Jesus’ Triumphal Entry

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This week in Antioch Kids, we are celebrating Jesus as the King of Kings. It was customary for many of God’s people to travel to Jerusalem for Passover, the major Jewish spring festival. Jesus and His disciples traveled to Jerusalem as well. Just before they got there, Jesus sent two disciples ahead into a village to bring Him a donkey. Jesus sat on top of the donkey and rode it into Jerusalem.

When people saw Jesus coming down they street, they recognized him as their promised king. To worship him, they laid their robes on the ground in front of Him. They also waved palm branches high in the air. As Jesus passed by, he could hear them shouting, “Hosanna!” Hosanna means: save us.

All of these people hoped that Jesus would save them, but from what? They believed He would save them from the Romans, the foreign army who had invaded their land. They wanted a new ruler on the throne.

Jesus came to save them in a better way– he left heaven, came to Earth, and died on the cross so He could begin to reconcile his creation. He was inviting all of creation to return to God– this includes you and me!

Jesus is the Son of God who came to overthrow sin and set up an eternal throne. One day, Jesus will return to earth as King over everything.  As you prepare for and celebrate Easter, help your kids understand these truths:

  • God’s promised Messiah was Jesus!
  • Jesus came to reconcile and restore all of creation.
  • Jesus came to Earth because He loves us.
  • People praised Jesus as their King.

God Brought His People Home

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This week, kids at Antioch will learn that God brought His people back home. For 70 years God’s people had been living in Babylon. Some of God’s people were born in Babylon, but they knew that Israel was their home. Everyone was waiting for God to set them free and lead them home.

Finally, the time had come for God’s people to go back home.

Cyrus was the new king. The Lord did something amazing in Cyrus’s heart. God changed his heart and Cyrus declared that everyone from Israel was free to return home. The exile was over! King Cyrus even gave God’s people enough money and supplies to get home and to rebuild their city, their temple, their lives.

When they arrived in Jerusalem, they began working to rebuild the temple. Once the foundations of the temple were completed a great celebration of God’s faithfulness happened. The priests dressed in special robes and the people cheered and cried. God had given them a home.

The temple was the place where God met with His people on earth. God wanted His people to be with Him and the people wanted to be with God. This isn’t the only time God lead His people and then invited them to return to Him. He has done that for you and I, too! When Jesus came, it was God’s way of reminding the world that we are made to be with Him and was His invitation to return to Him. We are made to be with God, and He knows we ought to be with Him. Right now, He is with us in spirit. And when Jesus returns, he will restore a greater home for all of His people, and we will spend eternity with Him.

We encourage you to remind your kids about this Bible story and reinforce these key points:

  • God changed the king’s heart and the king freed the people of Judah.
  • God brought the Israelites back home.
  • Zerubbabel led the people to build the temple.
  • Jesus came to give us a new home with Him forever.

Daniel Was Rescued

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This coming Sunday at Antioch, kids will learn about how God rescued Daniel from hungry lions. The people of Judah had been in captivity for a long time now. A new king, name Darius was on the throne. Daniel was much older now and King Darius trusted Daniel with the important job of being a supervisor over a large part of the kingdom.

Daniel was very good at his job. So good, in fact, that King Darius planned to put him in charge of the entire kingdom. The other supervisors and governors were jealous of Daniel. These jealous leaders wanted Daniel to mess up and get fired. Daniel was good and did the right thing every time.

Since Daniel was not messing up, the other leaders came up with a plan to get Daniel into trouble. They convinced King Darius to make a law saying people could only pray to the king for the next 30 days. If the people prayed to anyone else, they would be fed to the king’s lions. Daniel chose to honor God by only praying to God. Daniel’s jealous co-workers caught Daniel praying to God and turned Daniel in to the king. The king had no choice but to throw Daniel in to the lion’s den, even though the king did not want to.

Daniel was in the lions’ den all night long. When morning came, the king rushed to find out what happened to Daniel and discovered that Daniel was alive and unharmed! God protected Daniel and the king made it ok to pray to Daniel’s God.

Like Daniel, we can choose to trust and honor God. We can know that God alone is able to save us. God showed us His power to save from death when He brought Jesus back to life.

Take time this week to talk with your kids about these points in the story:

  • People were only supposed to pray to King Darius.
  • Daniel would not pray to anyone but God.
  • Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den and God rescued Daniel.
  • God rescues us and give us life.

Ezekiel Told About a Future Hope

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This week at Antioch, kids will learn about Ezekiel. Ezekiel had a tough job: he had a message from God to give to people who had chosen not to worship God–in fact, they were worshipping other things instead! Because of this, there were consequences. The people of Judah had been exiled–meaning they were taken to a foreign land. Unfortunately, the people of Judah blamed God for their circumstances. “It’s not fair!” they argued. (See Ezek. 18:25.)

Ezekiel told the people that exile was their own fault; God longed for His people to love and obey Him.  God does not enjoy punishing people… in fact, He told them to, “repent and live!” (Ezek. 18:32). He wants good things for His creation.

Then God gave Ezekiel a vision. In this vision, God showed Ezekiel a valley of dry bones. The bones represented Israel. Then something amazing happened! God showed Ezekiel that He would put tendons, flesh, and skin on the bones. He would put breath in them so they would come to life.

Ezekiel encouraged the people of Judah. Apart from God, they were dead. But God was offering them life– good life!  God said that His dwelling place will be with them and then said “I will be their God, and they will be My people” (Ezek. 37:27).

We, too, know that life is not as it should be. We choose to do our own thing over and over again instead of trusting and obeying God. This is called sin. Sin ruins things! God does not want this for His creation–He wants us to repent and live!

Hundreds of years after Ezekiel died, God’s presence came to His people through Jesus Christ, Immanuel—meaning, “God with us.” Jesus is the source of life; HE has come to give us the fullness of life and to join Him in His work of making things as they ought to be.

As you review this story with your child, help him or her understand:

  • God showed Ezekiel dry bones–then gave them life.
  • God is the  giver of life.
  • God gives us new life when we trust Jesus!
  • We obey God because He loves us.




Jeremiah and the Kings of Judah

Warnings had come from the prophets for decades. God patiently waited for His people to change and return to Him. The prophet Jeremiah spared few details when he warned Judah what would happen if they did not turn from their evil ways. (See Jer. 25:1-14.)

But the people of Judah did not change their ways. The kingdom had been declining for years, despite King Josiah’s efforts to prompt nationwide repentance. When King Josiah died, the people went back to their old ways, worshiping idols and disobeying the Lord.

The time had come. God used Nebuchadnezzar—the king of Babylon—to deport the people from Judah to Babylon where they would live in exile for 70 years.

Nebuchadnezzar went to the land of Judah when Jehoiakim was king. He put Jehoiakim in chains and took him to Babylon. Jehoiachin became king, and Nebuchadnezzar came back for him too. Many of the people in Judah were taken, along with treasures from the Lord’s temple. Nebuchadnezzar put Zedekiah on the throne in Jerusalem.

Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar showed no mercy to the people of Jerusalem. The Babylonians set fire to the Lord’s temple and the king’s palace. They destroyed the wall around Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar’s armies carried most of the people away to Babylon as prisoners; only poor farmers were allowed to stay and work the land. The people were held captive in Babylon, serving the king for 70 years.

Through this story, the people of Judah learned that they should love and obey God. We can learn the same lesson from this story: we should love and obey God! As you review this story, remind your child of these key points:

  • The kings of Judah were not obeying God.
  • God gave Jeremiah a message for the people: obey God!
  • The people learned they should love and obey God.
  • We obey God because He loves us.

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God Promises a New Covenant

Coming up this week in Antioch Kids we will discover God’s exciting plan for a newer and better covenant. A covenant is an agreement between two or more people. God has been making covenants with His creation since the beginning of time. These covenants  always require obedience. But throughout history, people choose to do what they want instead of what God wants.

As you probably know, it is impossible to always get God’s rules right. The people of Judah were no different. They decided to worship things that were not God. God sent Jeremiah to remind the people of Judah to worship God and then gave a warning. If they did not listen to this warning, God would allow His loved people to go into exile. Exile was like a long timeout for the people of Judah. But good news! God is good and He did not plan on leaving His people in timeout forever.

Jeremiah had more to tell the people of Judah–and it was good news. God would send His son Jesus to keep all of the rules for us. Jesus was going to live a perfect life and be a perfect sacrifice so that God would see us as good, too.

As you review this story with your child, we encourage you to reinforce these truths:

  • The people of Judah could not keep God’s rules.
  • God put the people into a time out called exile.
  • God made a new promise to keep His rules for us.
  • Jesus was the one who kept God’s promise.

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God Chose Jeremiah

This Sunday kids at Antioch will learn about the people of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. They were afraid! They had watched as the Northern Kingdom, Israel, was destroyed. Now they were concerned for their own safety. God called on Jeremiah to give a message to the people.

Each time God calls someone, He helps him or her to do His work. Like Moses, Jeremiah was afraid: “Oh no, Lord, God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth” (Jer. 1:6). God assured Jeremiah: “I will be with you” (Jer. 1:8).

The people in the land of Judah were in deep trouble because they had chosen to worship things that were not God. Jeremiah’s job was to warn them–return to the Lord and stop sinning!

Before Jeremiah told this message to the people of Judah, God gave him two visions. In the first he saw a branch of an almond tree. This was a sign that God was watching and that Jeremiah could trust Him. In the second vision he saw a boiling pot which meant that their was trouble coming from the north. Jeremiah had the big and terrifying job of explaining these visions to the people of Judah.

God planned to use Jeremiah to deliver this message long before Jeremiah was born. In a similar way, God had planned all along to send His Son, Jesus, to show us what God is like and to show all of creation that God is love.

As you review this story with your child, we encourage you to reinforce these truths

  • The people of Judah stopped obeying God.
  • Jeremiah was given a message to tell Judah:  love and obey God.
  • Why should we obey God? We obey God because He loves us.
  • We are made to love and obey God.

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Hosea: Prophet to Israel

This week, we encountered the curious instructions God gave the prophet Hosea. God gave the prophet Hosea a message to tell to the people of Israel. In this message, God explained how much He does not like sin–in fact, discipline was coming. But the message didn’t end there. Hosea also brought a message of God’s love—a love that never gives up.

God used Hosea’s own life to show Israel what a never-gives-up kind of love looks like. (Please note: your child learned an age-appropriate version of this story in his or her class). The short version of the story goes like this…God told Hosea to marry a prostitute. He told Hosea that his wife would not be faithful to him. She would have children with different men. Still, Hosea obeyed God. He chose Gomer as his wife. Just as God said, Gomer was not faithful to Hosea. She went after other lovers. Can you imagine Hosea’s grief each time he found his wife with another man? It might have seemed easier and even fair for Hosea to throw up his hands and say, “Enough! I’m done with you!”

The Israelites were similar to Gomer in that they kept running away from God and loving many other things more than God.  It might have seemed easier and even fair for God to throw up His hands and say, “Enough! I’m done with you!” But God’s love never gives up.

God didn’t give up on His unfaithful people after all they had done. In fact, He did the exact opposite: He drew near. He came to us in the person of Jesus!

Homer did not love Hosea–she did things that made Hosea sad, but Hosea still loved his wife. Similarly, we do not love God like we were made to–we do things that make God sad, too. But God still loves us! One way He has shown us His love is by sending Jesus to be our Savior.

As you review this story with your child, we encourage you to reinforce these truths:

  • God loves people.
  • God sent prophets to help His people know how to live best.
  • Hosea was a prophet.
  • Hosea’s life showed Israel how much God loved them.
  • Jesus’ life shows how much God loves us!
  • What is God like? God is merciful and loving.

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Jesus Was Born

Last week, kids at Antioch learned about a prophet named Isaiah who wrote promises from God about the coming Messiah, Jesus. God promised a Savior and finally after all the years of waiting, Jesus was born! This week, kids were invited to think about the night Jesus was born into the world.

He wasn’t born in a hospital. And he wasn’t born in a warm home. Instead, he was born in a stable, which is a lot like a barn or even a rock cave. When Jesus was born, he wasn’t greeted by a doctor or a nurse. Instead, there were animals sharing his newfound space.

Jesus was born as a baby, just like we were. He had to learn to talk just like we did. He had to learn to walk like we did. He had to do work and chores like we do. He became hungry and thirsty like we do. He laughed and cried, felt pain, and probably even got sick sometimes, too. He lived like us in many ways. But Jesus was unlike us in many ways, too.  Though He was fully human, He also is fully God. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the image of the invisible God.

Imagining God is very hard! When Jesus came to us, it gave people the chance too see and know God. Jesus is the image of the invisible God. He came to Earth so we could know that God is real, that God is good, and that God can be trusted.

Christmas is a wonderful holiday where we celebrate Jesus coming to earth. But the funny thing about Christmas is that we can’t fully celebrate it without Easter! Easter is when we remember the death and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. On the cross, Jesus showed his power—he took all the sin, sadness, and sickness of the world and paid the price for them. It cost him his life—and he did this on purpose. But he didn’t stay dead— he came back to life and invited every person—that means you and me!— to turn from our sin and trust God.

Now we are waiting for the day when another of God’s promises will be fulfilled—the day when Jesus will return and fix the whole earth and gather His people to live with Him forever in His perfect Kingdom.

If there’s one thing the Christmas story teaches us, it’s that God always keeps His promises. Our God is a good God who left heaven and came to Earth so we would know His love. That is a great reason to celebrate. As you remind your child of this story, we encourage you to reinforce these truths:

  • People were expecting the Messiah.
  • An angel told Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus the Messiah!
  • Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem for a census.
  • Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
  • An angel announced that God’s promise had been fulfilled: Jesus was born!
  • Jesus is the image of the invisible God.
  • Jesus told people to turn from their sin and trust God.
  • We can always trust God!

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Hezekiah, Judah’s Faithful King

He’s a chip off the old block. Like father, like son. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. These idioms exist because sons tend to look and behave like their fathers. When it came to Hezekiah and his father, Ahaz, however, the two were far from similar.

When Ahaz was king of Judah, he did not respect God, God’s law, or God’s prophets. He worshiped idols. Ahaz “did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord his God” (2 Kings 16:2). He led the people away from God, provoking God’s wrath and anger.

Hezekiah, on the other hand, “did what was right in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestor David had done.” Hezekiah destroyed the places of idol worship and cleansed the temple. (See 2 Chron. 29.) The Lord was with Hezekiah, and Hezekiah prospered.

Hezekiah was a faithful king who led the people of Judah to worship God like they were supposed to, but even good kings get it wrong sometimes. His wealth and success led to pride. How did Hezekiah react when God said everything in his palace would be carried off to Babylon? He said, “Who cares? I’ll be dead by then.”

Jesus is our faithful King who never sinned. Check out some of these definitions for the word faithful: “strict or thorough in the performance of duty”; “true to one’s word, promises, or vows”; “steady in allegiance or affection”; “loyal”; “constant”; “reliable, trusted, or believed”; “adhering or true to fact, a standard, or an original”; “accurate.”

Jesus completed His work—he came to invite us back into relationship with God. It cost him a lot, but he was faithful in it all. He said on the cross, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). One day Jesus will return to make all things the way they are supposed to be. (Rev. 1:1-6)

Hezekiah prayed that God would save his people from their enemies so that everyone would know He is the true God. God answered that prayer! Jesus prayed a similar prayer—that all of creation would be rescued. By dying on the cross and rising again, Jesus rescued his people from the consequence of sin and death. One day Jesus will return to make all things the way they are supposed to be!

Help your kids see that Jesus is the greater Hezekiah. Hezekiah interceded for his people to ask God to save them from their enemies, but Hezekiah was a sinner and needed to be saved himself. But Jesus was sinless! He interceded for His people to save us from sin and death. As you talk, reinforce these truths:

  • There is one true God.
  • Hezekiah trusted in God.
  • Hezekiah asked God to keep His people safe.
  • God answered Hezekiah’s prayer.
  • How many gods are there? There is one true God.


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