This object lesson helps children (and adults) understand that Jesus died on the cross for each of us. It is intended to help them make a personal connection to John 3:16.
Slides or a whiteboard/flipchart made up with the three sets of text described below.
Create the following three slides or write these words on a whiteboard or flipchart.
1. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
2. For God so loved (person’s name) that He gave His one and only Son, that if (person’s name) believes in Him, (person’s name) shall not perish but have eternal life.
3. For God so loved me that He gave His one and only Son, that if I believe in Him, I shall not perish but have eternal life.
Use a different color for the underlined words so that they stand out. Organize these three slides/pages so that you can reveal them one at a time.
• Before you reveal any of the slides, ask the class if anyone can recite John 3:16. (Allow several to recite the verse.)
• Show the first slide, and have the class recite it together.
• Say, “That may be the most well-known verse in the world, and it’s so important. It tells us that God loved us enough to send His Son to die a terrible death on a cross, and it tells us that if we believe in Him, we can be with Him in heaven forever.”
• Say, “I would like us to recite this verse again, but this time, I want us to recite it as a blessing to each other.” (Show second slide.)
• Divide group into pairs. If you have an odd number of participants, you can stand in to make the last pair.
• Say, “This time when you say the verse, I want you to substitute the name of your partner for some of the words.”
• Demonstrate to the group using a name from the group or a made-up name.
• Have the group recite the verse as a blessing for each of their partners.
• Then, have the other person in each pair recite the verse as a blessing for his or her partner.
• Say, “That was great! Now I think we are starting to see that Jesus died for each one of us. Even if your partner was the only one in the world, Jesus would have died for him or her.”
• Say, “Now I want to recite the verse again, and this time, you are going to substitute yourself for some of the words.”
• Show the third slide and demonstrate how to recite the verse.
• Have each person recite the verse out loud simultaneously, substituting “I” and “me” in the appropriate places.
• Say, “How does that make you feel?”
• Have the group recite the verse again from the third slide.
• Say, “Do you see? Jesus died for you! He loved you so much that He was willing to take your punishment for sin. Jesus died for everyone, and He died for anyone….anyone who would accept the gift of His death on the cross. I hope you will accept His gift.”