Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Object Lesson: Teaching Children Why Jesus' Sacrifice Was Necessary

Our family loves to use object lessons as a way to teach spiritual truths.  The benefits of activity-based object lessons are described here.

Today's post is a peek into a lesson our family did to learn more about the necessity of Jesus' sacrifice.  It is based on "Mr. Clean" and "A-Cross the Bridge" from Heritage Builders' book An Introduction To Family Nights: Family Nights Tool Chest (a favorite resource!).

We gathered outside and read Exodus 3:1-6 (Moses taking off his shoes to walk on holy ground).  We each took off our shoes and discussed about the meaning of holiness (set apart from anything unclean).  Then I used masking tape to mark a short path on our driveway and filled in the pathway with powder.  The book recommended cornstarch or baby powder, but we used baking soda since the Bible sometimes uses leaven to represent sin.  At the end of the powdered path, I taped a clean sheet of black construction paper. 

In their bare feet, my children tried to traverse the walkway and then place their feet on the construction paper without getting any powder on it.  (I was ready to sweep away powder residue with a hand-held broom so they could try again and again.)  The powder represented life on earth which always includes sin (Romans 3:23).  The black square at the end represented holy ground, being in the presence of God.  It shouldn't have even the tiniest speck of leaven on it.

As my children tried various strategies for going through the powdered path without tracking powder onto the black paper.  They leaped . . . they ran as fast as they possibly could . . . they jumped . . . they tiptoed.  Finally, they determined that there was no way to walk through the powder without tracking it onto the black paper at the end of the path.

After lots of giggles and many failed attempts, we talked about what we learned:
  • Is there any way we can get to the holy ground without making it dirty with sin? 
  • Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment for our sins.  He didn't deserve our punishment, but we are so thankful He took it.

Next, I took out two strips I had cut from a cheap plastic tablecloth and tucked out of sight behind a bush.  One strip went vertically down the path and had the word "JESUS" written in large letters.  The other plastic strip went across it to make the shape of a cross.  We tried again to walk the sin-covered pathway and reach God without tracking our sins.  Of course, it was easy to make it to the end since the powder had been covered by the cross.  We were able to reach holy ground without tracking any powder.

We talked again:
  • How is the cross like a bridge?  How is Jesus' death like a bridge for us to reach God?  Can we become holy by ourselves? 
  • Even though we made this plastic cross and can use it to get to the clean area, we can never really make a way to get to God.  We read John 14:6 which states that Jesus is the only way to God.  No matter how hard we try, we will always have a little sin in our lives.  That's why Jesus needed to die to rescue us.

We ended with a prayer of thanks for Christ's sacrifice.  We asked God to make us holy and help us to not sin. Start-to-finish, the lesson took less than 20 minutes, but my children gained a deeper understanding of why Jesus' death was necessary.   This object lesson might become annual tradition for us each spring, the season of redemption.



  1. I am doing a presentation towards a group of ladies on Jesus being the only way. I wanted a quick opening demonstration to grab their attention. This activity is easy to set up and gets the idea across. Thanks for the great idea. I'm definitely doing this.

  2. Just stumbled across this and it is one of the best ways I've seen to demonstrate the sacrifice of Jesus. My kids learn so much better with involvement; I just love this! So thankful you shared this!

  3. thank you. we will use this on sunday for our kids church.

  4. thank you. we will use this on sunday for our kids church.

  5. I like it also, thanks for idea!!!

  6. I am using this in my pre-teen Sunday School class. They like doing things where they can be involved and learn.

  7. What a beautiful idea! Simple and so memorable. Great job.

  8. Our grandkids are older (ages 14, 12
    , 9) and many devotions are geared to younger kids. This is excellent. We will be doing this one when they come to visit. Thank you.

  9. LOVE THIS I share the gospel to hundreds of kids and this is AWESOME outdoor illustration!!

  10. This is amazing. Thank you for sharing it.