This Sunday was the fourth and final lesson in our “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with Jesus?” series (If you haven’t been keeping up with the series you can explore the lessons on the wedding at Cana, Zacchaeus, and Mary and Martha). This lesson focuses on the Last Supper, the final meal that Jesus shared with His disciples before his arrest.
Goal: Today we will learn about our opportunity that Jesus gave us to remember him through the symbolism of the Last Supper.
Key Scripture: “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” – 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Family photo album
- Masking tape
- Rhythm instruments (preferably triangles)
- Tray of miscellaneous items
- 15 copies of “What a Meal!” activity page
- 15 copies of “The Last Supper” coloring page
Introduction: Gather the children around to show them pictures from a family photo album. Show pictures of yourself at a variety of ages, including ages close to the children in your group. Explain that the next meal we’ll be talking about in our “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” series is one that helps us to remember Jesus.
Lesson: Ahead of time, mark a triangle on the carpet with masking tape and have the kids sit on the lines. Explain that our story has three main parts, just as a triangle has three sides. Distribute rhythm instruments to the kids (preferably triangles) and instruct them to tap their instrument each time they hear the words “Jesus said.” Practice briefly before beginning the story.
(Point to one side of the triangle) Our story starts on this side of the triangle with an unusual request. Jesus had just ridden into Jerusalem on a donkey. You remember the story – with everyone waving palm branches and laying their coats down on the street. The city was probably buzzing with the news that Jesus was in town, but on top of that the Passover celebration was coming up soon! Everyone must have been excitedly going about the city getting everything they would need for the celebration.
Jesus and his disciples were going to celebrate the Passover too, but they didn’t have a place to celebrate. Now, this is where the unusual request came in. Then Jesus said to Peter and John, “Go prepare the Passover meal so we can eat it together.” Peter and John were a little confused, so they asked, “Where do you want us to prepare it?” Then, Jesus said, “As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.”
Can you imagine? You would probably think this was kind of weird if you were Peter or John. Follow some guy with a pitcher of water? And the room will already be set up? But, Peter and John had been with Jesus long enough that they knew to just follow His instructions and everything would work out just fine.
Now, this is where the second part of the story comes in (Point to another side of the triangle). Jesus and His disciples arrived at the house to share the Passover meal and everything was set. There was just one thing that Jesus knew He needed to do before they ate. You see, back in Jesus’ time, most people just wore sandals. That might sound great to you and me, but back then the streets were gross. The streets were made of dirt, but to make things worse there were animals on the road that left behind their messes and all sorts of other gross things out there. You can imagine that everyone’s feet were probably pretty disgusting by the time they got inside. So, usually a servant – the probably the lowliest servant – would come and wash the feet of the people at the house.
It was a pretty gross job. So, you can imagine how surprised the disciples were when Jesus stood up, took a basin of water, and started to wash their feet! The disciples were confused. Why would Jesus do such a thing? Even they wouldn’t want to wash other people’s feet! Eww! Finally, it was Peter’s turn to have his feet washed. Peter told Jesus, “No! You will never ever wash my feet.” He couldn’t imagine making Jesus, the Son of God, wash his feet! Then, Jesus said, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
You see, Jesus wanted His disciples to remember that it doesn’t matter how important you are – we are all supposed to serve each other. If the Son of God can do something as icky as wash a friend’s feet, then we can serve each other too.
Now we’ve reached the third part of our story (Point to the third side of the triangle). Before the disciples ate their meal, Jesus had something important to say. The Passover meal had always been a time to remember when God spared the Israelite’s lives back in Egypt when they smeared the blood of a lamb over their door posts. Jesus’ disciples knew that. But, Jesus also knew that soon the Passover meal would mean even more. See, back in Egypt, it was the blood of a lamb that saved the Israelites, but soon, after Jesus died on the cross, it would be His blood that would save them from their sins.
Picking up the bread, Jesus said, “Whenever you eat a meal like this, I want you to remember me. This bread can remind you of my body.” Then, picking up the wine, Jesus said, “Whenever you eat a meal like this, I want you to remember me. This wine can remind you of my blood.” Jesus knew that He was going to die soon and wanted His disciples to remember how much He loved them.
We still remember Jesus in this way every few weeks at church. Do you know how we remember Him? (Through communion)
Put the triangles and other rhythm instruments away. Play the memory game “Can You Remember?” Place several items of varying types and sizes on a tray. Give the kids 30 seconds to memorize the layout of the tray, then, while everyone’s eyes are closed, remove one item. When everyone opens their eyes again, have them try to determine what was taken away. Repeat a few times, removing a different item each time.
Conclusion: Have the following activities prepared in case extra time remains.
What a Meal! Activity Page: Provide pencils and activity pages for the older children. I used the one from Bible Puzzles for Kids Ages 8-10. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Group, © 2006.
The Last Supper Coloring Page: Provide pencils and coloring pages for the younger children. Just do a simple Google search and you’ll be able to find one you like.
Can You Remember? Memory Game: Allow small groups of children to play the memory game.