This object lesson teaches about trusting in Jesus as your Savior by using a Prisoner-of-War (POW) metaphor to describe our condition before salvation. The Bible teaches that before we became believers, we were spiritual POWs who were held captive by the devil, the god of this world (see 2 Timothy 2:26). Jesus came to free us. He can unlock the door, but we must walk through it. This lesson encourages children to let Him set them free.
- An area in the room that represents a prison cell. It needs to have a door and a way to “lock” it. The lock doesn’t have to actually work, but it should be something visible so that the children can see it both before and after the prison door is unlocked.
- Two pieces of fruit (apples are recommended).
· Arrange for several adults or older children to get in the jail cell (when you give the cue).
· Tell them which of them you want to walk out of the jail cell (when you give the cue) and which you want to stay.
· Get an adult to play Jesus and an adult to play Satan, and tell them that they will follow your cues.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “When God originally created the earth and Adam and Eve, this is how He intended for us to live.” (Gesture to all the people in the room.) “…Free and happy in the garden He created for them.”
- “He only gave Adam and Eve one rule – ‘Don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.’”
- “It was a good rule, intended to protect us from the knowledge of the terrible things done by Satan and his armies, but Adam and Eve couldn’t resist breaking it.”
- “As soon as they ate from the tree (Give apples or some other type of fruit to a girl and a boy in the room, and have them each take a bite.), they knew what evil was.”
- “They were surprised to find that one of the first evils they came in contact with was their own sin in disobeying God, so they hid from the Lord.”
- “The rest of the story you probably already know. God came walking in the cool of the day and found Adam and Eve hiding from Him.”
- “When asked why they were hiding, each blamed someone else for the sin. God cursed Adam, Eve and the serpent (Satan) and banished them from the garden.”
- “But what I want to show you today is what happened spiritually at that moment.”
- “In the invisible, spiritual realm, Satan was rejoicing. He had scored a monumental victory during the moment he convinced Eve to eat from the tree and entice Adam to do the same.”
- “When Adam and Eve sinned, they became Prisoners Of War (POW’s) in Satan’s battle against God.”
- “They broke the rules, and they had to pay the penalty. Satan knew that God was so holy that He couldn’t have rule-breakers on His side.”
- “So, Satan took his new POW’s (Prisoners of War) and locked up their souls in prison.” (Have the children you gave the fruit to get up and go into the prison cell. Have the person playing Satan dramatically lock the door behind them.)
- “Because they were his prisoners, even children born to them would be born as POW’s.” (Ask for volunteers, and load up the jail cell with the adults you talked to before the lesson and a few children. Again, have Satan dramatically lock the door behind them.)
- “The only hope the POW’s had of getting out of prison was by living a perfect, sinless life. Satan wasn’t worried, though. He knew it was impossible. Some prisoners tried, but they all failed.”
- “But God had a different plan altogether. He knew that someone had to pay the penalty for the rule-breakers, but He also knew that it didn’t have to be the rule-breakers themselves. After all, they could spend all their lives in prison and still never pay the full penalty.”
- “So, God began to show us through stories, images and prophecy in the Old Testament how a perfect, sinless Savior could pay the penalty for us.”
- “Some of the people believed what God was telling them, and they were saved. They had to wait for the Savior to come, but they knew that Satan’s prison could no longer hold them.”
- “When the time was right, God sent the Savior, and His name is Jesus.”
- “He lived 33 years as a man and never sinned. Then, He was killed on a cross.” (As you are talking, have the adult playing Jesus stand, raise his arms as if being crucified and then close his eyes and bow his head as if dying.)
- “When He died, He paid the entire penalty for every sin that had ever been committed from the time of Adam and Eve.”
- “He also paid the penalty for every sin that would ever happen in the future – sins that I’ve done and sins that you’ve done. Sins that we haven’t even thought of but that we will do some day.”
- “God knows everything, and He knows all the sins that we will ever commit.”
- “Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead. Through His death, He had broken the padlock off the prison door forever.” (As you are talking, have the adult playing Jesus forcibly break the padlock off the door and swing the door wide. He should then encourage all the POW’s to come out and “Follow Me.” Some should follow Him; others should stay. Allow all the children that want to leave to come out, but keep some of the adults in prison.)
- “Jesus bought our freedom. He paid the price to rescue us from Satan. Some believed in Him and followed Him out of prison to eternal life, but others chose not to believe.” (Have the adult playing Satan come and close the door. However, this time, he can’t lock it.)
- “Satan has tricked those people into thinking that they still have to stay in prison. Some of the people actually like prison better than freedom, because it’s the only thing they have ever known. Whatever the reason, they don’t follow Jesus. They act as if the padlock is still on the door to the prison.”
- “Jesus paid the penalty for us, but He won’t drag us out of prison. He won’t make us walk through the door. He wants us to choose to love Him and follow Him.”
- “So, He doesn’t take the freed prisoners to heaven right away. He leaves them here on earth and instructs them to keep going back to the prison to convince the prisoners that the door is unlocked.” (Have all the freed prisoners go back to the jail cell and try through various methods to convince the prisoners to come free – some can reach through the jail bars, some can enter the cell and try to lead individuals out, some can demonstrate that the door is unlocked, some can simply kneel and pray outside the jail cell. A few of those still inside should come out, causing the celebration of the freed prisoners and Jesus.)
- “Some still refuse to leave, but we keep praying for them. As long as they are alive, we who have been freed will continue to do everything we can to help them get free.”
- “So the question you should be asking yourself is this: ‘Am I inside or outside the prison?’”
- “If you are outside the prison, look around in your life and find someone God has put you near that is still inside. Pray for them and do everything you can to help them get out.”
- “If you think you might still be inside the prison, it’s because you haven’t asked Jesus to be your Lord and agreed to follow Him.”
- “That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are many people around you that have asked Jesus to be their Lord and agreed to follow Him. Chances are, God has put them in your life so that they could come back to get you out of prison.”
- “They want to help you get out. All you have to do is ask someone who is already a Christian to help you to know Jesus.”
- “If you’re not sure if you are in or out of prison, talk to someone who you know for sure is outside with Jesus. They can help you figure it out.”