JESUS' baptism

Bible Passage: Matthew 3; Mark 1; Luke 3; John 1

Story Point: Jesus obeyed God by being baptized.

Key Passage: “He must become greater; I must become less.”John 3:30 (NIV)

What is God Like: God is holy.

CHRIST CONNECTION: Jesus never sinned, but He obeyed God and was baptized like sinners are baptized. Baptism reminds us of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It reminds us that when we trust in Jesus, we turn from sin and start a new life. Baptism reminds us that we can start a new life with Jesus.








Consider questions that pursue the heart of your child during natural points of connection. Here's one for during a walk or at the dinner table this week:

  • What’s something you are really proud of?



  1. Where did John the Baptist live? (in the wilderness)

  2. What did John do when people said they were sorry for their sins? (He baptized them in the Jordan River.)

  3. What did Jesus ask John to do? (baptize Him)

  4. What happened when John baptized Jesus? (The sky opened, and Jesus saw God’s Spirit coming down on Him like a dove. Then God’s voice came from heaven. “This is My Son,” the voice said. “I love Him, and I am very happy with Him!”)

  5. Who is holy? God


  1. Who was John the Baptist? (the one Isaiah prophesied about, the voice crying out in the wilderness; Matt. 3:3)

  2. How did John respond at first to Jesus’ request for baptism? (John tried to stop Jesus at first, Matt. 3:14)

  3. What happened after Jesus was baptized? (God spoke from heaven, and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove; Matt. 3:16-17)

  4. Does baptism save us? Guide the kids to understand that baptism is important, but it is only a symbol of what Jesus has done for us.

  5. Why is baptism important? Help kids understand that God has commanded believers to be baptized, and Jesus provided an example of baptism for us to follow. We do not obey God to earn our salvation, but we want to obey Him out of love and worship. Baptism is a beautiful picture of our sinful lives dying with Jesus and our new life beginning when we are “raised” from the water. It shows the world we trust Jesus and identify with Him.



paper dove planes

WHAT YOU NEED: a sheet of paper (for folding a paper airplane)

WHAT YOU DO: Make paper airplanes that will stand in for doves. See how long it takes for the paper airplane to float to the ground. Try making additional planes and tweaking things and seeing if it increases the flight time. Here’s one video on how to make a plane if you need help.

WHAT YOU SAY: Great job on those paper doves. They really looked graceful floating to the ground! Today we heard about a time the Holy Spirit came down from heaven like a dove onto Jesus, and God the Father spoke!

special handshakes

WHAT YOU NEED: 2 people

WHAT YOU DO: Invite each child to make a personalized special handshake with someone they aren’t socially distancing with. Suggest kids incorporate high-fives, fist bumps, hand-clapping, and other moves. Practice each handshake a few times. Then show to other members of the family or group.

WHAT YOU SAY: People all over the world shake hands as a greeting. It’s a sign to say, “Hello, nice to meet you.” What other actions do we do that communicate messages without using words? (waving, bowing, hugging, saluting, crossing your arms) What do they mean? In the Bible story we heard, we learned about baptism—a symbol that shows what it means to follow Jesus.



WHAT YOU DO: Work with the kids to develop hand motions that go with the key passage. Say the key passage multiple times using the hand motions to help kids remember the passage. You may use the suggested motions below.

He [Point up towards heaven.] must become greater [Move hands apart.] I [Point to yourself with both thumbs.] must become less [Move hands together.]

WHAT YOU SAY: This key passage is short, but very important. John the Baptist spoke these words about Jesus when many people who were following John began to follow Jesus instead.


"He must become greater; I must become less." John 3:30


untie shoelaces

WHAT YOU NEED: shoes with laces

WHAT YOU DO: Encourage children to untie their own shoelaces or the laces of extra shoes you provide. Retie the laces for preschoolers to untie as long as they show interest. Consider giving older preschoolers a lesson in how to tie shoes.

WHAT YOU SAY: When people offer to tie your shoelaces, they want to help you. They are being kind. Tying your shoelaces keeps you from tripping. When someone unties your shoelaces, you can take off your shoes. Tying and untying shoe laces are small jobs but very helpful. In our Bible story, John said Someone greater than him was coming. John said he was not good enough to even untie this Person’s sandals. Who was the very special Person John spoke of? JESUS!

draw someone big and powerful

WHAT YOU NEED: paper, crayons or markers

WHAT YOU DO: Encourage child to draw someone strong and powerful. Have them share what they drew and why.

WHAT YOU SAY: The Jewish people knew that God had promised to send a Messiah, or Savior. They thought God would send someone strong and powerful. They had been waiting for many years for this Messiah to come. They were probably very excited when they heard John say that his job was to get people ready for the Messiah. John said Someone greater than him was coming. Do you remember what happened as John was teaching and baptizing?

dunk objects in water

WHAT YOU NEED: plastic bin, water, items to dunk (craft sticks, little people, pencils, etc.)

WHAT YOU DO: Set out a plastic bin with an inch of water. Demonstrate how to dunk craft sticks, pencils, or small people figures into water. Keep towels handy to clean up spills. Retell the Bible story as toddlers play.

WHAT YOU SAY: God wanted John to baptize Jesus. JESUS OBEYED GOD’S PLAN. Johnput Jesus under the water and He came up again.




Guide kids to think about and answer one or two journaling prompts. Be sure to join them.

  • What does this story teach me about God or the gospel?

  • What does the story teach me about myself?

  • Are there things God is asking me to do in this story? How are they for God’s glory and my good?

  • Are there any promises in this story to remember? How do they help me trust and love God?

  • What characteristics of God do I see in this story?

  • What does the story teach me about people around me?

  • If I’m honest, what parts of this are hard to understand or believe?

talking to kids about the gospel...

Here’s one way we talk about the gospel with elementary kids

A- We are God’s most treasured creation! Created to be with Him. However, there’s a problem. It’s sin. Sin is anything we do that isn’t what God wants for us. We’ve all done it, even me. And sin gets in the way of us having a relationship with God. We need to admit we have this problem!

B- Believe that Jesus is who He says He is and did what He said He did in order to make a way for our relationship with God to be made whole again...specifically He loves you SO MUCH that...”Christ died for our sins, just as Scripture said he would. He was buried. He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as Scripture said he would be.” (1 Cor. 15: 3-4) He took the punishment we deserved.

C- Choose to put your faith in Jesus. Jesus says that our response, or the way we accept it is by faith. In other words putting our trust in Him.