‘Simon Peter answered,“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”’ Matthew 16:16

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Week 2 objective: to remind the children that people thought the Messiah would be a king like King David.

Game - 7 mins
Aim: to play a game about becoming a king before talking about people expecting the Messiah to be a king just like other kings.

This game is based on the youth game ‘evolution’ which some of the children in your group may be familiar with.

Explain to the group that there are four types of characters in this game: servant, knight, prince/princess, queen/king. Everyone is going to move around the room playing rock-paper-scissors with each other. Everyone starts off as a servant. Servants bow and say ‘Your majesty’. When they play rock-paper-scissors the winner becomes a knight; the loser remains a servant. Knights gallop around the room on a pretend horse. If a knight loses rock-paper-scissors, they become a servant again; when they win they become a prince/princess. Princesses curtsy to everyone they meet while princes put one hand on their hip and the other out in front of them as if brandishing a sword. If a prince/princess loses rock-paper-scissors, he/she becomes a knight again; if they win they become a king/queen. Kings and queens walk around waving but only moving their hands slightly. Kings and queens are invincible and do not lose status, but can bring others up or down by playing rock-paper-scissors. The game is over when everyone is a king or a queen.

Younger children might enjoy playing ‘the farmer’s in his den’. Make the game relevant by changing the song to the king wants a queen, the queen wants a child, the child wants a friend, the friend wants a dog and we all pat the dog. For a quieter activity play a game of draughts. You will need a draughts set. End the game when a piece becomes a king.

Talk about - 6 mins
You will need: a large sheet of paper or whiteboard, marker pens, a Bible, speech bubbles (see Printables) and sticky tac.

Before the session print and cut out the speech bubbles. Write the verse on the large sheet of paper or whiteboard.

Underline the word ‘Matthew’. Explain that this verse comes from the book of Matthew. Explain that Matthew was one of Jesus’ disciples; he watched Jesus and listened to what he said. Matthew wrote down what he saw and heard. Everything he wrote down has been put into the book of Matthew. Quickly find the book of Matthew.

When Matthew wrote this verse he was writing about a time when Jesus had travelled to Caesarea Philippi. Stick the speech bubbles next to the verse. There Jesus spent time talking to his disciples. Jesus asked them the question ‘Who do people say I am?’ The disciples replied, ‘Some people say you are John the Baptist; others say Elijah; others say Jeremiah.’ Jesus asked them another question: ‘But who do you say I am?’ Point to the verse as you read it aloud... ‘Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” ’

Underline the word ‘Messiah’. Explain that ‘Messiah’ means ‘chosen one’. Explain that long before Jesus was born God had promised his people that he would send someone special to them. He promised that this special one would do wonderful things. God’s people called the person they were waiting for the Chosen One or Messiah. Point to the word ‘Messiah’ again in the verse. Nobody knew exactly when the Messiah was going to come or what he would be like. Some people thought he might be a soldier or a king like King David but everyone believed he would be special.

For years and years the Jewish people waited for the Messiah to come. They longed for him to arrive and do everything God had promised he would do. They waited and waited.

Meanwhile the special one had been chosen – he had always been chosen. God chose his own Son Jesus. Jesus came and lived among people and did all God promised the Messiah would do.

But many people who met Jesus did not think he was the Chosen One because he was nothing like they had imagined. He was not a soldier or a king like King David. However some did realise who Jesus really was. They believed Jesus was the Messiah, the Chosen One they had been waiting for. Underline the phrase ‘Simon Peter answered’. Explain that Simon Peter was one of the people who understood.

Explain that Christians today believe Jesus is the Messiah. They believe he is the Chosen One God sent to live with people.

Song - 2 mins
To the tune 'This little light of mine'

Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Messiah',
Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Messiah',
Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Messiah',
'The Son of the living God.'

Matthew 16:16, 'You are the Messiah',
Matthew 16:16, 'You are the Messiah',
Matthew 16:16, 'You are the Messiah',
'The Son of the living God.'

Encourage the children to clap their hands or click their fingers as they sing along.

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