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Bring a bowl and towel with you for this message.
I’m so glad to see you today. Today is a special day because you are here to learn God’s Word. It’s a special week, too, for another reason. Who knows what week this is? Yes, it’s the week Christians call “Holy Week.” The word holy means “set apart” or “saved for a very special purpose.” This is the week when Christians take time to think about Jesus suffering and dying for our sins - and rising again for us.
Today we are going to talk about the word service. As we think about that word, I would like you to remember a time you and your family went to a very fancy, grown-up restaurant. Has anyone ever done that?
If you have, then maybe you remember someone coming to your table after you sat down. That person probably said something like this, “Hi! My name is Nathan. I’ll be your server this evening. What may I bring you to drink?”
What did Nathan - or whoever - mean by saying, “I’ll be your server”? What do servers do? (Let volunteers comment. Draw them out so all the children have a full picture.)
This is Holy Week and today’s word is service. I want us to think about how Jesus served us. How did he do that? Jesus didn’t bring glasses of water or plates of lasagna to our table! No, what did he do? (Let volunteers comment. Again, draw them out so all the children have a full picture in mind.)
(Show the bowl and towel.) I brought these things along to remind us of what Jesus did for his friends the night before he died. Who remembers? (Let the children comment.) In that land, people wore sandals and the streets were dusty. When you went to visit in a friend’s house, a servant would take off your sandals and wash your feet. It was kind of icky, smelly work, and only the lowliest servant would do it.
The night before Jesus died, there was no servant in the upper room. So Jesus took a bowl and a towel. In humility and love, Jesus did the servant’s work. The next day, Jesus would do even more important work for his disciples - and for us. He would die on the cross so our sins could be forgiven.
Jesus’ friends watched. They prayed and thought. The Holy Spirit worked faith in their hearts. They believed Jesus was the Savior. After Jesus rose from the dead and went back to heaven, those disciples became witnesses. They told what they knew. And they did what they had seen Jesus doing.
One day, Paul and Silas, believers in Jesus, were witnessing about his love in a town called Philippi. The authorities there didn’t love Jesus. They beat Paul and Silas, hurting them terribly. They put them in a deep, dark, stinky jail. But do you know what Paul and Silas did? They started singing “Jesus songs.” What “Jesus songs” do you like to sing? (Accept a few suggestions.)
At midnight they were STILL singing! Then, an earthquake shook the whole prison. All the doors flew open! Paul and Silas could have escaped, but they didn’t. They stayed where they were and witnessed to the keeper of the jail about Jesus! Here’s part of what they told him. (Read Acts 16:31–32, preferably from a children’s Bible.)
Do you know what the jailer did then? (Read Acts 16:33–34.) Just like Jesus, the jailer used a bowl and towel with some water to serve Jesus’ disciples. The jailer became a believer. Then, right away, he became a server!
Let’s pray: Dear Jesus, in humility and love, you suffered and died for us. Give us true repentance so that we turn from sin. Give us true joy in you and in your sacrifice for us. Help us witness to you in what we say and in how we serve. We love you, Lord Jesus! Amen.
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