Week 3 objective: To understand that God the Father sent the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ place.
Game - 6 mins
Aim: to play the game ‘Fruit salad’ and be aware of what it means to change places.
Encourage the children to sit in a circle on the floor. Go around the circle naming each child ‘apple’, ‘orange’ or ‘banana’. Explain to the children that you are going to call out the name of a fruit. If you call out ‘banana’, all the ‘bananas’ should stand up and swap places. Those who are not bananas should remain seated. However if you call out ‘fruit salad’ everyone should change places. Play the game a couple of times slowly at first, then begin to call out the fruit names in quick succession. You could make the game more challenging by adding a ‘smoothie’ and/or ‘peel’ command; if you shout out ‘apple smoothie’ the ‘apples’ should crawl on the floor to swap places; if you shout out ‘apple peel’ they should do a silly walk as they swap places.
Talk about - 9 mins
You will need: ‘3 in 1’ symbol (see Printables), ‘3 Persons’ textboxes (see Printables), ‘3 in 1’ symbol with descriptions (see Printables), a whiteboard, a big sheet of paper, sticky tac and marker pens.
On the whiteboard write the verse. Cover the verse with a sheet of paper. On the paper draw a large circle. (If you don't have a whiteboard use two sheets of paper.) Divide the circle you have drawn into thirds and stick the textboxes in the circle, as shown by the ‘3 in 1’ symbol.
Quickly remind the children that the Bible teaches that there is one true God, three parts; God is three in one. Refer to the ‘3 in 1’ symbol as you explain that the parts of God are called Persons. The three Persons of God are God the Father, God the Son (whom we call Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit. Each of the Persons is fully God. The Bible teaches that each of the Persons is real and living. They are good, powerful and wise. They are loving, joyful and peaceful. The three Persons are so perfectly joined they are one. There is one God and he is three in one. Hold up one finger, then three fingers, then one again.
Talk about the game the children have just played. Talk about how the children sat in each other's places. Remove the sheet of paper with the circle to reveal the verse. Underline the phrase ‘The Father will send Him in My place,’. Remind the children that when Jesus said these words he was telling his disciples that Father God was going to send the Holy Spirit. Remove the textboxes from the circle and place ‘God the Father’ over the word ‘Father’ in the verse and ‘the Holy Spirit’ over the word ‘Him’ in the verse. Place ‘God the Son’ at the beginning of the verse. Explain that another way of saying this part of the verse is ‘Jesus said, “God the Father will send the Holy Spirit in His place”’.
At the time the disciples were not sure what Jesus meant. But we now know that Jesus was saying that he was going to go up to Heaven and the Holy Spirit was going to come down from Heaven to live with people on earth; soon they would change places.
Remind the children that Jesus said these words hundreds of years ago. Show the children the Holy Spirit arrow. In the Bible we read about Jesus going back up to Heaven. Christians call this Jesus' ascension. Christians call the day the Holy Spirit came down from Heaven the Day of Pentecost. Remind the children of the story of Jesus’ ascension and the story of the Day of Pentecost (see pages 383 and 384 of The Children’s Bible in 365 stories). The Day of Pentecost took place ten days after Jesus went up to Heaven, which is why we say… when Jesus went up the Holy Spirit came down. Use sticky tac to stick the ‘Holy Spirit arrow’ next to the verse.
Christians believe that today the Holy Spirit lives with people here on earth. They believe that wherever they are and whatever they are doing the Holy Spirit is with them. Explain that, a bit like the wind, people cannot see the Holy Spirit, but Christians believe he is with people everyday, everywhere.
If you have time, summarise by showing the ‘3 in 1’ symbol with descriptions. Remind the children that the Bible teaches that God the Father is sitting on a throne in Heaven, God the Son, Jesus, is now sitting at his right-hand side and the Holy Spirit is here on earth living with people.