John the Baptist, the great voice calling out, is a picture of humility. He knows that even untying the sandals of Jesus is above his station. This craft makes a sandal from a single sheet of paper. Its a good craft for school children though it can be a little time consuming to cut the intricate shape.
(note: this is an updated post find the original here)
The story of John the Baptist has many elements that be drawn out. There is the survivalist, wearing skins and eating honey, the prophet, a new Elijah, the rabbi, whose disciples join Jesus, the transformer, baptising people in repentance, and the humble, who recognises Jesus before many of the others. This story focuses on the last, though any of the themes could easily be given more emphasis.
This retold version of the Bible passage is supplied for inspiration, feel free to omit or embellish to give it your personal voice.
Main passage: Mark 1 Additional Passages: Matthew 3, John 1
John’s life was amazing. His dad, Zechariah, had been an old priest in the temple and his mum, Elizabeth, was old when he was born too. It’s not surprising that John wasn’t like other kids. When he got old enough, he set off into the wilderness and desert. He made himself clothes from camel skins, he ate locusts and wild honey.
John knew God had a plan for him, and that was to get people ready for what was coming. So, John started telling people that they needed to change their lives, to think differently, to turn around and face towards God, to get rid of all the nasty stuff in their lives, to act right. “Someone special was coming”, said John, “someone who would change everything.”
Lots of people were impressed with John the Baptist and would go and listen to him. John used a symbol to show that people agreed to change. He would walk out into the cool river with them and dip them under the water. This was called a baptism. He did this to show that their old ways of living life were washing away with the water, and they could start living a new kind of life with God.
One day, Jesus came to see John. John saw him coming and knew exactly who he was. He told his disciples, “This is the one I meant when I said, ‘One who is more powerful than I am is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of his sandals. I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’”
Jesus walked up to John and asked to be baptised. John was amazed. Jesus didn’t need to be baptised. Jesus already had the new kind of life with God. John tried to say no. John had a special quality called humility. Humility means that you recognise that you are God’s servant, that God is much greater than you, and you respect great things in other people. John said ‘no’ to Jesus because John thought he wasn’t worthy.
But Jesus had other plans. He led John into the water and whispered, “It’s part of the big plan, John. Please baptise me.” John dipped Jesus into the water and then stood back as Jesus stood up, water dripping from his hair and his clothes. The clouds in the sky seemed to disappear, the light got brighter and something seemed to be falling from the sky onto Jesus. Like a bird, a dove, it floated down and rested on him. Then a voice came, not from John, or Jesus, or the crowd, but from Heaven:
“This is my son,” said the voice, “and I am very happy with him.”
This lesson is all about 3 things, shoes, water and humility. The first two are games idea gifts, if you have a favourite game that in some ways involves either then do use that.
The big shoe dash – this is great if you have a big enough group. Throw a third of the left shoes into a huge pile under a large sheet or parachute. Lift the cover a couple of times and then hold it at waist height and those missing a shoe race to get back to their places with the missing shoe replaced.
*Broken Man – a character recognition tool, basically a simple puzzle game for any age but perfect for small groups and younger children. Find a bold cartoon picture of the character depicted in the lesson (you can use the image that I’ll provide with the lesson) and cut it out along the black lines. You’ll be left with lots of odd shapes of colour which you pin round the room and reassemble as a group. …continue reading
This is a more traditional craft for John the Baptist, it gives the wonderful illusion of water by using baking parchment to give the semi transparent quality of the river. It’s a really simple craft for any age and there are templates with and without the words showing for groups using different translations.
There are two main versions of this craft, and the one you choose should depend on your target age group, time and resources – but as they both work so similarly so they have been posted together.
Version 1a (print-cut-thread)
This is a modification of a Roman sandal craft I saw in a shop, I snuck a quick photo of the concept and then had a long play with prototypes before settling on this! It comes out about the size of my hand and looks really convincing. PDF is here
The basic instructions are:
– print out the pattern,
– cut it out as one piece,
– hole punch the end of each bit that sticks out,
– thread a thin 1/4 cm ribbon through as a lace.
This version comes out a touch small to wear but despite the complex looking pattern is actually simpler than the version 2 and needs less supervision.
If you have older children and you’re not so much of a storyteller this is a perfect John the Baptist worksheet. It tells the same story as the teachers notes but gets the children to look up the scripture passages to fill in the blanks. It’s then followed by three discussion questions and a little maze.
If you wish you can use this worksheet as a group instead of telling the story, or you could use it as a leaders sheet.
The PDF can be downloaded by clicking on the image.