustration, children will see an object being polluted and used for the wrong reason, and through that they will better understand Christ’s actions. Children will also hear the importance of respecting not only the church, but our own bodies and lives as instruments to worship God.
John 2:13-22 ESV
The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.