Scripture: Matthew 2: 1-22
Memory Verse: “Those who walked in the dark have seen a bright light. And it shines upon everyone who lives in the land of darkest shadows.” Isaiah 9:2 CEV
· God leads us to Jesus.
· As followers of Jesus, we worship him as our Lord.
1. Older children will locate the story of the Wise Men in their Bibles. Younger children will learn that the story is in Matthew.
2. The children will learn the events of the story and be able to distinguish popular traditions about the story from what is actually in the text.
3. The children will play a game in which they “follow the star” to find Jesus.
4. The children will discuss ways in which God helps us find Jesus and helps us to know Jesus as our Lord.
Welcome and Introductions: ()
1. Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your name-tag. Make sure the children are wearing name-tags. If not, ask the shepherd to supply a temporary badge. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.
2. Open with a brief prayer (optional, as they have just prayed in Great Hall).
Scripture/Bible Story: ()
1. Grades 1-2 will not use Bibles, but do open yours to show them where the story is. For grades 3-5, make sure everybody has a Bible. The shepherds will have extra Bibles. Help the students to find the book of Matthew. (Get the shepherds to go around the room and help.)
2. If necessary, review the organization of the Bible: The Bible is divided into two big parts, the Old and New Testaments. Each part is made up of books, which are divided into chapters and verses. Have them figure out whether Matthew is in Old or New Testament (it’s about Jesus so it’s in the NT). Show them that if they open their Bible in the middle, they’ll usually land in the book of Psalms in the OT. Point out that the book name is at the top of each page. After finding Psalms, if they then take the pages on the right side and divide them in half, they’ll land somewhere near the beginning of the New Testament. Tell them that Matthew is the first book in the New Testament, so they should be able to find it from there. (Some of the children will know the books of the Bible. Encourage everyone to learn them.)
After they’ve found Matthew, help them find chapter 2 and tell them this is where the story of the wise men is told in the Bible. Some of the children will confuse chapters and verses. Show them that chapter numbers are the big ones, and also are at the top of every page.
3. Read the story, letting the older children follow along in their Bibles, or review it, using the summary below as a guide. With older children, point out Judea, Galilee, and the various towns on a map (use the wall map or a map from the books in the supply bin). Unless this is the first Sunday of the rotation, let the children help you tell the story. This will give you an idea of how much they already know. Other ideas for reviewing the story in later weeks:
Begin the story and let each person in the circle add one line to the story until it is complete. Help them tell the COMPLETE story.
Tell the story back to them with inaccuracies and let them correct you (especially fun for the younger ones -- but don’t do this until the later part of the rotation).
Have them roughly sketch the story out and then tell it.
Photocopy the passage (remove verse numbers), cut it up and see if they can put it back together correctly.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in the region called Judea, the king of Judea was a man named Herod. Some time after Jesus’ birth, some wise men (astrologers, people who studied the stars) from the east, from another country, showed up in Jerusalem and said, "Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star and have come to worship him."
When King Herod heard about this, he was worried, because he was afraid a new king would replace him. Herod brought together the chief priests and the religious teachers and asked them, "Where will the Messiah be born?" (the Messiah was a person the Jews expected to come rescue them from the Romans who had taken over their country.)
They told him, "He will be born in
Herod secretly called in the wise men and
asked them when they had first seen the star. He told them, "Go to
The wise men did as the king said and they followed the star to the place where Jesus was. They were thrilled and excited to see the star.
When the wise men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him. (Frankincense was a powder that was burned to make a sweet smell. Myrrh was a sweet-smelling powder often used in perfume. Both substances were very expensive and were considered appropriate gifts for royalty.)
Later the wise men were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and they went back home by another road.
After the wise men had gone, an angel from
the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up! Hurry and take
the child and his mother to
That night, Joseph got up and took his wife
and the child to
When Herod found out that the wise men had
tricked him, he was very angry. He gave orders for his men to kill all the boys
who lived in or near
After King Herod died, an angel from the Lord
appeared in a dream to Joseph while he was still in
Joseph got up and left with his family for
1. Divide the class into teams of three or four kids each. There’s no scoring, but teams will work together to answer questions.
2. Have questions on paper or cards, numbered on the back and taped face down to the walls of the room. (Use masking tape or painter’s tape so as not to damage the murals.) The last card says “Jesus.” (See end of lesson plan for questions. Feel free to add some of your own.)
3. Hold up a flashlight and tell the kids, “This flashlight is our star, and you all are wise men. The star is going to guide you to Jesus. But along the way we’re going to find out how wise you are about this story.”
4. Shine the flashlight on the first card. Have a child from the first team take the card off the wall and hand it to you without reading it (it has the answer on it). Read the question to the team and let them confer. The child who took the card should then answer the question. Let the class as a whole agree or disagree with the answer, then announce whether it is correct.
5. Continue the game, moving from team to team, until every child has had at least one turn. During the early weeks of the rotation, ask the questions in the order given. Later, you can try mixing them up. On the last turn, shine the light on the “Jesus” card. When it’s turned over, show it to the class and tell them, “You’ve found Jesus.”
Grades 1-2: Read the question and the multiple-choice answers given. If the kids are finding all the questions easy, let them answer without offering the choices.
Grades 3-5: Read the question only; don’t offer the choice of answers unless the team is stumped.
Reflection Time: ()
1. Recite the Bible memory verse learned in the Great Hall. “Those who walked in the dark have seen a bright light. And it shines upon everyone who lives in the land of darkest shadows.” Isaiah 9:2 CEV
The wise men saw the star, interpreted it to mean a new king was born, and followed it so they could worship the king. But the wise men were not Jews, they had their own different religion. Why would they want to worship the king of the Jews? This story teaches us that Jesus is Lord for the whole world.
In this story, the wise men found Jesus by following a star. Who led the star? God.
So who led the wise men to Jesus? God.
Who leads us to Jesus? God.
What are some of the ways God provides for us to get to know Jesus? Studying the Bible, prayer, learning about Jesus in Faith Quest, attending worship services, talking to other people who believe in Jesus.
What did the wise men do when they met Jesus? They worshiped him.
What do we do as followers of Jesus? We worship him as our Lord.
What does it mean to worship Jesus? As well as attending worship services, singing hymns, praying, and other traditional “worship” activities, we worship Jesus by learning about him and trying to live as Jesus taught us to live.
At pass out the journal pages and ask the shepherds to pass out pencils/markers. Optional: Give the children a sticker or some other memento to paste in their journal as a reminder of the workshop.
Read the prompt to the children: “Write or draw a picture of three things you can do this week to show that you worship Jesus as your Lord.” Help them if they need ideas – remind them that when they show kindness and love to other people, that is one way of worshiping Jesus. The workshop leaders and shepherds should set an example by completing a journal page of their own, and can share their thoughts with the children. Kids who finish early can do the puzzle on the back of the page.
At ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly.
Encourage the children to bring an offering next week. Remind them that the offering from this rotation will go to the Joy Gift. Presbyterians all over the country give to this offering at Christmas time. The money helps retired church workers and supports eight Presbyterian colleges where most of the students are members of racial/ethnic minority groups.
Prayer: Close with a brief prayer, Suggestion: God, thank you for sending Jesus to the whole world, and thank you for all the ways you help us to know Jesus. Amen
Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help collect cards, Bibles, pencils, etc. When the room is tidy, dismiss the class.
Teacher preparation in advance:
1. Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study.
2. Prepare opening and closing prayers.
Room set-up (must wait until after
4. Find the small blue fold-up table, stored behind the puppet stage. It is handy for organizing all your supplies. Optional: Bring a CD or taped music for background music while you are gathering, meditative music for Reflection time. A boom box is located in the Puppet workshop cabinet.
5. In your bin of supplies are two books of maps. Find one appropriate for pointing out the locations in the story.
6. Write the scripture verse on the white board or display it in the room some other way.
7. Cut out the questions for the game. (Optional: Paste them onto index cards.) Number them on the back and tape them face down on the walls around the room. Use masking tape to avoid damaging the mural.
8. Practice reading or telling the story so that it goes smoothly and you keep the children’s attention during this important part of the workshop.
Pencils (in supply bin; the shepherds also have pencils)
Dry-erase marker (in supply bin)
Extra Bibles (in cupboard of Creation Station).
Questions for game, cut out and numbered on back
Storytelling ideas: http://www.dennisdewey.org/Dennis8.htm
Questions for Game
Cut out, write numbers on back, and tape face down on walls around the room. Optional: Glue each question to an index card – cut the card in a star shape if you like.
Grades 1-2: Read the question and choice of answers.
Grades 3-5: Read the question only – offer choice of answers only if the team is stumped.
Correct answers are in italics.
1. When Jesus was born, who
was king of
2. How many wise men came to see Jesus?
The story doesn’t say.
3. True or false: The wise men were kings.
False – they were probably astrologers, people who studied the stars and interpreted them.
4. Where did the wise men come from?
5. Why did the wise men leave home?
They wanted to see the world.
They were afraid of Herod.
They saw a star, interpreted it to mean a king was born, and followed it to worship the new king.
6. Where did the wise men stop to ask about the child?
7. How did Herod feel when he heard about the wise men?
8. When Herod heard about the wise men, he called together the chief priests and religious teachers. What did he ask them?
What do you think about those wise guys?
"Where will the Messiah be born?”
When did the star appear?
9. When Herod asked the religious leaders where the Messiah would be born, what did they tell him?
"He will be born in
"He will be born in
"He will be born in
10. Herod secretly called in the wise men. What did he ask them?
When they had first seen the star.
What gifts they were bringing.
What was the name of the child.
11. After the wise men answered Herod’s question, what did he tell them?
12. When Herod told the wise men he wanted to worship the new king, was he telling the truth?
Yes. He was excited that the Messiah had come.
No. He wanted to kill the child.
13. After the wise men talked to Herod, what did they do?
They followed the star until they came to the place where Jesus was.
They went to
They followed the star to
14. When the wise men went into the house where Jesus was, whom did they see?
Mary and Joseph.
Jesus and Mary.
Jesus and Joseph.
15. When the wise men saw Jesus, what did they do?
They got down on the floor and played with him.
They warned his parents about Herod. They knelt down and worshiped Jesus. They gave him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
16. What did the wise men say to the shepherds?
Look out! My camel is about to step on your sheep!
May we follow you to
Nothing. The shepherds are in a different story.
17. After the wise men met Jesus, they were warned in a dream about something. What was it?
Not to tell anyone they had seen Jesus.
Not to return to Herod
To hurry away to
18. After the wise men found Jesus, how did they avoid seeing Herod again?
They dressed in disguises.
They hurried through
They went home by a different road.
19. When Herod found out that the wise men had tricked him, what did he do?
He ordered his men to kill all the boys who lived in
He ordered his men to kill the wise men.
He ordered his men to kill Mary and Joseph.
20. Why did Herod choose two years or younger as the age of boys to be killed?
He hated little children.
Based on what the wise men told him about when they had first seen the star.
Based on what the chief priest told him.
21. After the wise men had gone, Joseph also had a warning in a dream. What was it?
Not to tell anyone about the wise men.
To hurry and take Jesus and
To hurry and take Jesus and Mary to
22. How long did Joseph,
Mary and Jesus stay in
Until Herod died.
Until Jesus was 10.
Until they got homesick for
23. After King Herod died, Joseph had a second dream. What message did he receive this time?
Take the child and his
mother back to
Take the child and his mother back to
Take the child and his
mother back to
24. When Mary, Joseph and
Jesus returned from
25. Why didn’t Joseph, Mary
and Jesus go back to
Joseph heard that Herod's son was ruler of Judea, and he was afraid to go there.
Joseph heard they needed
Joseph heard the weather
was nicer in
26. What book of the Bible tells the story of the wise men?