Happy New Year’s to you and your entire family! With the new year comes this very first Learning Together lesson of 2024. As always, you and your whole family are invited to listen and read and create and pray around one particular story.
This month’s story is entitled “Heaven Breaks Through” and is located in The Jesus Storybook Bible written by Sally Lloyd-Jones. (This book can be ordered online, or a free copy found at our church.)
Children: Please find a comfy spot, curl up with an afghan, and listen to January’s story being read aloud to you. As you listen you may want to close your eyes and imagine the scenes described, or you may want to check out the wonderful illustrations (pictures) found in the book, or you could draw your very own pictures.
John the Baptist was Jesus' cousin. John led a simple life and was a bit of an unusual sort of person. He grew up in a desert, he wore a really scratchy type of clothing made from camel hair that was super uncomfortable, and he was taught as a child to find his own food, like grasshoppers and honey, from the desert.
John the Baptist was named so because he believed his main goal in life was to baptize as many people as possible and prepare them for the coming of Jesus. His only concern was to share his belief in the Kingdom of God with all. Large crowds of people would come to listen to and believe in his message, which was for everyone to feel sorry for their sins and want to begin a new life rescued by God.
Please feel free on this blog to share any of your thoughts or comments or ask any questions of Pastor Steve.
Adults: The Biblical reference for the story of John the Baptist is Matthew 3, Luke 1, and John 1.
Apart from Jesus Christ, John the Baptist is probably the most theologically significant figure in the Gospels. As was the case with Jesus, his birth was meticulously recorded ( Luke 1:5-25 ). His entrance into the world was marked by angelic proclamation and divine intervention ( Luke 1:57-80 ). John's birth not only parallels that of Jesus, but echoes the momentous occasion of the birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah ( Gen 17:15-22 ; 21:1-7 ). John is clearly a pivotal figure in the salvation history of God.
John's lifestyle was as austere as his message. He was an ascetic living in the wilderness, clothed in camel hair and subsisting on locusts and wild honey ( Matt 3:4 ; Mark 1:6 ). Unlike Jesus, he expected people to come to him, rather than he going to them ( Matt 3:5 ), and he did not disappoint the large crowds that came – He was a fiery prophet proclaiming the apocalyptic message of God.
~This week’s prayer: I pray that I will never have to wear camel hair clothing. Amen
There will be two more lessons in the next couple of weeks about the story of John the Baptist, and Sunday School will gather on the fourth Sunday of January, 1/28/24, at 11 a.m. for story reading, discussion, and a fun craft. Hope to see you then!
Until next week,