Do you know which church holidays occur after Easter? Even if you didn’t grow up in a tradition that celebrated the high church calendar there’s a lot of good in remembering events from it. And one of those events is this week. Do you know which one? Here’s a hint, it’s the next big event after Jesus ascended to Heaven. It’s PENTECOST!
Teaching kids about this special day is a cool way to see how the whole Bible fits together. Read on to help kids learn about the Holy Spirit by counting to 50, playing a game, and singing a song.
You really have to start with the first Passover, when God was preparing to set the Israelites free from Egypt. To be kept safe from the tenth plague, the Israelites had to put the blood of a lamb on the door frame of their houses so the death angel would pass over their house and no one would die. See, the lamb had already died for them. They had put their hand on the lamb’s head to symbolize that the lamb was receiving their sins. They put the blood on the top middle of the door frame and on the sides. Now we see how Passover points us to Jesus, the pure lamb of God, who died on the cross for our sins.
After the Israelites were freed from Egypt and left on their long journey, something really special happened 50 days later. That’s when they received the Law from God. Now, you probably know that pente means five, like a pentagon has five sides. Pentecost means 50 days. The law of God showed people what they needed to do to please God. But people weren’t able to keep the law. They kept going against God’s way. So, they needed to continue with blood sacrifices to pay for their sins. They continued to put their hand on the lamb’s head to say they believed God and this lamb was receiving the punishment for their sins. Even though they couldn’t keep the law perfectly, it remained very important to the Israelites.
Now, fast forward fifteen hundred years to when Jesus died on the cross for our sins during Passover, showing that He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The book of Hebrews teaches us that His sacrifice was enough for all our sins. We no longer need the repeated sacrifice of animals. After Jesus died, He was buried in a tomb, then rose again. Many people saw Him and then He ascended into heaven. He said He would not leave us without comfort or guidance but would send the Holy Spirit to us. Guess how many days it was between His death on the cross and the arrival of the Holy Spirit!
I hope you guessed 50 days! The Jews were gathered for Pentecost, which was a celebration remembering the giving of the Law. Little did they know that year they would receive something way better! Just as Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit came to His followers and has continued to come and indwell every believer in Jesus. He comforts us and guides us. Read Acts chapter two with kids to hear all about it.
This wonderful day signified that we no longer need to know and follow all the details of the Law for salvation. The Law showed us that sin is very wrong, and we fall far short of God’s perfection so we could never be accepted by a holy God. Now, the Holy Spirit shows us that God gave us a new promise, that if we believe in Jesus and acknowledge that we need Him to take away our sins, His blood will make us righteous and clean before God. The Holy Spirit teaches us every day how much God loves us and how to live a life full of joy and goodness. That is SO much better than trying to obey lots of rules every day. Now we can understand that living a holy life is full of blessing!
Kids can appreciate these deep truths, but often we need resources to help us and them understand truths. Check out CEFPress.com for great lessons and song visuals, devotions, and curriculum for teaching kids. These materials are going to teachers all over the world to help them disciple children through the Boxes of Books Program.
A fun way to help kids remember some of the work the Holy Spirit does in the hearts of believers is to play a game with them. You could write down on colored notecards things like “Helps me know God,” “Comforts me when I’m sad,” “Fights sin,” “Gives gifts to serve others,” and “Grows spiritual fruit.” Have one set for each kid and hide them around the house or classroom. Challenge the kids to find one of each, then talk with them about what each point means and how they can look for them in their own lives. You can even add actions to the points. For example, you could give a thumbs up for “Helps me know God,” give yourself a hug for “Comforts me when I’m sad,” or stand tall with your hands on your hips for “Fights sin.”
When talking about the Holy Spirit, questions often come up about the Trinity. This may also be a good time to talk to kids about how God is one God in three persons. You may want to use the “Trinity Song” music video to help teach kids about this big concept. You can find it on our U-NITE® app or at unite.cefonline.com.
Many kids—and a lot of Christians for that matter—know very little about the Holy Spirit. You might find Pentecost is a great opportunity to start talking about the work of the Spirit in our lives.
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