The New Testament tells that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to all of his disciples, except Thomas. The disciples told Thomas they had seen Jesus, but he refused to believe unless he saw Jesus for himself. Jesus did appear to Thomas and let him feel his scars, then Thomas believed. Use this story to teach Sunday School children about what it means to have faith.
Help the children understand the concept of faith by asking a series of questions like “Have you seen a million dollars, a shooting star or a sunrise?” Most children will have never seen these things. Ask them, “How do you know they exist?” Let children respond, and validate their answers. Explain that belief is based on many things. Then explain the story of Thomas and how he needed to see to believe. Tell children that Jesus is also pleased with those who believe without seeing.
Put a small object in a paper bag. Ask one child to look in the paper bag and tell the class what he sees. Ask the class, “Do you believe him?” and let children respond. Secretly put a new item in the bag and ask five children to look inside and tell the class what they see. Ask, “Is it easier to believe five people rather than one when their answers are the same?” Most children will respond yes. Tell them that even though all 10 disciples told Thomas that Jesus arose, he still didn’t believe.
Write “He Is Risen” in very small lettering on a piece of paper. Ask children to read it from across the room. The writing will be too small for them to read. Give one child a pair of binoculars. He should be able to read the sentence easily. Give each child a turn using the binoculars. Tell them that faith and the Holy Spirit are like the binoculars. They help us see things and do things that on our own are impossible. Even thought we can’t see Jesus, we believe in him through faith and the Holy Spirit.
Fill a bag with items that have different shapes and textures. Pass the bag around to each child. Let kids feel one object and guess what it is without looking. Tell them this is similar to our faith in God. Thomas wanted to see and feel Jesus before he believed. We can’t see or touch Jesus, but we can feel him in our hearts. This helps our faith grow.
Give each child a piece of paper and an orange or pink marker or highlighter (other colors will not work). Tell kids to draw a picture of Jesus. Give each child a piece of red cellophane the same size as the paper. Show them how to tape it over their drawing. The colors of the drawing will blend with the red cellophane, making it look like Jesus disappears. Say, "When you cover the drawing with cellophane, it looks like Jesus disappears, but he hasn't. He's still there." Tell children that just because we can’t see Jesus doesn’t mean he isn’t there.
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