April 11 — 2010
Doubting Thomas: What do I do when I have questions about God?
Prepared by: Teresa Klassen
1. OPENER: Would you believe me if I said… (5 minutes)
– Picture of World’s Largest Snake
– Picture of Camal Spider
– Picture of World’s longest fingernails
– Picture of World’s tallest man
- Would you believe me or would you need to see it if I said there is a snake that is over 20 feet long and as wide as you? (show picture of the World’s largest snake)
- Would you believe me or would you need to see it if I said there was a spider that is over a foot long? (show picture of a camel spider)
- Would you believe me or would you need to see it if I said there is a lady with fingernails over two feet long? (show picture of World’s longest fingernails)
- Would you believe me or would you need to see it if I said there is a man who is over 8 feet tall? (show picture of world’s tallest man)
It is hard to believe something when it seems really, really amazing doesn’t it? When somebody tells us about something that is really big or really fast or really incredible we will often say, “I need to see it to believe it!” because we doubt whether it is true or not.
Doubting is when you say, “I don’t know….I don’t know if that is true….I will believe it when I see it.”
Today we are going to talk about a man in the Bible who doubted. He heard that Jesus had died and had come alive again and he said, “I don’t know…I don’t know if that is true….I will believe it when I see Jesus in person.” His name is Thomas, and this is his story:
2. READ THE BIBLE STORY about Thomas (preferably from a children’s Bible with pictures) (5 minutes)
3. LET’S SEE THAT AGAIN… (5 minutes)
Play the DVD about “Doubting Thomas” – I used this one and added the actual voices to the DVD. I can’t publish that because it isn’t original to me; so you will have to come up with your own creative solution. Here is the video if you would like to show it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhj8cnk1_OM&feature=related
(Transition) Teacher says: Thomas had questions didn’t he? How could Jesus be alive? He must have thought, “I saw Jesus die, how could he be alive again?” I am sure Thomas was angry that Jesus was killed. I am sure he was very sad because he missed Jesus. He probably was confused that all of this happened at all. So, he had some real doubts when he heard Jesus was alive. He had to see for himself. He had to have his questions answered before he would believe or trust what people were saying…
4. SKIT: Is it OK to ask Jesus questions? (5 to 8 minutes)
Teacher says: Is it OK that Thomas doubted? Well, he had questions about Jesus and Jesus is always OK with us asking questions. Jesus says that we should be able to believe him without seeing everything for ourselves; but at the same time, he is very patient with us. We should never be afraid to ask Jesus questions. But there is a good way to ask questions and then there is a way that is not as good. So let’s look at that. To help us, I have
Mr. Doubter Pouter And Miss Seek ‘N Find
(Do this live with two people acting, or use puppets, or if the kids can read well enough, have them act it out. I have used “he” and “she” but you can easily use two males or two females however you choose to tell it)
Narrator: Meet Doubter Pouter. He never believes anything unless you can explain EVERYTHING and sometimes even then he still doubts. He thinks he is very smart and he looooooooves to argue. The thing he says the most is:
Doubter: I will believe it when I see it!
Narrator: That’s what he always says! Now meet Seek ‘N Finder. She is very curious and has lots of questions about things, but she knows that she doesn’t know everything and has lots to learn. She loves to learn, so she tries to ask good questions and find good answers to things. Let’s see how this works:
Did you know that God answers our prayers?
Doubter: Really? I don’t know if that is true; I have a lot of questions about how prayer works, if it works at all and I really doubt it does. If I pray, God better answer me RIGHT NOW or it’s just not true: “God, if you answer prayers then you will give me a puppy right now!” (he taps his foot waiting). See. I knew it. God doesn’t answer prayers. I doubted it and I was right.
Narrator: Hmmmmm. It’s true that sometimes we pray about things and nothing seems to happen. I wonder why?
Seek ‘N Find: Yes, I have questions about that too. So I was asking God about that; like if I pray for something, why don’t I always get what I want? Is God listening? I thought, what can I do to get my questions answered?
Do you kids know? (wait for the kids to contribute some ideas)
Maybe I should read my Bible (opens her Bible) and see if there are any answers there for me.
Yes, there are good answers in the Bible.
- The Bible says God always hears me
- The Bible says that sometimes God doesn’t give me what I want because it isn’t best for me
- The Bible tells me that God is listening, but I need to be patient and wait for an answer.
- The Bible shows me that God does answer our prayers but sometimes in a way we weren’t expecting.
- The Bible teaches me that God is bigger than me and sees things better than me and I learned that trusting him is better than not trusting him.
Doubter: (doubtfully) What else did you learn?
Seek ‘N Find: Well, I learned that God says He hears every word we say and that all of our questions and all the things we ask are very important to him.
Narrator: Reading your Bible is a great way to find answers when you have doubts.
Doubter: I doubt it. I mean is that all I have; the Bible? Isn’t there another way to prove that things are true?
Seek ‘N Find: Sometimes when I have questions I go to somebody who is older than me and ask them.
Doubter: You mean like your PARENTS? Well, your parents don’t know everything. I doubt that they know ALL the answers.
Seek ‘N Find: If they don’t know the answer, then they can usually find the answer and get back to me.
Doubter: But I doubt that they can answer every question. I really doubt that. So if you can’t answer a question I have about God and prayer then I am just not going to believe it; so there!
Seek ‘N Find: Jesus said that sometimes we won’t be able to know everything. There are things about God that are mysteries, because He is God and we are not. So I like to ask a lot of questions but there are questions I just have to leave for Jesus to answer someday.
Teacher: So, what I am hearing from Miss Seek ‘N Find is that we will be able to have some of our questions answered completely, and some of our questions answered a little bit…and some of our questions we might not be able to have an answer for right now, and that is where we just need to trust God.
Doubter: Trust, what is that?
5. What is trust? Believing without seeing (5 minutes)
- Enough cookies for the class
Teacher: That is a good question. Do you know what the word trust means? (ask the kids)
In our story about Thomas, Thomas loved Jesus, but he was struggling with believing without seeing. Trust is believing without knowing absolutely everything.
It is like this picture (show a picture of a dad throwing his daughter up in the air). This dad loves his child. The child knows that she is loved by her dad. Her dad is a good dad and she trusts him to take care of her. So when the dad says, “Come here, I want to do something fun with you,” she doesn’t run away fearfully because she trusts her dad. When he throws her up in the air, she is up there, with no one holding onto her, but she trusts that her good dad is going to catch her. He is not going to let her fall. She trusts him to throw her up, and then to catch her.
Is there someone here who can help us understand about trust? I need a volunteer who doesn’t mind wearing a blindfold.
Trusting: Believing without Seeing
“I have something nice for you, do you want me to tell you what it is?”
Let the child answer: yes
“Well, it is something nice, but I am not going to tell you what it is. Would you like to see what it is?”
Let the child answer: yes
“Well, it is something nice, but I am not going to show you what it is. Do you want me to take you to it?”
Let the child answer: yes
“OK. I will take you to it, but you are going to need to wear this blindfold. You know that I have told you that I will give you something nice, but you haven’t seen it have you? Will you trust me to take you to it and give it to you?”
If the child answers yes, then put the blindfold on the child and begin to lead them around the classroom. As you go, say “This is what it is like when we put our trust in Jesus. Sometimes we can see where we are going, and sometimes we can’t. Jesus says that we will be happiest when we just trust him, even when we can’t see. Jesus is a good Father to us. He wants to give us as His children good things. He promises he will never leave us. He promises he will always guide us. We don’t need to doubt him, we need to trust in him.”
Take the child to the “treat” you have for them (some cookies, enough to share with the class)
Here, this is for you; could you give one to each of the other children?
When the cookies are handed out, say: Children, you can trust in Jesus. He is a good friend. He is a good leader. He will guide you in the best way to live. You do not need to doubt him or see everything or understand absolutely everything. You can trust him.
6. CRAFT: (5 minutes)
– String (regular or preferably elasticized)
– Letter Beads
To remind us that questions are not a bad thing, but ultimately we can put our trust in Jesus.
Make a bracelet or necklace using beads that spell out the word T-R-U-S-T.
7. SMALL GROUP TIME: (5 minutes)
– Cover a table with paper and have crayons/felts on the table…
– Have a smaller group/relational time and begin this way,
“Today we talked about how Thomas had big questions about whether Jesus was alive or not. Sometimes we have questions too. I had questions and I still have questions. Sometimes they get answered, and sometimes not – but even when they are not, I trust in Jesus because I know I can trust him. I am wondering if you have things you don’t understand about God…(or another way to put this is “If you could ask God a question, what would you ask him?”)
We are going to write those questions down, and maybe draw a picture that goes with that question and put your name beside those questions. * Help the kids with writing the question if they need help and make sure they put their name beside it so if we need to pass it on to a parent or talk about it further we can do that and not just leave the child hanging.
** Teacher/Helper, just validate these questions and say things like “That’s a great question” and add on an appropriate response, like:
– If you know the answer you can say, “The Bible says…” and answer the question
– If you think a parent would be better to help answer it say, “I bet your mom or dad would love to help you find the answer to that question…”
– If you think that the question would be a good one to “study” for a Sunday School lesson then say, “I think that would be a great question to learn a lesson about in Sunday School” and then discuss it after the service with the person who plans lesson as a potential topic
– If you think it is “unanswerable” then say something like “That is such a good question and I think it is one of those things we just won’t know until we can ask Jesus in person. I may not understand it, but I know I can trust Jesus with that question and it will make sense to us one day.”
Blessing (1 Minute)
Pray for the kids – pray that they would go to God with their questions knowing that He cares about them and wants to help them. Pray that they would trust Jesus, even for the things they don’t fully understand. If you would like to, you can add:
“I pray this blessing over each one of you.
Each of you is precious in God’s sight.
God sees you every minute of every day and he loves you.
I pray that you will come to know and love Jesus with all your heart for all your days.
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace. Amen.”
Since our building is used for many different things, we need to make sure we clean up after ourselves. You can definitely have the kids help you do this near the end of the morning!!
- Please use the BAG provided to put all the left-over items into it, and then you can leave your bag in the classroom.
- Please pick up all the garbage and put it in the trash
- If there are chairs or stools, please fold or stack them and put them away
- Please turn the heat down (applicable for youth room and Gazebo) to 10 degrees
- Please make sure any TVs/DVDs/Projectors are powered off
- Please make sure all toys are put away
Thank you so very much!