Turning tables (John 2:13-22)
Jesus in the Temple (John 2:13 -22)
Just before the Jewish festival of Passover, Jesus decided to go to Jerusalem. As Jesus arrived at the temple, he was disturbed to find people selling cattle, sheep and doves!!!! As he walked a bit further, he found money changers sitting at their tables. As he stood there, Jesus felt really sad and angry. Taking some rope and using it as a whip, Jesus forced everybody out of the temple including all the animals. He was so angry that he smashed over the tables of the moneychangers and scattered their coins everywhere! What a mess!
Jesus yelled at all the people he had chased out of the temple, “Don't make my Father's house into a marketplace!”
The Jewish leaders wanted to know why Jesus had done this, and he said “Destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days!” The Jewish leaders thought Jesus was crazy. It had taken forty-six years to build the temple. So how could Jesus rebuild it in only three days!
But Jesus didn't mean the building, he meant his own body. He was talking about what was going to happen to him at Easter. But that is another story.
Wow! Can you picture Jesus getting angry and throwing all those people out of the temple? Scary huh? Why do you think he was so mad? (Pause for answers). Well, I think it was because they weren't treating the temple with respect. Instead of using it for prayer and time with God, they were being selfish and making money for themselves. And I bet all those animals made quite a mess on the floor! Do you think its okay to get angry sometimes? What makes you angry? (Pause for answers) I get angry and that's okay. It's not bad to feel angry. But don't forget that when you've stopped being angry - especially at somebody else- that it's important to sort out whatever the problem was. Sometimes that is not an easy thing to do, and sometimes it can take a long time to feel ready to forgive someone because they hurt you so much. But Jesus taught us to forgive others, and just as he did, we should forgive as well. Can you imagine what it would be like if we never stopped being angry? I don’t think it would be very nice at all.
Can you buy or sell God?
A fun activity makes this creative retelling a fun story with a serious point:
Without knowing the story or being given any context, the children help compile a list of words which will be put into the story, e.g. an animal, man's name, amount of money. The teacher then reads the story, filling in the words, making a (hopefully) amusing version of the story. The story is then explained in its correct context and the learning point(s) discussed.
The full instructions are found on the Ministry-To-Children website here
Game: How would you feel if..?
A game for younger children
You need a list of at least 20 situations that they might come across in real life. For example:
What to do
Get the children to spread out in front of you. Explain that you will call out a sentence beginning with ‘How would you feel if…”
As soon as you do, the children have to show on their face and with their body how they would feel in that situation. For example, if you call out ‘how would you feel if you were cleaning the toilet?’ a child might screw up their face and jump up and down. Encourage them to exaggerate, and also participate yourself (this will encourage the shy ones!!) The game can go as long as you wish.
A game for older children
You need a list of at least 20 situations to choose from that they might come across in real life. For example:
What to do
Get the children to form a standing circle. Choose someone to start. Give them one of the situations from your list (eg mowing the lawn). Get them to do a 3 second mime of the situation. Going around the circle clockwise, get the next person to copy the first person’s mime, but to exaggerate it a bit more. Keep going until everyone in the circle has had a chance to ‘exaggerate’. Repeat with a different situation, and a new starting person.